If Taiwan pop singer Christine Fan is anything like the billion-plus mainland Chinese population, she was spending time off work with her family last Thursday morning. In fact, we know this for a fact because that’s when Fan posted photos of her baby twins to the Weibo microblogging platform.
As any of the 47.7 million subscribers to Christine Fan’s Weibo feed already know, Fan regularly posts pictures of her babies, just the same as many new parents. However, while you may express annoyance at the overabundance of your friends’ baby pictures in your Facebook feed, these baby pictures had crossed the line and were enraging tens of thousands of Chinese netizens because they were posted on the 70th anniversary to the end of World War II, known in China as the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.”
As China Daily summarized it, some people felt it was “inappropriate to show scenes from [your] personal life” on this anniversary, and “questioned why Fan was flaunting family life while turning a deaf ear to the nationwide excitement over the victory parade.”
Furor over Fan’s baby pictures continued until Friday evening when Fan made a post online that apologized for making so many people upset. This post, as well as the original Thursday morning post, would be later deleted.
But even with the offending posts removed, online discussion between the ideals of national pride versus personal life continued. In these politically-sensitive times, Chinese netizens found ways to satirize the way their public discourse must be shaped.
Writer Li Haipeng took to Weibo to post the following:
Long live the motherland! Who can name me a brand of refrigerator that is wide, yet flat?
For such a short and understated post, netizens caught on to Li’s brand of humor, and continued his theme of using Revolutionary-speak to begin his phrases, no matter how mundane. Here’s an exchange Li has with another netizen:
Electric Rice Pot Super Man:
The Communist Party is the best! Haier model BCD-521WDPD is approximately about 65 centimeters wide at the door, and is basically the thinnest model.
May the fate of our country remain prosperous. I require a model that is less than 60 centimeters wide. Is there an imported model like this?
Here are other satirical responses to Li’s post along the same vein:
Support domestic products, boycott Japanese products; let’s all watch the military parade together! (As for) the fridge, I think one made by Panasonic is best…
Long live the theories of Deng Xiaoping! A fridge with dual-opening doors can’t be thin. The thinnest refrigerator on the market is 66 centimeters wide.
The Senkaku Islands belong to China. Is your apartment very low?
The relationship you have with your father or mother is not as good as your relationship with Chairman Mao. As far and wide as the heavens and earth are, they aren’t as wide as the benovolence of the Party. I think that Samsung is pretty good for open door refrigerators.
“However bold the people dare to be is how much the land will yield to them.” (A People’s Daily quote from 1958 best associated with the disastrous Great Leap Forward campaign). Panasonic isn’t too bad. The Senkaku Islands belong to China.
Here are more netizen comments on the original Christine Fan controversy and more:
There is no difference between the Red Guard and those who are mentally retarded, they are both extreme products of society.
When all is said and done, China has a lot of angry youths (known colloquially as ‘fenqing‘). They think that by with their so-called morality, they can look down on other people, the majority of which don’t have any “magnificent” feats of their own. Feeling pride for your country is shouting slogans. What a joke this Fan controversy is. For one thing, no laws were broken. Secondly, no morals were violated. How has Christine Fan ‘sinned’? As a mother, is it wrong to show off pictures of your own children?
This is just horrific, the last remnants of the Cultural Revolution remain everywhere…
Just stick a Chinese national flag on all refrigerators made by capitalist countries!