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Whether you believe it or not, I do

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至于你们信不信,我反正是信了 (zhìyú nǐ xìn bú xìn, wǒ fǎnzhèng shì xìn le): whether you believe it or not, I do

“Whether you believe it or not...”
“...I do anyway.”
“I don’t know if you’ve eaten any shit today...”
“...but I’ve had two heaping bowlfuls myself.”
Wang as an uncuddly version of China’s national animal.

During a press conference held by the Railway Ministry on July 24, 2011, a reporter asked why the government had attempted to bury portions of the high-speed train that crashed in Wenzhou the day before. Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping gave the following response (as translated by ChinaGeeks):

Why was the train car buried? Actually, when I got off the plane today, the comrade who picked me up from the airport said that he already saw this kind of news online. I was on the plane so I didn’t have a good handle on things. I wanted to ask him, “Why would there be such a foolish question? Can an event that the whole world knows about really be buried?” He told me, “It’s not being buried. Truthfully, this news cannot be buried.” We have already tried though countless ways to broadcast this information to society.

But about burying [the train car], [the people who picked me up from the airport] gave this explanation. Because the scene of the rescue was very complicated. Below was a quagmire. It was very hard to perform rescue operations. So they buried the head of the car underneath, covered it with dirt, mainly to facilitate rescue efforts. Right now, this is his explanation. Whether or not you believe it; either way, I believe it.

车体为什么被掩埋,其实我今天下飞机的时候接待的同志说在网上已经看到有这样的信息。在此之前,我在飞机上还没有拿握到我要问他,为什么会问出这样愚蠢的问题呢?这样一个举世都知道的事故,难道能掩埋的了吗?他告诉我,不是在掩埋,其实上这个事故是无法掩埋的,我们已经不断通过各种途径向社会传递这方面的(信息)。

但是掩埋,他们后来做这样的解释,因为当时在现场抢险的情况,环境非常复杂,下面是一个泥潭,施展开来很不方便,所以他把车头埋在下面,盖上土,主要是便于抢险。目前他的解释理由是这样。至于你信不信,我反正信了。

Watch Wang make the statement that cost him his job here.

What is remarkable is Wang’s eagerness to engage in self-deception and accept such an absurd explanation. Whether the rest of us allow ourselves to be similarly fooled, Wang suggests, is our own problem.

“Whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you, but I do anyway” has also spawned the saying “I negative positive believe” (我反正信了), based on the character-for-character meaning of “anyway” (反正). Both memes suggest that Chinese citizens have no choice but to believe what the authorities claim—even if it makes no sense.

Some online parodies of Wang’s remarks:

This crash was a drill! No one died! Whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you, but I do anyway.

这次事故其实是一次演习!~并没有人员伤亡!~ 至于你信不信,由你,我反正是信了

The Railways Ministry claims that several hundred people were picked up by a UFO. Whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you, but I do anyway. (There were doubts about the official number of those injured and killed, as it contradicted earlier news reports.)

铁道部称还有几百号人被UFO接走。至于你信不信,由你,反正我是信了

Housing prices must be raised until they reach reasonable levels. Whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you, but I do anyway.

一定要把房价抬升到合理的价位,至于你们信不信,由你,我反正是信了!