The True Life of a Political Worm

The following is the translation of a Tianya Club forum post about the known and hidden rules of a minor political bureaucrat in China.  This is a forum post, so it is more "wild history" than a formal academic discourse.  Nevertheless, the many observations probably ring true because we must have observed the same type of group behavior elsewhere (e.g. in corporate settings).  

(Tianya Club)  Let Me Tell You About The True Lives Of Little Crawling Political Worms That I Have Personally Witnessed.

[in translation]

I have been working at a government organization for many years, and I have personally observed all sorts of political animals and bizarre phenomena.  So I have done a great deal of reflections about life inside a government organization.  At Tianya Club, friends contribute their specialties and make for a bustling forum.  I have decided to write down what I heard and saw at the government organization.  I would be satisfied if I can get you to smile.

Although the philosopher Ah Q said that what exists is rational, the phenomena that I record below are difficult to characterize as either rational or irrational.  Some of these phenomena are inexplicable.  For example, I can see a strange phenomenon that some people who read this post will experience the following soon after: (1) success in romance; (2) success in business; (3) get promoted and become rich; (4) feeling better; (5) family harmony; (6) healthy body; (7) everything works as wished.  These people are those who supported me before they even read the post and they continue to support me after reading it.  There is another group of people who read this post and then things get really bad for them soon after; (1) failure in romance; (2) bankruptcy in business; (3) caught for corruption; (4) feeling miserable; (5) broken family; (6) failing health; (7) everything goes wrong.  These people are those mean people who don't write supporting comments to this post.  Chairman Mao taught us: "When you read a good post, you must write a supporting comment!"  Chairman Mao's words make sense.  Is it so hard to write a supporting comment?

That was the preface.

1. A Perfect Expansion

After much effort, the universal working department in the business unit of the organization was finally established.  Even before the publicity committee issued a formal release, the various powers were calling the boss and asking him for jobs for their relatives.  When the boss received these kinds of call, he usually laughed and replied with "Let's see what happens," "We'll talk later," "It is not set yet, so I cannot say for sure," "I wish I could" and other vague statements.  But there was one telephone call that the boss had to be highly attentive to.  That was the call from the local Number One (explanation of terminology: the county party committee secretary and the same will apply throughout this essay).  It turned out that Ms. Bei, the daughter of a good friend of Number One, was presently at a self-paying unit and wanted to transfer to a government-subsidized unit.  She was well-informed and she knew that the universal work unit has to bring people in.  Therefore, she went to see Number One.  Since this was the daughter of his good friend, Number One had to help out and he called the boss and asked him to consider.  The boss knew what 'consideration' means, because he has been considering for some time already.  It turned out that Ms. Bei already knew that what to do.  When the mobile phone of the boss broke down, she "lent" a mobile phone to the boss "temporarily" and she addressed the boss as "godfather."  So the boss has to consider his "goddaughter."  Now that Number One has spoken, there was a further reason in that a subordinate must obey a superior, and so he started to work on this matter.

Based upon the stated requirements, when a business unit wants to hire people, it must be done in an open process.  So how can the process be bypassed in order for Number One's designated person be brought in?  The boss spent a lot of effort on thinking this through.  At a certain party organizational meeting about human resources, the boss spoke about the issue of hiring for the universal working department and wantd the comrades to discuss.  But before the comrades got to speak, the boss said the following: 

"The universal working department has been established.  It is still an empty shell without people.  That is a problem.  Ultimately, someone has to do the work.  Ms. Bei from a certain unit was just released from the organization and temporarily assigned to a self-paying unit.  Based upon the original release, this is a temporary arrangement.  The superiors have said that when the conditions are ripe, she will be placed in a better unit as this is our responsibility to the reform process as well as to Ms. Bei.  After the universal working department was set up, Number One has asked me whether Ms. Bei can be arranged to come to work at the universal working department.  To put it nicely, this is a discussion; to put it more properly, this is an assignment handed down by the party committee government!  So let us discuss this matter today and see how we can accomplish this mission!"

