As the 18th Party Congress fast approaches, Beijing residents have found their city under lock-down. Fruit knives are gone from store shelves. Ping pong balls are objects of suspicion. Security volunteers, distinguished by red armbands, patrol the streets. Here’s what some of the denizens of Weibo have to say about the wind-up to China’s leadership transition:
ZuoyeBen: You’re barred from taking kitchen knives and scissors onto trains, airport security grabs your crotch, you have to fill out a form to take a taxi to Chang’an Avenue, the back windows in taxis are sealed tight, big concerts are postponed, kitchen knives are off the shelves, the filming of large-scale movies is postponed. No letting balloons go, no flying for fun, no trucks within the Fifth Ring Road. You have to give your real name to buy a remote-controlled airplane. No organized school trips in autumn. Foot massage parlors aren’t allowed to shut the door on private rooms… I deserve a Certificate of Good Personhood.
MurongXuecun: Prince Huan of Cai was terrified of sharp objects in his later years and banned metal tools from entering his home. Swords, spears, even needles were barred. One day he fell deathly ill and summoned Bian Que. Taking his bag, Bian Que went to Prince Huan. The guard at the door stopped him and said, “There are metal instruments in your bag. They are not allowed.” Bian Que complied and took out his knife. The guard would still not let him in, saying, “There are needles in your bag. They are not allowed.” Bian Que was angered and turned back. When asked about Prince Huan’s illness, Bian Que would say, “He cannot be saved.” When pressed how he knew this, Bian Que would reply, “Doctors are skilled at using needles to cure their patients. If he cannot even bear to look at a needle, pray tell me how I can save him!”
慕容雪村： 蔡桓公晚年甚怕尖物，禁止铁器入府，刀枪不可，针亦不可。一日病笃，使召扁鹊，扁鹊携医囊以往，阍者阻之，曰：囊中有铁器，不可。扁鹊遂弃其刀。仍阻之， 曰：囊中有针，不可。扁鹊怒而返，或问蔡桓公病，扁鹊曰：没救了。问：何以知之？扁鹊曰：医者所擅，针贬事也。连个针都见不得，叫我如何救得他？
E-magazine: The Best F’ing Congress in the Galaxy: 2,270 Party members representing 80 million Party members, 76 million Communist Youth League members, 130 million Young Pioneers and 1.4 billion Chinese people (including our countrymen in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) are holding a Congress for our leadership transition. Then there are 2.3 million military personnel, 1.6 million public security officers and 1.2 million armed police on standby (not counting chengguan and unconventional armed forces). Only during this grand Congress in the imperial capital does the number of volunteers reach 1.4 million. By rough estimate, the resources consumed during this period could fuel an infinite number of elections in the world’s 200 countries and territories.
E- magazine：【银河系最牛叉的大会】2270个党员代表8000万党员、7600万共青团、1.3亿先队员、14亿中国人（含港澳台同胞）开个换届 大会，竟有230万各式兵种、160万公安干警、120万武警战士一线待命（城管非常规武装忽略不计）。仅帝都大会期间志愿者达140万。据估算大会期间 所耗可供世界200来个国家、地区N次大选。
DisguisedInXian: This Is How We Spent the Last Five Years: 2008: Welcoming the Beijing Olympics; 2009: welcoming the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China; 2010: welcoming the Shanghai World Expo; 2011: welcoming the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party; 2012: welcoming Sparta. During the next five years we can welcome a rise in oil prices; welcome houses being demolished; welcome “crossing the river by groping the stones” to grope at the teat; welcome poisoned food blossoming across the land; and welcome corrupt officials relocating to the U.S.…
假装在西安：过去五年我们这样走过] 2008年：喜迎北京奥运会；2009年：喜庆新中国成立60周年；2010年：喜迎上海世博会；2011年：喜迎建D90周年；2012年：喜迎斯巴 达。下一个五年，我们可以：喜迎油价再次上涨，喜迎房子被强拆，喜迎摸石头过河摸到乳头，喜迎毒食品遍地开花，喜迎贪官定居美国…
OldXuComment: The city of Beijing mobilized 1.4 million volunteers to take part in security work at the 18th Party Congress. There are 2,270 Congress representatives. An average of 616.74 people are protecting each representative. And that’s before you count all the armed police, civilian police, civilian soldiers and people on the streets wearing red patrol bands. Absolutely safe!
CangHongfei: Excuse me @PeacefulBeijing, you’ve removed all the window cranks from Beijing’s taxis. The windows can’t be opened. I’d like to know, have you considered how awkward it would be if a passenger gets into a cab and the driver breaks wind? What should we do? Should we really say, “You’ve farted, right? I can’t open the window here. Could I trouble you to open yours?” See, I’m in this damn situation right now. I’m about to pass out!
臧鸿飞：请问@平安北京 你们把北京出租车所有窗户的摇把卸掉了 开不了窗 请问你们考虑过没有 如果一上车 司机放了一屁 我们作为乘客是多么尴尬吗 我们该怎么办 难道说：大哥 放屁了吧 我这边开不了 麻烦把你那边窗户打开！我现在就他妈赶上了 我都快晕倒了！
Yangguo-PrivateGarden: The 18th Party Congress is about to start, and you have to register with your real name to purchase a “child’s remote controlled plane” in Beijing… What the flip! Is it necessary to be this neurotic when holding a meeting in your own country? Liang Qichao once said, “Nothing in my country is progressing; only the art of controlling the people has suddenly surpassed that of advanced countries. This pains me to tears.”
Laodingshenjianyuan: This is “Who” showing off his power to the “anti-who.” Were you more worked up than this at the seventh plenum? Take a lesson from history. This isn’t happening on the Diaoyu Islands, this is a rehearsal in stability maintenance playing out in the streets of Zhengzhou!! What a shame such mighty troops aren’t on the island.
BloodRainDustStorm: They take the money we’ve paid in taxes and beat us in return… Oh, Chinese! You’re really more pitiful than livestock! Even a grandson who serves his grandfather is told he is a good boy. But what about us? We attend to them left and right, even to the point of serving our grandfather’s family all the way in another country, and not once have we received the slightest praise. We just get our ears boxed, like before. What have we done wrong? Could it be that we owe you from our past lives?
Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Deng Bolun.
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