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fǔwòchēng 俯卧撑

A police officer does push-ups to take care of a robbery. (Source: Benxiamanhua)

Coded critique of any unpersuasive police excuse. The common calisthenics exercise took on new meaning in 2008 when police claimed the son of a government official had not raped a girl, alleging instead that he had been “doing push-ups.” Backlash against this suspected cover-up resulted in the Weng’an riot.

The young man was alleged to have raped and killed a 16-year-old girl. In an attempt to quell the outcry, police claimed that the boy and girl had been arguing along the bank of a river. When they had calmed down, the boy began to do some push-ups. After he had done three, he heard her say, “I’m going,” after which she jumped into the river and drowned herself.

Few believed the police account, and a riot ensued involving tens of thousands of people. As the phrase “I was doing push-ups” spread, it has shed much of its political connotation. It no longer has just one definition: sometimes it means “minding one’s own business,” while other times it refers to a nonsensical cause of death.

Other official police accounts of individuals’ deaths have attracted similar scorn. See death from drinking boiled water and death by hide and seek.

Quzhihang (@区志航): There are too many corrupt officials among the vice governors and equivalents. They are merely "big flies," no need to arrange "push-ups" for them... (February 18, 2014)

副省级太多,属大苍蝇而已,不值得“俯卧撑”。。 [Chinese]