When the two deputies heard that, they were quite unhappy inside.  One meeting agenda item that day was to select talents for the universal working department based upon openness, equality, competition and excellence.  But the boss has switched the subject to one of how to complete the mission from the superiors on how to bring in a connected person.  Anyone placed from above is usually not very good.  Besides, this Ms. Bei is a tough character whose aggressiveness scares everyone.  If she came here, it would be like bringing a wolf inside the home, right?  Something should be said about this Ms. Bei.  She used to be at a local unit, which was quite important.  But an order came from the provincial government to take back this important department.  For various reasons, Ms. Bei did not qualify for this new department and she was temporarily assigned to a self-paying department.  She was quite unhappy and she had a fit.  She showed upon at the reform office.  When a dispute occurred, she overturned the desk at that office.  She had a long quarrel and when she did not get satisfaction at the end, she even broke the glass at the office before she left.  By coincidence, our unit's deputy Li was at the reform office that day.  Obviously, Deputy Li hated this shrew.  When he was told that she may be working on his turf, did you think that he would agree?

Of course, the boss knew about this.  He knew that his two deputies would object and so this won't get past the party organization meeting.  In order to prevent that from happening, he changed the previous practice of letting the deputies speak first at the party organizational meetings.  "Let me say a couple of things first.  My opinion is that the universal working department needs someone urgently and this Bei person has good ability and should be able to handle the job; furthermore, her placement is the will of the leader.  Based upon the above reason, I personally agree with placing Ms. Bei to work at the universal working department."

The unwritten rules of government are that when the leader agrees first, the second-in-command and third-in-command would not say the opposite unless the opinion of the boss seriously damages their own personal interests.  When the boss expressed his views, the basic outcome of the meeting has been decided.  When the two deputies spoke, they must have mumbled something like that this Bei person has some ability but her personal temperament still leaves something to be desired.  But since Number One has spoken out and the boss concurred, blah blah blah ... we don't have any opinion.  In this fashion, the leadership corps was able to reach a "consensus" on this personnel issue.  Later on, I understood that in these meetings, one must emphasize "smooth administration" and must not speak of "democracy."  Subordinates obey superiors.  In one word, "centralization."  And this centralization must be set in the beginning rather than let the discussion ferment from the bottom since it would be impossible to control the rhythm and pace that way.  Actually, this 'democratic' meeting is a communication meeting, even though this is a group discussion/decision in form and for which everybody has some responsibility.  The boss calls this the "art of leadership."

So the universally detested Ms. Bei entered in the following way:

First step, she came on loan.  The reason for doing do this was to mislead the public.  Everybody knows that one has be to examined before entering a unit that involves financial disbursements, and these examinations take a long time to conduct.  Meanwhile, the universal working department needs people, right or not?  So for the normal conduct of business, a comrade with good political thoughts (bullshit, there are no standards and whoever you say is good is good) and good working ability (also bullshit, and whoever you say is good is good) will be transferred temporarily.  There are several advantages.  First, this person who came on loan for a purpose usually does not return, so this is setting up a solid foundation for transferring Ms. Bei over.  Second, Ms. Bei is a smart person.  Once she is in here, she should be able to repair her relationships with the two deputies.  Third, this is setting up the scene for a formal examination.  Everybody on earth knows that if there is an examination, then one would ordinarily hire those people who are hired or on loan within the department already first.  The so-called examination is just a parade, right?

Second step.  After several months, there is an open examination.  The conditions were basically set up according to Ms. Bei's current qualitifications.  She was the only examinee and so she got the highest score.  This would shut the mouths of the whole world and cover up the eyes of the world (actually, this is not possible).  Thus, Ms. Bei fulfilled her wish to work at the universal working department.

2.  The Perfect Pit-Filling

One year, our unit cooperated with another department to conduct a cadre examination.  At the time, these examinations were quite irregular.  The organizers took entrance fees, issued a receipt on a piece of white paper and all the revenues were not recorded.  When the examination was over, the relevant people at the two units simply pocketed the money and then went out and had a good time.  This examination was like asking deaf people to listen to music or blind people to watch movies.  It was obviously a parade.  If the examinees had the qualification criteria to take the exam, they were guaranteed to pass no matter how stupid they were.  After passing the exam, the temporary hires could become cadres and they won't complain about only getting a piece of white paper as receipt.  Everybody got what they wanted, everybody made money and everybody was happy.

