Saying of the Week: This Batch of People Is No Good
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The people are to blame for corruption and other social ills; sarcastic reaction to People’s Daily opinion piece from spring 2016.
On March 24, 2016, National Railway Administration inspection chief Xi Hua published an essay about the central government’s anti-corruption campaign in the People’s Daily titled “We Are All ‘One Part’ of the Current Mood” (我们都是风气“一分子”), emphasizing the role of the individual in the fight against bribery and corruption. “Everyone must consider their personal responsibility. Everyone must undertake a revolution of the self” (人人要思考自己的责任，人人要进行自我革命), Xi wrote. He had previously said that morality can only go so far, and that systemic, administrative solutions are needed for society to function ethically.
Netizens took Xi Hua’s self-contradictory advice in the People’s Daily as a total shifting of blame from the government to the individual. They snidely remarked on Weibo that “this batch of people is no good.” Xi Hua never once wrote these words, but the phrase proliferated in the comment thread of the People’s Daily Weibo post sharing his essay:
Zhuroufanzizaiduorou (@猪肉贩子在剁肉): This batch of people is no good. They don’t listen. They’ve pulled a lot of cadres under and dragged this administration down. They’ve lost face for the country!
Zuomoxiansheng (@琢磨先生): This batch of people is unfit for this batch of leaders, is that what you mean?
LuoChangping (@罗昌平): There’s a saying that stands out among the comments: “This batch of people is no good!”
At one point, nearly 3,000 comments were left on the People’s Daily Weibo post. Many of them were later deleted, leaving 53 benign remarks.
The quip has been spotted beyond the Weibo thread where it began, used to lament broader political, even economic, shortcomings:
Laodongchuangzaoyiqie2012 (@劳动创造一切2012): A popular online joke: Such wise leaders + such a bad economy = this batch of people are no good. (March 29, 2016)
Xi Hua has stirred controversy before. In 2015, he published “The Question of ‘Naked Official’ Prince Qing’s Style” (大清“裸官”庆亲王的作风问题) on the website of the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission. Netizens took Xi’s criticism of the 19th-century royal as an allegorical indictment of former vice president Zeng Qinghong.
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