A recent question posted to the Q&A site Zhihu may have been intended to elicit praise about China’s state of political affairs, but has instead become the latest telling example of the pessimistic political mood in China. The question was innocuous enough: “As an average citizen, what developments (particularly in civil affairs) have given you a sense of China’s political progress from 2010 to the present day?” Yet responses to it were almost universally sarcastic and critical of China’s governance. After attracting a great deal of attention, the post was censored. A selection of answers, preserved before the post was deleted, have been translated below:
@王海涛在加拿大: First of all, housing and stock prices have fallen. Both were once so expensive, but now they’re quite cheap—and it seems they’re going to keep falling. At this rate, more people will be able to afford them.
[…] News media content has become richer. Doing away with investigative journalists and their heartbreaking exposes and replacing them with a media that only has one voice has made watching the news far more relaxing, and less mentally taxing.
Those intellectuals of days past have again been turned into the “Stinking Old Ninth” [Cultural Revolution-era epithet for intellectuals]. A new generation of court intellectuals dine out on their faux patriotism. The vast majority of dissenting voices have fallen silent. As such, we can better criticize the evil political corruption in Europe and America, and better experience our nation’s political advancement.
@217997: A decade ago I could never have imagined that someone would dare to beat up elderly depositors in full view of three rows of cops. [Reference to the 2022 Henan bank protests.]
@利涉大川: I’ve basically stopped watching the news. That counts as progress, right?
@荒野稻草人: You’re asking the wrong guy. I’m not a citizen. I’m a beast of burden.
@洛奇 : There’s been no real reform, and what little has been undertaken has been aimed at turning back the clock. Forty more years of reform and we’ll be back in the ‘50s! [Chinese]