Why I Don't Talk Chinese Politics
Somewhere out there, I read someone say with regret that I don't write too much about Chinese politics. I do write some politics, but they tend to be analytical pieces in which I state how I would rationally look at a set of situations (e.g. the petitioning system). But I will not speculate on the palace intrigue variety of politics. I can actually isolate that singular moment in time when I developed the revulsion. It occurred when I watched the All-Blacks sketch by Monty Python:
(In long shot now. The Mayor, who is nine foot high, and dignitaries approach a startled Praline. Organ music below a reverent voice over:)
Voice Over: And now, there is the Mayor. Surely the third tallest mayor in Derby's history. And there are the Aldermen magnificently resplendent in their Aldermanic hose and just look at the power in those thighs. The New Zealanders are going to find it pretty tough going in the set pieces in the second half... So Dawn Palethorpe with one clear round on Sir Gerald... and now the Mayor has reached the Great Customer Mr Eric Praline. (the mayor takes a piece of Paper from the post office man) And now the Mayoral human being takes the Mayoral Pen in the Mayoral hand and watched by the Lady Mayoress, who of course scored that magnificent try in the first half, signs the fishy exemption (the mayor signs it and hands it to Praline) and the Great Customer, Mr Eric Praline, who is understandably awed by the magnificence and even the absurdity of this great occasion here at Cardiff Arms Park, (Praline looks very confused) has finally gone spare and there is the going sparal look on the front of his head. And now the Aldermen are finishing their oranges and leaving the post office for the start of the second half.
(They all exit out of door, eating oranges, and Praline looks after them. Cut to a rugby field. Crowd roaring as the aldermen, mayor, mayoress, town clerk, Dawn Palethorpe (on a horse) and the borough surveyor run onto the pitch and take up their positions.)
Commentator: And here come the Derby Council XV following the All Blacks out on to the pitch. There, in the centre of the picture you can see Dawn Palethorpe on Sir Gerald - one of the fastest wingers we must have seen in England this season. On the left hand side of the picture the Lord Mayor has been running such wonderful possession for Derby Council in the lines out and it's the All Blacks to kick off. Wilson to kick off. Oh, I can see there the Chairman of the By-ways and Highways Committee who's obviously recovered from that very nasty blow he got in that loose ball in the first half. (opposite them the All Blacks kick off) And Wilson kicks off and it's the Town Clerk's taken the ball beautifully there, the All Blacks are up on it very fast and the whistle has gone. I'm not quite sure what happened there, I couldn't see, but there's a scrum-down. I think it's an All Blacks' ball. 'They were upon them very fast. Obviously they're going to try very hard in this half to wipe out this five-point deficit. Derby Council eight points to three up and Derby Council have got the ball against the head. There is the Borough Surveyor, the scrum-half is out of the ... er, the Chairman of the Highway and By-way Committee who's kicked for touch. The line out - and it's into the line out and the Mayor has got the ball again. To the Borough Surveyor who's left out the Medical Officer of Health. Straight along the line to the Lady Mayoress and the Lady Mayoress has got to go through. Number two has missed her - he's taken to the full back - only the full back to beat and she has scored! The Lady Mayoress has scored, it's eleven points to three.
(Caption on screen: 'NEW ZEALAND 3 DERBY COUNCIL 11' Cut to linkman and Cliff Morgan.)
Linkman: (MICHAEL) Cliff, this must have been a very disappointing result for the All Blacks.
Cliff: (Welsh accent) Well, they've had very bad luck on the tour so far. They missed four very easy kicks against the Exeter Amateur Operatic Society, which must have cost them the match and then of course there was that crippling defeat at the hands of the Derry and Toms Soft Toy Department, so I don't think they can be really fancying their chances against the London Pooves on Saturday.
Linkman: And what about China?
Cliff: Well, whether Mao Tse Tung is alive or not, Lin Piao has a stranglehold on central committee which Liu Shao Chi can't break, so it remains to be seen whether Chou En Lai can really get his finger out and get going in the second half.
Linkman: Well, thank you Cliff. Tonight's other outstanding match was the semi-final between the Bournemouth Gynaecologists and the Watford Long John Silver Impersonators. We bring you edited highlights of the match.
(Rapid montage of goals scored by competent gynaecologists wearing surgical gowns and caps, against totally incompetent and immobile LJSI team who simply stand round going 'aaah! Jim lad' as the goals rain in. The ball is tucked off-screen. Sudden cut to studio. A presenter is standing in front of curtain; he catches the ball thrown from off. He smiles.)
Presenter: Well, that's about it for tonight ladies and gentlemen, but remember if you've enjoyed watching the show just half as much as we've enjoyed doing it, then we've enioyed it twice as much as you. Ha, ha, ha.
(The sixteen-ton weight falls on him. Cut to montage of scenes of destruaion, buildings falling down, bombs etc. Roll credits over.)
Thus, in the middle of an absurdist sketch about a rugby tour in which the world's best team (the New Zealand All-Blacks) was being trounced by various English social clubs, the commentators started talking about Chinese politics in a way that makes it obvious that they have no idea what they are talking about.
I have no intention to be like that. That is why I will not write about political speculations such as whether China will attack Taiwan within the next six months, or that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are clashing over media control policies, or that the Hu-Wen faction is moving against the Shanghai gang headed by Jiang Zemin. I am just a blogger who does not have privileged access to such information. I may have the freedom and space to do so, but there are better things to do than just pulling stuff out of my a***. The world is much better off as a result.