Popular blogger Li Chengpeng wrote recently about the recent collapse of a bridge in Harbin, after which officials claimed that they were unable to find the construction company responsible. He uses that example, among many others, to discuss the concept of truth in Chinese society. Tea Leaf Nation translated his post:
I’ve also noticed a bunch of people clamoring for the truth. Actually, you don’t need to seek the truth, because we all know the truth. Last year, at a book fair in Hong Kong, I said that the greatest truth in this place is that we know they are lying, and they know that we know they are lying, and we also know that they actually know that we know that they are lying…so we don’t care about the truth anymore, we just care about the way they put on their show of “truth,” and only the complete compilation of all of these performances is enough to count as the whole truth. It was thunder for the train, or Guo Meimei’s bag, the smile of the Yan’an security official when those 36 people died in the traffic accident, or when the weight of a truck caused the collapse of the bridge, it’s the safe and healthy milk that Meng Niu sends out every day, and the several people who died in the Henan bridge collapse that journalists weren’t allowed to report on.
So you see, the “experts” have come out again. They’re so busy explaining disasters that it’s the only thing they do. Stupid technology wonks have also come out of the woodwork, saying that the science of mechanics proves that the only reason the bridge collapsed is that the driver stayed to one side. They should have just said, “Who told the driver to park on the right side, don’t they know that’s an incorrect political stance?” The audience would have laughed and cheered.
The truth I like the most is: Some people don’t have penises, but they always pretend to pee standing up.
This is why we should relax. In truth, I don’t expect leaders in Harbin to come out and apologize personally, or for a few corrupt officials to get nabbed. They nab corrupt officials every day, and bridges collapse every year, nothing new under the sun. With the passage of time, you will realize that the greatest gift this age has given us isn’t the truth, but all the time and hard work you’ve put into imagining how they will put on a show of “truth.” In this amazing process, they are responsible for lying, and the ordinary people transform these lies into allegories.