January 07, 2010

All the Trivial Matters that Happened In 2009

This wildly popular Tianya post astounded everybody because first it was not immediately deleted and later even made to the front page...

Author: 平庸老者 ("mediocre old man")


At the end of last year, I published an essay titled "Remembering 2008" to discuss current events from the perspective of an ordinary citizen. It roused much debate. Within days, the article was removed from most websites.

This year has almost ended. Here we are counting down the last few days of 2009. I won't write "Remembering 2009," because it is too time-consuming and will inevitably be deleted. Instead, I am just going to talk about a few trivial matters that took place in 2009.
January 14, 2009, the National Bureau of Statistics of China revised 2007 GDP figure to 25.731 trillion yuan, and after adjustment made according to the new currency exchange rates favoring the Chinese yuan, the Bureau presumptuously placed China as the world's third largest economy. Once again, the leaders have shown the overwhelming desire to prove their self-worth with the rapid growth of GDP. Their relentless pursuit of GDP calls to mind the need addicts have for heroin1. They revel in every minute of hallucinations and pleasures GDP rankings bring, always expecting Chinese people and the world to likewise be intoxicated and tempted.
However we know very well our average GDP per person ranks at 106th: the [meager] 3315 U.S. dollars lags far behind 11806 USD of reformed Russia, 17040 USD of our relative Taiwan, 19504 USD of Korea, 30755 USD of Hong Kong, 38559 USD of Japan, and 38972 USD of Singapore. Our rulers should feel ashamed, because we ranked 78th in 1960, 82nd in 1970, 105th in 1990, and 106th in 2008. The trend does not go up. It actually is coming down.
Importantly, our GPD growth comes at the sacrifice of energy resources and the environment; such despicable actions rob our children of their food. More importantly, most of the growth is derived from real-estate related businesses. The so-called virgin lands under development are in reality places people's survival depends on. Land developers, in collusion with local governments, invaded what should have been off-limits personal dwellings and farmlands, forcefully buying the lands with very little cost and selling the expensive newly built houses to riches such as coal mine owners. Forty percent of these ill-gotten gains fill the pockets of both the governments and their employees. Most importantly, the revenue that came with GDP growth, how much of it was used to improve citizen lives, and how much of it ended up fattening the powerful? While China marches forward, its people go backward. While China becomes rich, its people are impoverished. The government competes with the Chinese people for profits.

In 2009, quite a number of small and medium businesses filed for bankruptcy. Countless employees were laid off. While the number of breadwinners noticeably decreases, prices soars. Not only does housing cost an arm and a leg, even Napa cabbage in Beijing sells for 1.60 yuan per kg. Hearings to determine water and natural gas prices are like spring cats in heat, creating one trouble after another. They claim to be hearings, but nobody knows who voted for the representatives that represent the people. The representatives have both the traits of the prostitutes and the pimps and are utterly revolting. It appears from the way these go about problems that they are all possessed by the devils.
In 2009, Chinese people used trillions of hard-earned money to bail Americans out of the crisis of U.S.'s own making. This was one grand gesture of internationalism Leifengism to ensure Americans live in contentment.
In 2009, 21 year old Hubei female Yujiao Deng (邓玉娇) was pressured for sexual favor. Her adamant refusal--stabbing the official four times--landed her in a lawsuit that claimed her guilty. Across China, many more women voluntarily bed the powerful. Not only do they feel no shame whatsoever, the ladies scream loud enough to let everyone know they enjoy it.
In 2009, one National Day Parade directly and indirectly gobbled up huge amount of taxpayer money. The government refused to divulge the spending records despite of widespread demand. Our National Day is nothing but a day of celebration for a party that assumed power through violence and then promptly began authoritarianism. It has little to do with national identity. After 60 years of governance, the government has only poor people, corrupted officials, despotism and ineffectiveness to its name--surely nothing to brag about. Repentance and self-introspection would be more fitting. So many economically advanced countries do not hold National Day celebration and parade, whereas a country whose individual GDP ranking does not even cut the first hundred pours staggering amount of taxpayer money to celebrate its rule in flamboyance. This inappropriate behavior borders on mental disorder.

Historically the Chinese civilization has had few true national celebrations. They are in reality proofs that the rulers are not at all concerned about their political achievements; even the government that ended ancient feudalism was no exception. The founding of the republic merely involves killing and acquiring power, thereby realizing One Party dominance. In a democracy, this transfer of power can be easily accomplished by an election.

In 2009, the Ministry of Finance issued the "The notice on enhancing the employees' welfare and financial management of enterprises." All transportation, housing, communication bonuses must be reported as part of the employee's salary, whereas previously they were lumped into the "Employee Benefit" category. This means that, once the benefits are considered as wages, employees will have to pay more personal income tax, increasing the burden on the employer as well as the employee.

