The Word of the Week comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.
zhǎo diē 找爹
Twitter catchphrase that emerged after gadfly billionaire Guo Wengui’s July 27 “All’s Well” YouTube video; Activity undertaken by some of Guo Wengui’s online followers after he implored them to seek out the father of Liu Chengjie, who he claims is one of the ultimate beneficiaries of the Cihang Charity Foundation and the son of a “very important” Chinese political figure.
— FREEDOM518 ✊️ ✊️ ✊️ (@jjxxff518518) July 26, 2017
The Everyone Help Liu Chengjie Find Daddy competition has officially begun!
Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman with ties to fallen former Vice Minister of State Security Ma Jian, has for months been releasing allegations of corruption against Chinese politicians, business, and media personalities. His allegations have irked the Chinese leadership, who have been waging an escalating publicity war with Guo, have successfully lobbied for an Interpol red notice against him, and have taken steps to ensure that the Party line is the only easily available narrative on him in China. Currently living in a posh apartment in Manhattan, Guo has been gathering followers (some of them highly respected political figures) to his YouTube and Twitter accounts—his choice venues for levying his claims—and there has been evidence that his accusations are resonating within China’s Great Firewall.
Amid Guo’s many as-of-yet unproven allegations, claims against anti-corruption czar, Politburo Standing Committee member, and unofficial “second most powerful person in China” Wang Qishan have become the most prominent. Foremost among those have been that Wang Qishan’s wife is a U.S. citizen, that Wang and his family have secretly acquired massive amounts of wealth through the secretive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co., Ltd., and that he has other children abroad. A joke about the illegitimate children of Wang that was circulating on Chinese social media has been censored, but has been archived by CDT Chinese editors, and translated below:
Qishan: Are you still able to get by?
Elderly Man: Eh…more or less, I only have one son, so he’s not too much of a burden. But I hear you’ve got three or four kids still Stateside. Those expenditures must really pile up, huh?
Qishan: You must believe in the Party, in our country. [Then our government’s poverty alleviation work can to continue to bring us towards development].
Elderly Man: Do you know Guo Wengui?
Qishan: The government will certainly pull you poor peasants out of poverty.
Elderly Man: Do you know Guo Wengui?
Qishan: And after that, we’ll give you all a great deal of subsidies.
Elderly Man: Do you know Guo Wengui?
Qishan: There’s no man on Earth I’d rather get my hands on. [Chinese]
In April, HNA’s shares plunged, and the holding company filed a defamation lawsuit against Guo in New York in June. HNA’s global activity has been under scrutiny—last week, Bank of America Corp. ordered investment bankers to stop working on transactions with HNA, and it was reported that the European Central Bank was considering an investigation into HNA’s purchase of a stake in Deutsche Bank. Earlier this week the firm released a statement claiming that two charities named Cihang, one based in New York and the other in Hainan, own the majority of its shares in response to concerns about its opaque ownership structure. Also this week, HNA’s planned $416 million investment into U.S. in-flight service company Global Eagle was scrapped after it failed to clear a security panel.
Numerous Western outlets have been investigating HNA’s business dealings and the recent shuffle of ownership to Cihang in apparent but unstated response to Guo’s claims: see reports from Michael Forsythe at The New York Times; Julie Steinberg, Anjavi Trivedi, and Cezary Podkul at the Wall Street Journal; or Erik Larson at Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, this week Chinese state media unleashed a new wave of hit pieces on Guo Wengui, claiming he had “fabricated” his corruption claims to “mislead the public,” and attempting to discredit claims that Guo made that Yao Qing, the nephew-in-law of Wang Qishan, had used his connections to build a massive business empire.