But some years later now, some of the people at the other department which cooperated with us got into trouble.  The party disciplinary department conducted multiple investigations while applying pressure on the participants.  The entire matter was about to be exposed.  So all those involved in the two departments were worried.

The boss was one of those corrupt elements involved in sharing the loot.  Usually, he knows how to fish for praises and so his political reputation was quite good.  Now all of a sudden, the fact that he took a small amount of money (in his eyes) once upon a time is coming back to haunt him in an inglorious manner.  So he was worried.  A little crawling political worm like him is just like the prostitute who wants a chastity memorial archway since his reputation is very important to him.  So he was spending a lot of time trying to come up with a way of making sure that this is not revealed.  Finally, he figured out that in the absence of any other alternative, the disciplinary committee investigators would accept the repayment of all the RMB that were taken in back then.  With this type of economic criminal case, the disciplinary committee would be happy to close the case with a report.  But the key is that all of the money must be repaid!  Furthermore, the worst thing is that the two deputies were not in leadership position back then and they had no share in the interest.  If the boss were to propose that the unit assume the entire cost, they would not support it.  Finally, he decided that the matter was serious enough for a meeting of all the workers at the unit to handle this matter.

This meeting of all the workers of the unit was very difficult.  Everybody knew that the boss was connected to the matter of hiring cadres back then, even if they feigned ignorance.  The boss knew that everybody knew that he accepted money, but he pretended that he did not know that everybody knew.  This type of thing cannot be brought to the table, and it definitely cannot be stated in a public setting.  Everybody was an experienced old fox who has been around for decades; everybody just kept it inside themselves.

The boss began with a dignified speech spoken with plausible arguments: "Today, we are holding a meeting with everybody.  The main thing is to mobilize democracy and mass power in order to find a solution for a worrisome problem.  If this problem is not solved, it will affect the public image of our unit and the positions of the various attendees in the minds of the party committee government, including your future and progress.  The facts are these: once upon a time, we hired cadres in conjunction with another department and there was a minor problem.  The organizer Zhao took the money but did not issue receipts and the money was not accounted for afterwards.  We all know that he did not personally take the money, because the leaders in both units agreed with the decision.  Although the money was not accounted for, it was used for the expenses in hiring the cadres such as arranging for the examination, arranging for food and lodgings of the administrative personnel from above, and so on.  Anyway, this was not an individual corruption case on the part of Zhao himself.  I know about this matter.  Back then, there were very few departments which had financial systems in place.  If they want to bust people for this type of thing, there are lots of people to bust.  Therefore, Zhao is taking the fall in this case for others.  To be more precise, he is taking the fall for our and his unit.  Based upon the known situation now, the disciplinary committee does not seem to want to go after people.  The key is that the money back then has to be returned to the public.  Zhao cannot come up with that money.  It has been spent already.  Our department and their department both spent parts of it.  How shall this matter be handled?  My view is that I want to minimize any incident.  Besides, this was not a big deal.  In the following, I would like everybody to discuss and express their opinions."

The two deputies lowered their heads and said nothing.  They thought to themselves, "What the fuck is this to me?"

The other ordinary workers watched the performance of the boss with interest.  They said nothing.  For the moment, the silence became very embarrassing.

The boss saw that things were not going well and he urged: "Why is everybody saying nothing?  Comrades, do not think that this does not concern  you.  We have been saying for months and years continuously about one thing -- that is to say, how come our cadres are so good but they cannot get promoted?  There is a reason, comrades!  If we cannot even solve this tiny problem, then we have no fighting spirit and no cohesion.  How do you expect me to go to the party committee and ask for official appointments?  This matter has to be solved.  Will the comrades please state their positions, eh?"

