Netizens Provide Comic Relief in a Political Earthquake

The sacking of former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai has sent shockwaves through Chinese political circles. It has also dominated online conversations and quickly become the top trending topic on Sina Weibo, though posts are now reportedly being selectively censored. While political analysts are hard at work trying to parse out what it all means for the future of the Chinese Communist Party, netizens are taking a lighter approach, and almost as soon as the news broke the jokes started to flow. Below are some examples found on various social networks (translated by CDT):

From Twitter:

@KuiGG: 『2015年,秦城监狱有三个人在聊各自进监狱的原因。第一个人说,我是因为反对薄熙来进的监狱;第二个人说,我是因为吹捧薄熙来进的;第三个人说,我他妈就是薄熙来。』
@KuiGG: “In 2015, three inmates at Qincheng Prison* chat about their reasons for being there. The first says, ‘I’m here because I opposed Bo Xilai.’ The second says, ‘I’m here because I flattered Bo Xilai.’ And the third says, ‘F**k, I am Bo Xilai!'”
[Qincheng is a maximum security prison outside Beijing that holds high-profile prisoners including, during the Cultural Revolution, Bo’s father Bo Yibo.]

@huangboma: 薄熙来去职后将主持大陆第一档时政类脱口秀节目《薄熙来了》
@huangboma: After his resignation, Bo Xilai is to host the mainland’s number one current affairs talk show, “Bo Xi is Coming!*”
[This is a play on Bo’s name, the last character of which means “to come.” One very popular TV show in China is called “Kang Xi Is Coming.” Kang Xi was the Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1662-1722).]

@hnjhj: 看来薄熙来有望成为第73条内测第一人。
@hnjhj: It seems Bo Xilai has hope of becoming the first person to undergo internal testing for Article 73*.
[*Article 73 of the revised Criminal Procedure Law, which the NPC just passed, legalizes secret detentions.]

From Weibo:

Liangtianchongyan: On this special day, March 15*, Comrade Bo Xilai was suddenly destroyed. This just shows that no fake or shoddy product can escape this important day.
[*March 15 is Consumers’ Rights Day when, in China, fake products are publicly destroyed.]

tanglimingleon: To sum up the Bo Xilai situation: the departing [Bo Xilai] sings red songs; the new arrival [Zhang Dejiang] buries rail cars. The departing graduated from the Academy of Social Sciences, the new arrival attended Kim Il-Sung University. In short, a fake leftist is leaving and a real leftist is arriving.

177roger: Beijing Municipal Party Secretary Chen Xitong, Shanghai Municipal Party Secretary Chen Liangyu, Chongqing Municipal Party Secretary Bo Xilai one by one went down. Tianjin Municipal Party Secretary says the pressure is on.

From Google Plus:

淳瑕 转:有时候累了,就上微博看看重庆的书记又换谁了,张德江的前任是薄熙来,薄熙来的前任是汪洋,汪洋的前任是张德江,张德江的前任是薄熙来…..然后一言不发,一个人关机睡觉,突然觉得,这他妈的才是生活。
chunjiazhuan: Sometimes when I am tired, I go on Weibo to see who is the new Chongqing Party Secretary. Zhang Dejiang’s predecessor was Bo Xilai, Bo Xilai’s predecessor was Wang Yang, Wang Yang’s predecessor was Zhang Dejiang, Zhang Dejiang’s predecessor was Bo Xilai. Without a word, I shut off the computer and fall asleep. I suddenly feel, this shit is just life.*
[* Wang Yang was Chongqing Party Secretary before Bo Xilai. Wang Yang then moved to Guangdong to become Party Secretary, where he replaced Zhang Dejiang.]

A photo of a beleaguered and contemplative Bo has also been making the rounds, with the comments: “At the March 14 NPC Closing Ceremony, Bo Xilai is crying without tears.” and “He already knew the news.”

And a song heralding Bo Xilai as an anti-graft hero has been reinterpreted by artist and thorn-in-authorities’-side Ai Weiwei and friends:

(See the original video here, and read the translated lyrics here, via Danwei)

Kenneth Tan, editor of Shanghaiist, wrote upposted Bo Xilai’s imagined resignation letter, modeled on the letter by a Goldman Sachs executive published earlier this week in the New York Times:

It astounds me how little the Party gets a basic truth: If the people don’t trust you they will eventually overthrow you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior cadres about rampant inequality
is, “How much revenue did we squeeze from land seizures?” It bothers me every time I hear
it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior cadres sitting quietly in the corner of the Great Hall of the People hearing about “shagua,” “grey profits” and “moving abroad” doesn’t exactly turn into a model bureaucrat.

And on Twitter, a fake account set up in the name of Bo’s successor, Zhang Dejiang, declared his new status:


Al Jazeera’s The Stream and Tea Leaf Nation have also compiled further online reactions to the news of Bo Xilai’s dismissal.

(This post was edited to reflect that Kenneth Tan posted, but did not write, the parody resignation letter from Bo. The real author is not known.)


Subscribe to CDT


Browsers Unbounded by Lantern

Now, you can combat internet censorship in a new way: by toggling the switch below while browsing China Digital Times, you can provide a secure "bridge" for people who want to freely access information. This open-source project is powered by Lantern, know more about this project.

Google Ads 1

Giving Assistant

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.