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Chieh-Ting Yeh

Weibo Rumor Watch: Did a Village Head Offer to Pay Villagers to Terrorize Someone’s Home?

On September 3, Sina Weibo user @首席 posted a picture under the tagline “A Document Worth Archiving” (值得收藏的文件). The picture shows an official notice, supposedly issued by an unspecified local party group (小組). As of the writing of this article, the picture has already been reposted 10,550 times and commented 1,756 times. The translation is below:

***

Dear Households of Group 1:

At 8 AM tomorrow morning, please send one able-bodied person with tools to meet at Group Head Yang Tihua’s house. We will be heading over to Li Cuixian’s house to destroy her grain and corn crops, and then we will chop down all the trees and vegetables in her yard. Anyone who shows up will receive 40 RMB for his or her time, and those with outstanding performance will be given extra farm land.

Even though it is wrong to destroy someone else’s crops, I am an elected representative of the 18th National Congress. As the Group Head, I am responsible for your safety. I have already talked with the village safety officer, the town judiciary officer Mr. Xu, the police chief, the county police commissioner Mr. Hao, and county judiciary commissioner Mr. Li. They have all promised to stay out of this. I guarantee nothing bad will happen to anyone who shows up. And if you don’t show up, don’t bother coming to me for help with anything in the future.

[Official Seal of Daqiao Village Group 1 Group Head] 

***

Our first reaction was the same as @船-港口-海洋: “Let’s hope this is just a made up story.” {{1}}[[1]]但愿只是编的一个故事,不是真的[[1]] But given the appearance of an official seal at the bottom of the document, most people don’t sound surprised. Many retweeted @徐小平’s comment: “This really does have historical value; it reflects how ludicrous our era is.” {{2}}[[2]]这个真的有史料价值;它反映我们这个时代是多么荒谬。 [[2]]

Some netizens, however, tried to see things in a positive light. @一缕阳光熊 says, “I’ve learned what the word ‘Leader’ really means. So thoughtful and well-seasoned, I’m impressed.” {{3}}[[3]]领教了,什么叫领导,考虑如此周全,手段如此老练,厉害。[[3]] @TIREDWOOD2011 praised the composition, saying “Such wonderful diction, much better than other officials’ so-called writings. The purpose is clear, the structure is complete, there are both carrots and sticks, he really knows how to mobilize his people. Our National Congress needs competent representative like this guy. {{4}}[[4]]文笔好啊,比很多领导的狗屁文章好多了。主题清晰,结构完整,又有萝卜又有大棒,前呼群众后靠领导。这样的人做十八大代表,我认为从才干上还是可以的。[[4]]

So who exactly is this guy? A human flesh search has already begun: according to @一言以蔽一以贯之, “after some searching, this village and person does exist, in Songming County in Yunnan Province, Yang Tihua is a group head there. Next we’ll need to authenticate this document before making any more comments!” {{5}}[[5]] 查了一下,确有此村此人,位于云南昆明嵩明县小街镇,杨体华为十一组组长,剩下来就是确认这份文件的真伪和原因,再做评论![[5]]

Not your typical Home Owners Association notice

 

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Chieh-Ting Yeh

Chieh-Ting Yeh was born in Taiwan but grew up in New York and Boston. He was active in Taiwanese American student circles and was part of the Harvard Asia Law Society. When he is not thinking about the relationship between Taiwan and China, he cooks and watches epic Japanese dramas. He is currently based in Silicon Valley.