The boss then looked at Zhang Fei.

This simpleton has the typical brain of a pig.  When he saw the boss's encouraging look, he became excited.  He remembered that his wife has just solved her job problem for which the boss gave some help.  You keep a pig around so that it can be useful one day.  So Zhang vied to be the first one to speak: "Although I am not clear about the details of the case that the boss brought up today, I can guarantee that Zhao is an innocent person on the basis of my Party instinct (bullshit, how can your bullshit Party instinct guarantee the innocence of someone else?).  This good person should not be wrongfully charged (more bullshit as this made no sense).  We should send some money from our unit's little gold warehouse, or else things can get really bad."

As soon as Zhang Fei opened his bovine mouth, everything changed.  The words of Zhang Fei suited the boss.  If you state that you oppose this proposal, then you are directly opposing the boss.  What good can come out of opposing the leader?  None.  Is there anything bad?  There is plenty bad, because he had hinted that your progress and future is in the hands of the boss, right?  If he wants to block your career, you will be never be mentioned in front of the leaders and you will have no opportunity for promotion and progress.  If he won't even name you, how can you get promoted?  Afterwards, the ordinary cadres all stated that they agreed with pig-brain's proposal.  Although the two deputies did not agree in private, there was nothing that they can do under the principle that the minority obeys the majority.  Since objection is futile, the smart Chinese would not object and they will just muddle their way through instead.  Anyway, the boss was able to successfully obtain an apparent consensus at the meeting.

Since the pit was filled in, the problem about the cadre hiring went away as the disciplinary committee was more interested in curing an illness while saving some people!

3.  The Tricks Used By The Local Number One To Concentrate His Power

The local Number One is the party committee secretary.  The Tianya readers can speculate whether this is a town party committee secretary, county party committee secretary or a city party committee secretary.  Anyway, there isn't too much difference.

From the moment that the former local Number One assumed his post, he was able to promote new policies and concentrate power for himself with any number of new and old tricks.  It was a truly astonishing sight.  I have left home for some years, but my memory is still fresh.

1. He adopted an strategy that strived for excellence.  When Number One came to the job, these were the first things that he tried.  The idea was that everything related to economics, finance, urban construction, national land, education, public health, family planning and so on must be known as "excellent."  The projects must be big, good and heavily capitalized.  In order to improve leadership of the strategy of excellence, there was a special working group of leaders for the strategic work for excellence, with Number One as the group director.  After a few years, there were a number of projects along the strategy of excellence: in city administration, there were "beautifying, brightening, greening" projects; in urban construction, there was a "Build a new city" project; urbanization has a "The city welcomes rural migrants" project ... and just as we got ready for the "Flying across the Pacific Ocean" project, Number One was promoted.  The chief advisor to each project was Number One.

2. He formed many leadership working groups under different titles.  The most important ones that I can remember are: the leadership working group for finance and taxation; the leadership working group for urban construction, the leadership working group for reform development, the leadership working group for organization reform, the leadership working group for education ... the head of any leadership working group that involves people, money and power is Number One himself.

3. He spoke frequently about the re-assignment of the cadres.  This is the same old trick that never fails.  Number One can be said to have mastered the operation of this trick.  He can tell the deputy secretary in charge of the party and the masses, "You will likely become the next local administrative chief, so keep up the good work."  Meanwhile, he can drop the same hint with another deputy secretary.  This fills them up with hope and enthusiasm to follow him.  He was able to tightly control all the cadres, big and small, within his domain for three to four years.  Even to this date, people admire him.

4. He employed only his associates.  "If you obey me, you will do well; if you oppose me, you are finished."  Anyone who disobeys him is re-assigned; anyone who nestles close to him is given opportunities.  During the reign of Number One, all the direct government and party organization leaders were transferred, replaced or removed.  Even after Number One, his residual influence stayed for a long time.

