Slap on the face
From China Digital Space
耳光 (ěr guāng): slap on the face
In 2012, there were two famous "slaps on the face."
When Wang Lijun, the police chief of Chongqing, confronted Bo Xilai that his wife was a murder suspect, Bo reportedly slapped Wang on the face in front of his subordinates. This slap and other actions taken by Bo caused Wang to apparently fear for his safety and flee to the U.S. embassy in an ultimately unsuccessful bid for asylum. Wang's dash to the U.S. embassy drew Beijing's attention to the murder investigation and ultimately led to the ouster of Bo and the conviction of his wife, Gu Kailai.
Netizens joked that this slap was "the slap heard round the world" because, it set forth a series of events that shook up the highest level of China's leadership. One quipped that, "The system couldn't change things, the people couldn't change things -- the only thing that changed things was a slap on the face."
The other "slap on the face" in 2012 refers to an event during the anti-Japanese protests over Japan's claim to the Diaoyu Islands. During the protests, a pro-Mao faction emerged calling slogans such as, "We miss you, Chairman Mao." An elderly man stepped forward and said, "It doesn't make sense to place our hopes for our country's dignity and nationalism on Mao Zedong." Thereupon, well-known Mao-sympathizer, Han Deqiang (an associate professor at Beihang University) walked over and slapped the elderly man twice. Even after the photograph of Han slapping the elderly man circulated on the internet, Han remained unrepentant, stating that the man was talking nonsense and deserved to be hit.