Guo responded in his regular “All’s Well” YouTube broadcast on July 26. In the video, an angry Guo disputes the charitable nature of of the Cihang funds, and claims that a man named Guan Jun, who once owned a 29 percent stake in HNA but donated it to Cihang according to the company, is actually Wang Qishan’s son. Guo also claimed that a man named Liu Chengjie is one of the ultimate domestic beneficiaries of HNA, and that he is the son of someone “even more important” than Wang—a man who, remember, has been billed as the second most powerful person in China after Xi Jinping. CDT has translated relevant excerpts from Guo’s 7/26 video [full Chinese transcript available on CDT Chinese], in which Guo is rhetorically addressing Wang Qishan. CDT cannot verify the information Guo presents here. We are posting this translation so that English-language readers can read Guo’s account in his own words:
[…R]ight after [the] July 17 (video), the so-called Guan Jun mysteriously transferred twenty-something percent of the equity to America, to some Cihang Foundation in America. Who is Guan Jun? Mr Wang Qishan, can you say, or not? I know your next move will be to look into both Guan Jun’s and Liu Chengjie’s parentage. Then you can show them off, Mr. Wang Qishan. But whoever you snatch up, if you let them speak freely in an interview in Hong Kong or America, and if even one % of what they say is the same as what they say now, I will take full responsibility!
[…] Can you answer who Guan Jun’s father and mother are? Who Liu Chengjie’s father is? Who his mother is? How Hainan Airlines’ assets increased 200,000-fold from 10 million to 2 trillion yuan? Who arranged the loans? How, Shengtang (Yangpu) Company was erased from the middle of all this? How, after getting these loans, were they then transferred to the account of your family’s Yao Qing? Not the other Yao Qing’s. Can you answer these questions for the people, or not?
[…T]hey all started their sinking-ship plan ahead of schedule, started their money-laundering plans, told all of the commoners: we’re taking our money and giving it to a charitable fund. Cihang fund! What does this mean? Chen Feng held a press conference for the whole country, concealing the truth by saying that this Guan Jun’s private equity was to be donated to a fund, no longer owned by us! Of the billion people in China not one dares stand up to speak the truth: this is still his! Truer than ever! […]
[…] This is hard to deal with, I’ll tell you who the domestic Cihang beneficiary is: Liu Chengjie!!!
[…] You make Chinese people seem like fools to the rest of the world!
All that happened on 7/17. Mr. Wang Qishan, I’ve discovered that Guan Jun’s father is you! But, I must apologize to you [Wang Qishan], Liu Chengjie’s father isn’t you! But, Liu Chengjie’s father is someone more important than you! That discovery really shocked me! That he is actually Liu Chengjie’s father! !!
I’ll get this information later, I used the power of nine oxen, a variety of legal means, all sorts of intel, and the cooperation of the Beijing 301 Military Hospital to get all of your DNA, then I started my examination. I suddenly discovered, this is bigger than all the cheating! It turns out you’ve long been robbing this nation with your bloc of thieves!
[…] Who is Liu Chengjie’s father? It’s really astonishing!! Twitter friends, I’m sorry but today I don’t dare to say, If I did I’m afraid it would throw China into turmoil! It scares me half to death. Knowing who Liu Chengjie’s father is really scares me silly! After I expose this, It will be clear why the power of a country has been turned on a Guo Wengui! […] [Chinese]
Heeding Guo’s promise, some of his Twitter followers began to use the term “find daddy” (zhǎo diē 找爹), calling on their fellow Guo fans to help in the search:
— 翻墙有瘾 (@65jhgm4N52beeQC) July 26, 2017
Everyone help Liu Chengjie find his dad, the poor child can’t find him.
— 笑口常开 (@xiaoljq) July 26, 2017
How many people are concerned about the illegitimate son of Sun Zhengcai? Right now is the time to help Liu Chengjie find his father.
— 丁德枫 (@Dingdefeng) July 27, 2017
The “Find Daddy” soap opera is about to become Wengui’s Spring Festival Gala, another real-time interactive drama to attract 1.4 billion Chinese eyes! So many Twitter friends can pay attention and can take part in helping to find out: who is Liu Chengjie’s father? Why won’t he dare admit who he is? How can he have upwards of a hundred billion USD in assets? Where did those assets come from? Where are they now? What is the relation between his riches and Chairman Xi’s Chinese Dream? When do you awaken from a dream?