5. He allocated work through re-assignment.  The allocation of work during the re-assignments involves a lot of know-how.  While it is said that everybody is working for the Revolution and there is no good or bad assignments, nobody believes that kind of stage speech.  I have not yet encountered anyone who really believes that except for the young girl in my home.  Using work assignments to control power is the most typical means used by the leader.  It is also the most legitimate, and those who were re-assigned cannot complain.  There was a deputy who used to be in charge of urban construction, finance and taxation and political law.  He was extremely powerful.  But because he refused to obey Number One, his work was subject to re-assignment and all his powers were stripped away.  After the re-organization, this deputy was in charge of ethnic minorities, senior citizens and the handicapped persons' union.  He ended up slamming bricks of bean curd on his head everyday to commit suicide unsuccessfully.  He finally gave up his job and ended up playing mahjong with senior citizens everyday, with bets of 0.1 RMB per game (with 0.3 RMB per game for a good hand).  Alas!  Work assignment is so useful!

4. The Elections

The Chinese people are an excellent people, with a great deal of creativity.  The most typical representation of the vivid creativity of the modern Chinese is socialism with a unique Chinese characteristic.  In the following, I will describe the base-level elections that I have seen, so that you can see what elections with a unique Chinese characteristic are like.  Ha!

1. The goal of the organization and the will of the people.

If you have not heard about the phrase "the goal of the organization," then you must have not experienced or seen a base-level election in China.  The goal of the organization is a term that appears very frequently during each election.  The organization refers to the party organization.  The goal of the organization is the proposal from the party with respect to various aspects of the election.  To be precise, this is about who the party wants elected, how to elect them, and what measures will be taken in the event that the party-recommended candidate is likely not to be elected.  All of these aspects have detailed contingency plans.  When someone is confirmed by the organization as the candidate, it can be said that there is a 99.999% chance of being elected.  So what is the will of the people?  The will of the people is divided.  You want to elect Person One, he wants to elect Person Two and I want to elect Person Three.  There is a vast difference between the goal of the organization and the will of the people.  When does the goal of the organization become highly consistent with the will of the people?  The Chinese Communist Party is a great, glorious and correct party and it is very good at being in charge.  It is experienced in managing the relationship between the goal of the organization and the will of the people.  In order to make the goal of the organization highly consistent with the will of the people, it is actually very simple: you will vote for Person One one way or the other, because Person One is the only candidate!  This is the most frequently used method to guarantee that the election will successfully realize the goal of the organization -- quota election.

2. How does someone jump out of an election ballot box?

The goal of the organization is determined by the organization.  But some people refuse to accept this and want to challenge the organization by secretly organizing underground activities to get voters to elect him.  These things happen frequently each year.  Has anyone been successfully elected this way?  Yes.  I have seen it happen.  Those who successfully challenge the organization are said to be candidates who jumped out of the election ballot box.  I have seen two town mayors who jumped out this way.  The detailed operational procedure is as follows: When the election is near, you begin secret activities unknown to the organization (it better be secret or else you are dead!).  For example, suppose that the individual known as Wang is the deputy secretary of some town.  This comrade is active and down-to-earth, and he gets along with the masses.  He likes to go drinking with the people, and his buddies like him.  But even as he gets closer to the masses, he forgets to get close to the superiors and the organization.  Naturally, when the organization begins to consider the election candidates, they forget about him.  Wang is quite indifferent, but his drinking buddies are upset, "Secretary Wang, don't you want to become town mayor?"  "I am not thinking about it.  Forget it."  "But Secretary Wang, you are such a good official!  We want you to become Number Two (the party secretary is Number One) and lead us all to wealth!"  When enough people in the town say that, Wang becomes tempted.  "So I will go for the election.  I don't give a fuck!"  He begins to visit this and that family.  He visits all the People's Congress representatives in the town and offers the idea to them.  He speaks openly to some, and he only drops hints to others.  He visits some in person, and he uses surrogates for others.  Sometimes he brings a carton of cigarettes, and other times he brings a bottle of liquor.  Since he has a good public opinion base already, people really do not care about the value of the presents.  Anyway, he fixes most of the people who have the votes.  On election day, several representatives recommend Wang to oppose the candidate proposed by the organization.  The election result is dramatic as the organization's candidate loses.  Wang drops in from nowhere and becomes the town mayor with a majority vote.  The team in the organization that is responsible for this election is criticized severely.