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance averts their eyes from the 900 billion yuan of spent public funds, even renaming this expenditure as "Public Funds Meal Money." It is obviously unconcerned about the officials spending 900 billion yuan for personal reasons. I wonder: should this spending count as salaries? should public servants pay income tax on this 900 billion too? While demanding more income tax from ordinary people, the Ministry of Finance continuously excuses those who appropriate public funds for inappropriate reasons. People's welfare vs. officials' gastronomic pleasures...which concerns MOF more?
In 2009, Chinese workers got their spotlight for the second time, not in China but in the U.S. The latest Time publication named the Chinese worker as its person of the Year 2009 runner-up. In contrast, the only Chinese people to receive attention in China for the past 30 years are--besides politicians, elites, rich entrepreneurs, hello kitty, Olympic winners, super girls--Benshan Zhao [he was in the media many times last year because of an heart attack] and shemale Xiaoshenyang. The people who generate the bulk of Chinese wealth such as workers and farmers have never received the respect and the deserved treatment from their government.

This discrimination has led to one phenomenon: people sending their offspring to college regardless of cost and means just so the children can be white-collar workers. In addition to a proliferation of exam-oriented education and a waste of educational resources to create useless graduates, this phenomenon also caused a severe shortage of skilled technology workers and technicians in China. Among the "Made in China"s that China provide to industrially advanced countries at the expense of natural resources and environment, there are countless low tech, low quality products. As these products are picked up by foreigners at cheap cost, they won Chinese manufacturers and managers disparagement and ridicule. Thus, the 8% GDP growth rate is maintained by the humble selves of those Chinese workers, who serve the Americans and even citizens around globe, who are viewed as worthless by the Chinese government, who are hit the hardest by the economic crisis, and who are always hovering around the poverty line.
January 8, 2009, in the campaign against vulgar sites led by the Ministry of Culture (文化部), the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (广电总局), the General Administration of Press and Publication (新闻出版总署) and others, Bulloger.com became firewalled without any fanfare. Since then, I have lost another place where I can chat with Internet friends.
In 2009, on Sina alone, 38 of my posts were removed. The government caged our thoughts and our self-expression, while it lectured and scolded from the outside.
On February 9, 2009, CCTV's male genital was burned down, making its castrated eunuch image even more vivid. I think a fire on its female genital would draw as much sympathy from the public. After all, no one wants to look at a creature covered with boils and sores.
From November 15 to 18, 2009, U.S. President Obama visited China. While here, he accepted an interview request from Southern Weekly (http://www.infzm.com) but avoided mainstream media, a sure sign of distaste for state media's cutting and editing abilities.
In 2009, the Internet has become another channel by which the public receive and transmit information. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in its 2010 Blue Book (2010年中国社会形势分析与预测) pointed out, Internet has become an independent source for news and public opinions. On the other hand, the despicable CCTV, after 60 years of monopoly on news reporting and public opinion, is being ignored and scoffed at. The angry CCTV launched an attack on the World Wide Web. On December 20th, CCAV published "Internet Triad in Control of Public Opinion: Five Million yuan Bribe Can Influence Court Decision (网络黑社会操控舆论:花五万元可左右法院判决)" on Ifeng.com. The shameless castrated eunuch media dares to accuse another of news manipulation, CCTV has really stopped thinking about its words in the haste to lay accusations.
In 2009, China as a responsible nation extended more than 10 billion debt relief to Asian, African and South American countries, while preparing to increase limits of loans to Africa. Bluntly speaking, this is just an [worthless] attempt to persuade all these fence-sitting countries from establishing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and to avoid being criticized by human rights organizations.
Throughout 2009, cases of forceful eviction and demolition constantly pop up, from "unintentionally striking the tenants" to "violent self-immolation in resistance to the law," the evictors and the evictees are still entangled in this deadly game.
In 2009, a realistic TV series called Dwelling Narrowness did not finish airing before being banned. It is difficult to fathom which government nerve it struck, because the series has already made substantial revisions on the original story.
In 2009, the person who lost his job over Sanlu diary scandal Changjiang Li received another job--leading the national task force to rid China of pornography and illegal publications. The cream always rises to the top, and the party will never forget a good man.

In 2009, farmers are still not at liberty to make love to their wives. A slightly awkward reality.

In 2009, the most effortless event was the 11th National Games held in Shandong from October 16 to October 23. Why do I say it is the most effortless? Because prior to the open ceremony, 1/3 gold medals had already been assigned, and most of the winners predetermined. The athletes didn't have to compete. In response to this news, vice president of General Administration of Sports of China said: "We have always been doing sports the Chinese way. Whereas Olympics and Asian Games must be held in a limited time frame, and most matches are held in a fixed city during a fixed time period, in China, our games have unique Chinese characteristics."
Have the indifferent rulers become more or less concerned with general population's welfare in 2009? Is the censorship more relaxed or strict? I will say no more. The answer is quite obvious after a comparison with "Remembering 2008."
One last word, this post with just me will be too lonely. Please, friends, speak up. Talk about the trivial matters you saw. And in this game, we bid goodbye to the old and welcome in the new year.

1. I don't know whether it is intentional, but here the writer used the word "they" intended for animals/objects and not people

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