In the last act of Hu Jintao and the Three Represenatives, we placed a vicious Communist dictator in a cuddly family friendly situational pantomime, and asked you to suspend belief when we said Jiang Zemin had a soul. Now read on!
(As before, this was written ten years ago, so there are some footnotes for the dated references)
Act the Second: In which our hero takes a trip back in time to a humiliated past
SCENE: A British gentlemen’s club that has been built on the ashes of a destroyed Cantonese yamen. Pictures of Queen Victoria hang on the walls, and the distinct smell of over-boiled vegetables fills the air. A number of crusty old Englishmen sit in huge armchairs smoking cigars made from first editions of the Tao Te Ching. Rosie O’Donnell, dressed as Widow Twankey, enters the stage and introduces the second act.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Hu Jintao is in the past to study Christmas Day – hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Ching chong ching ching chong chong ching ching chong!*
(ROSIE leaves in order to find somebody who “grasps” her sense of humour)
ENGLISHMAN 1: (Putting down his newspaper) Look here Caruthers, you know what I find very very funny?
ENGLISHMAN 2: (Smoking a pipe) What would that be, my dear sir?
ENGLISHMAN 1: A man wearing women’s clothing.
ENGLISHMAN 2: Steady on Grayson; don’t get ahead of yourself, man.
(Hu Jintao and the Representative of Christmas Humiliated Past materialise by the fireplace with the stuffed panda’s head hanging over it. The Representative’s features are disguised by his white hood)
HU: I want answers and I want them now. Just what in the sweet name of a Harmonious Society is exactly going on here? You wouldn’t be Taiwanese, would you?
REPRESENTATIVE: I am the Representative of Christmas Humiliated Past, and this is Christmas Eve 1857.
HU: 1857? Bah Mantou! If this is 1857 than I’m an unelected head of government who graduated from Tsinghua University with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1964. Anyway, who are you exactly and why have you brought me here?
REPRESENTATIVE: I have brought you here to these years when Christmas was first introduced into China to teach you the true meaning of this special time. And as for who I am…
(The Representative throws of his cloak to reveal that she is none other than Zhang Ziyi)
ZHANG: …I am Zhang Ziyi!** And I took this part because my last period role was a pile of poo. But look around you Hu Jintao, what do you see?
HU: A couple of fat old men sat round drinking tea. It looks like the last meeting of the National People’s Congress.
ZHANG: Yes, but look beyond all that. See how these foreigners from afar have waged war on the Motherland and humiliated our people. Do you know why these Englishmen came here?
HU: To learn more about our 5000 years of history and to stand in line at the Bank of China whilst others push in?
ZHANG: Your hairdye has affected your brain, Hu Jintao. These men made war on China because we would only accept silver for their goods, and they were forced to find other ways to do business with us. Even now, your government is committing the same mistake by hording foreign currency and refusing to devalue the yuan. And besides, in 1857 we only had 4850 years of history.
HU: Bah Mantou! I demand that you take me back to Zhongnanhai. The Supergirls Contest*** is on in five minutes and I want to see if another androgynous dyke wins.
ZHANG: You may return to the present, but first I ask you to do me a favour. In the next room is a very precious lamp, which was stolen by the British during this time. I want you to go in and retrieve it for me.
HU: Why can’t you go yourself?
ZHANG: I haven’t brought my body double. Remember! Everything else is yours, but bring me the lamp!
(Hu enters the next room while Zhang Ziyi waits by the door. In the room is a multitude of wonderful Chinese objets d’art)
HU: Wow! I’ve never seen so many beautiful things! Snoopy car chair covers, Hello Kitty toilet roll holders, over-sized Lacoste belts, plastic cats which wave their paws, and fibreglass rods with neon fireworks coming out of the top! Such beauty! Ah, here’s that lamp she was asking for.
ZHANG: (Shouting) Give me the lamp now, and I promise your death will be a painless one!
HU: Well, if that’s the case, no. The problem with you Zhang Ziyi is that it was exactly this kind of unsubtle performance that ruined your career in The Banquet.
ZHANG: Then you are doomed to be trapped within this room forever!
(Zhang casts a spell on the door so that it was made in Gansu. It thus closes, breaks, and can never be opened again)
HU: Oh no! What am I going to do?
How will Hu Jintao escape from the Cavern of Chinese Delights? How are we going to fit the other two Representatives in our next and final act? And how the hell did a mediocre pastiche of A Christmas Carol suddenly become a mediocre pastiche of Aladdin? All will be made clear in our final extravaganza act: “Hu Jintao in the 24th and a half Century”! In colour!
*Rosie caused a stir in 2006 when she did a racist impersonation of a Chinese live on air. She has since gone on to be called fat by President Trump.
**Zhang Ziyi… what the fuck happened to her, eh?
***Pop music reality show at the time. The “androgynous dyke” was Li Yuchun.
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.