3. You should check out the organizational measures

Once someone pops out of a ballot box, this is a clear sign that the organization is being challenged.  But the Party follows the law.  Once someone pops out, the mayor who pops out is ultimately still the mayor and that is quite legal.  So he gets to stay one term.  I have never heard the Party not recognizing the fact.  But these things only happen in special cases (very special cases).  In order to prevent people from popping out of the ballot box, the organization has many measures.  I can remember the following:

(A)  The organization keeps an eye on suspected elements.  Prior to an election, the organization's departments have prepared for the election.  Watching suspected elements is one of the duties.  If anyone lobbies for votes with banquets, runs underground activities, forms alliances and other abnormal activities, or even just hints as such, it must be reported to the leadership immediately.  Therefore, you will find that the leadership have special powers of knowledge by which they know everything that goes on.

(B)  The leadership does their work.  As soon as it is discovered that someone wants to elect you, or that you want to do something to get elected, the leaders will speak to you and get you to abandon the idea with hard and soft tactics.  The leaders' speeches to you will consist these ideas: you are a Party member, you will obey party discipline and you must not take these actions; you are still young, you will get another opportunity next time; you are quite competent, and the reason why the organization did not choose you is based upon the additional consideration to enable you to have even better use; if you don't listen, you will be responsible for all consequences ...

(C)  The organization promises to take care of the problems of the ballot box jumpers, such as the work position of the children, the transfer of the wife, etc.  The premise is that the person must resolutely abandon the election.

(D)  The organization pulls the rug from underneath.  So you want to jump out of the ballot box to become a candidate.  Why?  Because someone is supporting you.  Fine, they will work on whoever is supporting you so that he won't support you.  For example, if a village secretary Ah Q supports you, they will call Ah Q in and take turns to work on him.  The work steps are as follows: first, they explain the greater good: "You are a party secretary, you are a party member, you must obey the party."  They can tempt him: "The party will consider your son's work."  They can threaten them, "Do you still want to remain the party secretary?  If you don't want to, just speak up and we will re-assign you immediately."  Anyway, until the work is successfully completed, they won't let him go.  So all your targets are taken care of one after another.  Nobody is going to nominate you, so why bother entering the election?  This is known as pulling the rug from underneath.

(E)  "Killing a chicken to show the monkeys."  There will always be some stubborn people in this world, right?  The organization offers him wages, it gives him an official position, it provides a car for him, it gives him everything, but he still try to act behind the back of the organization.  He thinks too highly of himself and believes that a dead fish can flip its back.  Hmmm, does anyone gets a good ending by opposing the party?  I have seen a moron who has risen to the rank of department administrator after working for the party many years.  But he thought that it was not high enough, so what can you do?  He wanted to become deputy county mayor.  What is so good about being a deputy county mayor?  The intention of this idiot was detected and the organization invited him for a talk.  They cannot reach an agreement after long talks.  He was stubborn.  His reason was: "Did I break the law?  No!  Did I commit a crime?  No!  Did I lobby for vote?  No!  I only stuck to my principles after working for the organization many years.  A group of citizens wants to elect me.  Is that wrong?  I want to be in the election!"  This type of stubborn people can be found everywhere in the country, especially in Hunan.  So the organization just shook its head in frustration.  Fine, the organization was not going to fool around anymore.  So you go and enter the election, and we will see how you die!  On the next day, as before, the organization deployed any number of methods in a mass attack to fix all the People's Congress representatives who supported him.  So his election qualification?  Zilch.  On the third day, the organization issued an order and re-assigned this idiot to assume a deputy position in a unit that does nothing.  Are you finished or what?  How dare you oppose the organization?  As soon as all the other tough guys who were thinking about jumping out of the ballot box saw what happened, they quickly bailed out.  This is known as killing a chicken to warn all the monkeys.

