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Relevant department

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有关部门 (yǒuguān bùmén): relevant department

Relevant Department agent. (Source: Weibo/左志坚)

Ambiguous reference to the powers that be; government jargon and source of frustration for many Chinese people. Sometimes the “relevant department” is clear from context, but more often it remains obscure. A government spokesperson may assure people that “the relevant department” is taking care of a particular crisis without elaborating which particular department that may be. Or a request for information may be turned down and the person seeking the information directed to ask the “relevant department” without identifying which department that is.

Chinese Uncyclopedia elaborates:

The Relevant Department is the most powerful Chinese governmental body since the beginning of time. The Relevant Department takes care of everything other departments are unwilling to tackle, and is quoted by the media more than any other department. It is also the most inscrutable governmental body in the world. The Relevant Department does not appear under normal circumstances, and you will not be able to find it. Over the years, the Relevant Department has solved many problems and eased many worries for the government and the press.

有关部门,是中国有史以来权利最大的执政部门,跟相关部门全力并列,其他部门不愿做的事情,他们都做,媒体最热衷报料的部门。 其中,他们又是世界上最神秘的部门,一般情况他们绝对的不会出现,你也不会找的到。多年来,有关部门为政府,为媒体,排忧解难,解决了不少烦恼。[Source]

On Sina Weibo, a fellow netizen jokingly asked a relevant department to investigate Hu Xijin, a journalist and editor of the state-owned Global Times:

Weikemanhua (@魏克漫画): Could the relevant department please look into this person named Hu Xijin? He spends all day trying to fool people to be patriotic, yet he is engaged in activities that hurt the country. (August 1, 2014)

有关部门查一下这个@胡锡进 ,成天忽悠别人爱国,自己却在干这种损害国家的勾当 [Chinese]