As a special Christmas treat to both of our readers, I am is proud to present a very special pantomime with those all-important 中国特色.
I originally wrote this for my now-dead blog in 2006, so it is horrendously outdated now. Hu Jintao is no longer Chairman, and some of the cultural references make no sense at all now. For readers under the age of thirty I shall add some footnotes for those references which might be confusing now.
Featuring a full chorus of Communists, Supernatural Beings, Buddhists, Friendlies, Ethnic Minorities, Supergirls, laobaixing, Confucians, the foreigners, and more things than you can shake the Official Meursault Shaking Stick (TM) at. So get the kids around the laptop, hand the dog over to the city authorities, and enjoy this seasonal story of how one very special President discovered the true meaning of Christmas.
Hu Jintao and the Three Representatives*
(Or A Christmas 民歌)
Act the First: In which Hu Jintao receives a surprise visitor.
SCENE: It is Christmas Eve in Zhongnanhai, although you would be hard pressed to know it. Hu Jintao sits behind his huge desk made out of skulls, with only the light from the carcasses of rabid dogs burning on the fireplace to guide him.** Scrolls of paper hang over tall in-trays and out-trays which are labelled “Arrested Officials” and “About To Be Arrested Officials” respectively. Andy Lau enters the stage dressed as a giant turkey and breaks into song:
ANDY LAU: ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Zhongnanhai,
Homosexuals were being persecuted, even those that were bi.
The Death Lists were hung by the chimney with care,
With copies made out to Bush, Putin, and Blair.
HU: Bah Mantou! We’ll have no jollity here! This is Zhongnanhai, not some Shanghainese brothel full of Japanese sex tourists!***
(Pulls out a gun and shoots Andy Lau. A nation cheers.)
HU: Anybody would think that Christmas was a festival designated by the state for approval. We are a proud nation with 5000 years of history: we have no need for some foreign holiday celebrating the birth of some waidiren who was nailed against a giant number ten.
(Wen Jiabao scurries into the room and kowtows before Hu’s desk)
WEN: Oh Great Munificent Sovereign Who Upholds the Heavens…
HU: For Marx’s sake, get up off the floor. That carpet was made in Hebei and won’t be able to endure your knees rubbing against it.
WEN: Sorry, your benevolence. It was just that, with it being Christmas and all, the lads and me were wondering if we might possibly have the day off tomorrow so we could go out and give alms to the poor…
HU: Do my fucking ears deceive me? (Pulls out a baby panda from his drawer and dashes its brains out on the corner of his desk) You see that? You made me do that. And every minute you don’t work, another of these baby pandas has to die. Christmas Day indeed! Anybody would think you didn’t have enough holidays as it is.
WEN: But sir, the only time we’ve had off this year was a couple of hours during National Day. And even then you made us go to the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall along with the rest of the population.
HU: (Pulls out another baby panda and stamps on its head) Now look: there’s only three Friendlies**** left, so get out of my sight and help to increase our nation’s GDP.
WEN: Yes your Dyed-Black-Hairyness.
HU: Bah Mantou! If it’s not pregnant workers wanting the afternoon off to have babies, it’s disloyal cadres trying to undermine my legacy.
(Suddenly, the lights dim and a strange fog begins to emit all around. An eerie voice booms out from above)
VOICE: Woooohh! Hu Jintao! Hu Jintao! Heed my words and repent your evil ways! Woooooh!
HU: What? What’s this? Is somebody playing those Karen Mok songs again? Who is this?
VOICE: It is I, the ghost of Jiang Zemin! (Jiang Zemin materialises in the middle of the room. He is dressed in revealing red negligee and chained down to a thousand books.)
HU: Impossible! You died during an overdose of karaoke at Buckingham Palace!***** And why are you wearing red negligee?
JIANG: It’s the weekend. Now Hu Jintao, listen to me. You have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, so tonight the Three Representatives of Christmas Humiliated Past, Developing Present, and Harmonious Future will visit you and teach you what this day really means.
HU: Bah Mantou! I know already that the true meaning of Christmas is just another method by the imperialist West to contaminate us with their spiritual pollution.
JIANG: Heed my words Hu Jintao. Heed my words, or like me, you too will be burdened for all eternity with a thousand copies of your own memoirs. Remember the Three Representatives! FAREWELL! Farewell! farewell…!
HU: Why are you repeating yourself and pretending to fade away? I can still see you.
JIANG: Yeah, sorry. We spent the special effects money on another empty skyscraper in Pudong, so this is the best we can do. Anyway, see ya! (Jiang disappears)
HU: What nonsense! Three representatives! As if anybody could believe such rubbish! (Note to reader: this is the subtle satire that we promised) I shall spend this Christmas Eve like I’ve spent every other Christmas Eve: meeting the Prime Minister of some obscure Pacific Island and getting them to agree to the One China Policy.
(A pillar of smoke appears and a voice booms out)
VOICE: Take heed President! For I am the Representative of Humiliated Past!
HU: Crikey! What are the chances of that happening, eh?
Is Andy Lau really dead? Does Hu Jintao really dye his hair? Will the spirit of Santa prevail in Zhongnanhai, or will the only “ho ho ho” be a trio of AIDS infested prostitutes from Henan? Tune in next week viewers for the second act of our Pantomime: “Widow Twankey meets the All-China Woman’s Federation”!
*Straight off the bat: does anybody talk about the Three Representatives anymore? This was Jiang Zemin’s pet political slogan, but seems to have been buried now Xi Jinping is in charge.
**2006 saw a bit of a campaign to kill any stray dogs off the streets of China. Ho hum.
***Another 2000’s scandal featuring China’s favourite race of people.
****Ah, The Friendlies – otherwise known as the Fuwa. They were the now-forgotten Panda mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
*****Amazingly, Jiang Zemin still isn’t dead! When he was still a bit more active he loved a bit of karaoke at state events.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.