(F) Undermining those who managed to successfully jump out of the ballot box

Just because you managed to get elected, that does not mean that you won.  Without the support of the organization, you can only jump twice or thrice, not even four to five times.  The organization reviles those people who jump out of the ballot box.  So after you get elected, they will take revenge.  So you want to be elected deputy county mayor, you can be the deputy county mayor.  But your work assignment will be either problematic or unimportant.  Problematic assignments include: investigation of conflicts and family planning.  Unimportant assignments include: ethnic minorities, religion, the handicap union, etc.  You want to manage and I let you manage these things!  You want to administer and I let you administer these things!  Also, I won't let you join the organization team.  You are not permitted to participate in government work led by the party or anything that the party organization is studying.  To put it simply, you are frozen out.

(G)  Personally protecting the election candidates.

In order to guarantee that the election candidate gets a sufficient number of legal votes, the most certain way is to offer full protection to those who hold the votes.  For elections at the town or higher levels, everything is done by indirect election.  People like you and I do not get to vote; the votes are in the hands of the People's Congress representatives and party representatives (anyway, they all belong to the Party).  These base-level People's Congress representatives and Party representatives are the people whom the organization has to spend a great of effort to protect.  I once observed the election of the standing committee by party representatives.  This was a big deal because the position of Standing Committee member usually is not elected by the party representatives at large.  I happened to have been privileged to observe this exceptional case.  When the party representatives cast their votes, they were accompanied by people all the way through.  To make this clear, they better vote for Person One and not Person Two.  There were two candidates and just one Standing Committee position, so this was an election for the higher number of votes.  Person One was the one arranged by the organization to get elected, while Person Two was the person arranged by the organization with lesser ability and influence.  Prior to the vote, all the Party representatives had been worked on to make sure that Person One gets elected with a high vote.  In order to ensure that the goal of the organization is realized, when the ballot is cast, someone watched that the voter has circled the name of Person One and placed the ballot into the box.  Meanwhile, Person Two knew that he was there for show and he did not mind even if he gets zero votes.  On the occasion that I witnessed, this idiotic Person Two was a Party representative as well as a candidate.  So he had a vote himself.  Whom did he vote for?  The organization told him, "Person Two, you cannot vote for yourself.  You can only vote for Person One!"  So he obediently voted for Person One.

5.  Miscellaneous notes

1. Organization

The organization is a work structure of the Party within a certain administrative domain.  That is my understanding.  For example, in a certain city, the organization is the city party committee.  In a certain county, the organization is the county party committee.  And so on.  But whether this is the city or county party committee, this is not abstract and you must never try to comprehend the organization in an abstract way.  According to the understanding of many comrades in the party, the organization is the leader and the leader is the organization.  I heard one county party committee secretary tell the organization department director: "The goal of the organization is to realize the goal of the secretary, and the goal of the secretary is the goal of the organization!"  Isn't this quite clear?  A town party secretary said, "I can offend all 100,000 people in the whole town, but I cannot offend the county party committee secretary."  There is no need to explain the reason.

2. It's a pity

There once was a guy who was young, bright, smart and capable.  He rose from a base-level worker to a deputy position in the political law department before he was even forty years old.  His future looked bright.  Unfortunately, soon after he became a department deputy, he did something stupid.  That year, there was a government administrative election.  Although he was not nominated, he was persuaded by a bunch of friends to jump out of the ballot box for a deputy mayor position.  So he plotted well and then he went down to the villages to form alliances.  But as soon as he showed up, he was detected by the organization.  So he was immediately accused of illegal conspiracy, re-assigned to idle work and demoted.  So nowadays, this man has lost his will and interest and he barely even shows up at his office.  The insiders say that the organization actually had other arrangements for him.  But after this episode, what arrangements can there possibly be?

The conclusion: stay cool.