This child named “Liu Chengjie,” his father lost a dozen years. This child’s life is really tough, with no father and no mother, “toiling” for dozens of years, scrimping and saving billions in assets, never imagining that he’d be called into pursuit by an anti-corruption businessman named Guo Wengui. How tragic, but I bet he won’t be able to keep that money. Everybody let’s help this child, he wants to find his daddy and have revenge, let’s all help him!
— 多铎 (@ChanceDuoDuo) July 26, 2017
Everybody, find daddy [cartoon image text: Where did Baba go?]
Some shared a reinterpretation of the national flag which alludes to a well-known Chinese children’s story about tadpoles searching for their mother:
Others meme-ified quotes from Guo’s July 26 video:
— from future 推特党? (@AAA888YYY) July 26, 2017
Wang Qishan is Guan Jun’s Biological Father
Wang Qishan’s DNA is publically available at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. I received relevant materials from Peking Union and the Beijing 301 Military Hospital before publically announcing from the US Guan Jun and Liu Chengjie’s DNA test results. I bore a great deal of legal responsibility in the process.
Guan Jun’s biological father is Wang Qishan. Liu Chengjie’s biological father is another man, one that left me even more astounded. I dare not reveal Liu’s results today, lest China descend into turmoil. It really scared me to death. I was shocked silly to see who Liu’s father really was. He’s even more important than Wang Qishan. Seeing that him and Wang work together to plunder and control this country, it’s not at all surprising that my exposés were followed by China uniting all its efforts against me. This is all fraud and deception of great proprotions – the more one tries to cover up these misdeeds, the more conspicuous it becomes. Whatever happens within the Chinese nation and the Communist Party will cease to surprise me. After all, under your direction and within your designs, there have been measured steps to plunder, to control, and to control some more. Now China’s politics, economics and even the Internet have fallen under your control. You are all a bloc of plunderers. I really don’t know how else to put it. Mr. Wang Qishan, I’m giving you time—if you don’t bring information to light, then I will. I’ll keep on exposing the DNA results of 670 illegitimate sons and daughters. Before my global press conference, I’ll first expose half of them. For all you comrades waiting to ascend to the ranks of the Politburo Standing Committee, thinking that I can’t prove my claims with evidence, you just wait and see. [Chinese]
Also shared was a screenshot of a satirical WeChat conversation from the faux WeChat group for the Politburo Standing Committee, translated below:
WeChat Group: Politburo Standing Committee (11)
Zhang Dejiang: Liu Chengjie’s ID number is 110105. He was 18 years old in ’90. China started to strictly control ID numbers around ’95-’99, so that you have one number your whole life. Liu Chengjie definitely changed his household registration to Beijing in the 80s. I was in Jilin then. I had no reason to make him go to Beijing.
Yu Zhengsheng: I was in Shandong
Liu Yunshan: I was in Inner Mongolia
Zhang Gaoli: I was in Guangdong
Wang Qishan: Wengui did a DNA test. He’s not mine
Xi Jinping: Keqiang, you were in Beijing then, be my scapegoat
Li Keqiang: General Secretary, I was only 15 in April ’71. I was still in high school in Hefei
Zhu Rongji: I was already 43 in ’71. My daughter was 17 and my son was 13. I already had a son and a daughter so our family was complete. I was being reeducated through labor at the May Seventh Cadre School. I wasn’t in the mood to screw
Hu Jintao: In April ’71 Yongqing had just had Haifeng 3 months earlier. I had a secret concubine?
Wen Jiabao: And I’d just had my oldest son Yunsong in ’71. Looking up at the starry sky, it really wasn’t me
Xi Jinping: Eff, you’re playing me, and I’m not joking! Table flip!
Translations by Anne Henochowicz, Josh Rudolph, Samuel Wade, and Lisbeth.