China’s 18th National Party Congress is set to end today after the newly “elected” members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau meet the public. The week-long Party Congress is not only about power transit in China, but also about a platform where domestic as well as foreign journalists can directly interact with China’s top heads. People joked that there were more journalists than delegates at the Great Hall of People where the Congress is held. After a whole week of endless press conferences, we present you the toughest questions and the stupidest answers spotted by netizens during the 18th National Party Congress.
Though almost all living journalists in Beijing (and beyond), both Chinese ones and foreign ones, are having their eyes on the Congress, the two toughest questions, also the two that attracted the most online buzz, are both from elementary school journalists.
On November 9th, in the face of a group of Ministers from China’s most important government departments, Sun Luyuan, a six-grader journalist who represented the China Youth News, asked: “Grandpa Hu’s report said you will improve Chinese people’s health level, but just recently there were scandals of toxic school lunches. Some students were found poisoned after drinking nutritious milks provided by their schools. Others had symptoms like vomit, diarrhea and fever after eating buns from school cafeteria. Most of middle-school and primary-school students like me now eat lunches at school. How can we feel safe eating school food?” And her concern was not limited to the school: “In addition, I love snacks, but I don’t dare to eat snacks any more. Because we see in the news that a lot of food is toxic. Some food items are in excess of bacteria. Others synthetic colors. Why these food items are allowed to put on market? How can we eat without safety concerns?
Food safety and housing prices are probably the two social problems that an average Chinese people cares about the most right now. Sun covered food safety and her fellow six-grader journalist Zhang Jiahe covered the other.
On November 12, in a press conference on the livelihood of the Chinese people, 11-year-old Zhang Jiahe raised a question to the Minister of China’s Ministry of Housing the Urban-Rural Development: “Now houses are too expensive. Many parents of my schoolmates spent all their savings on houses and even borrowed a lot money from banks. They have nothing left to buy toys for their kids. My question to uncle Minister is how to lower housing prices?”
Worth noting is that there were only a total of 3 student journalists during the 18th National Party Congress. They were supposed to represent the middle and primary school students in China. Apparently, they were very successful at making an impression. How said China’s educational system produced no critical thinker?
While these two primary school students contributed their fair share in the discussions of two of the most-cared-about social problems in China, Liang Wengen, billionaire and CEO of machinery maker Sany (The Sany who vows to sue Obama all to way to the Supreme Court over “unfair treatment”), scored two of the Congress’ most-ridiculed answers.
On November 10, to the question of whether he will immigrate to the US some day, Liang responded: “Anything is possible under the sun, except for my immigration. If I were to live 1000 times, I wish I could live all 1000 lives in China. If I were to die a 1000 times, I wish I could die all 1000 deaths in China.”
Why was Liang so determined? What he said in response to a question on his relationship with the COC may give a hint: “I wished to join the CPC since I was little…People will pay more respect to you if you are a Party member…If a young man is a Party member, it will be much more easier for him to find a wife. The wives of most Party members are better-looking than wives of non-Party members. Girls in China love Party members.”
It’s not clear whether those two 11-year-old journalists are thinking about joining the CPC when they are old enough to be considered, but let’s just hope that if they are, it’s not for pretty girls. Oops, wait a minute…one of the student journalists is a girl, so CPC membership won’t look attractive to her. Never mind.