3. To join the Party?  Or not join the Party?

Joining the Party does not mean anything.  Within this unit, those who should be in the party are already there.  When I wrote out my Party application, I was the only in the unit who was not a member.  The organizational administration comrade said, "Our development of party membership is that we develop another one if there is one left; it is not as if we develop one who is ready."  The Chinese Communist Party has 69 million members.  If they add me, it will just be 69 million plus one.  If you have not joined the Party yet, you may want to think about going against the current and become a non-party member who supports the Party.  Maybe you can reap unexpected results.  Within the government and the organization, there is a need for adding democratic or non-party persons as leaders.  If everybody else belong to the party and you are not, then you will be the leader.  A classmate of mine ended up with the deputy position at this unit.  This idiot is the classical bookworm who does not know how to offer gifts to the leaders.  But the organization still wanted him because he did not join the Party and he had all the other qualifications.

4. Fermenting

Do you know what is fermenting?  When the election is about to take place, the organization must first determine the qualifications of the candidates.  The process of fermenting seems to be complicated and it is difficult to describe everything.  But however you want to describe fermenting, there is only one goal: to make sure that the preferences of Number One, Number Two, Number Three down to Number N pass through the set procedures and be confirmed as the candidates recommended by the organization.  The activities on the stage appear to be quite high sounding in accordance with the procedures and there is nothing to say.  But the key is that all those transactions occur off the stage.  Do you want to be the town mayor?  You better work on it ahead of time!  Someone told us that only idiots work at the last minute.  If you want to build up relationships, you should do it at ordinary times without making too much fuss.  There are many ways, and you only have to be clever.  There is no need to describe the different ways in detail, because it is more or less the same around the country.  It is about meeting the interests of the leader, bringing him gifts during the holidays and making reports to the leader about your work.  Whatever the leader likes, you join him.  Wherever the leader is likely to appear, you should be there too.  Whenever the leader needs you, you appear in time.  When the leader likes you, you will be remembered when there are new job openings.  I remember one filthy cadre who was corrupt at every job position.  Each time after he was caught by the disciplinary committee, he would continue to be promoted after the punishment.  You should not be surprised, because his skill is that he knows how to please the leader by fixing connections and arranging for food and drinks.  That goes without say.  But the most terrific thing was that this character knows what the leader likes and he specializes in pimping.  He can recite from memory all the pretty girls in the district, including names, units, age, address and telephone numbers.  Whenever the leader needs something, he only has to find this guy and he can get it.  Alas!  If someone likes this is not promoted, who deserves to be promoted? 

5. The most nervous person in an election

Do you know who is the most nervous person during an election?  It is not the person who casts the vote, because there is nothing to be nervous about.  It is not the candidate, because he is confident.  It is not the person who calls out the vote, because this technical work is easy to do.

The most nervous people are those who are assigned to keep watch.  Their job assignment is to trail those people who are attempting to jump out of the ballot box.  They are usually minions with neither power nor authority and are assigned to watch those who are usually powerful and valued such as town party committee secretaries.  Yet their responsibilities are huge because it would be a disaster if the object of the watch vanishes from sight!  Once that person escapes, he is capable of working all over the place and once the momentum is attained, the goal of the organization will fail.  So this is a tremendous responsibility.  Yet, one cannot follow an important official too closely, because when the other party gets angry, one gets a scolding at best and a beating at worst.  "Motherfucker!  I am not breaking the law or committing a crime, so why are you following me?"  Furthermore, it may be someone with whom there was a good relationship before and so it gets awkward when there is now a conflict in roles.  There was one guy who had to follow a town party committee secretary, who used a trick to disappear from view for an hour.  The guy was scared colorless and nearly in tears.  When he reported the occurrence to his leader, he got a scolding and almost a beating.  Finally, they had to send the police cars out before finally finding the person.

6. Keeping company in an election

The funniest thing in an election is keeping company.  A unique product of base-level election in socialism with unique Chinese characteristics is that some people are there to keep company.  The goal is to guarantee that the goal of the organization should be achieved in an election in which the largest number of votes results in victory.  This is illustrated by an example.

On a certain day in 2003, the People's Congress in a certain county was being elected.  According to practice, the various levels and sectors will divide the quota for the representatives.  There are five positions from the educational sector, of which four are for rural elementary and secondary schools, and one for the department of education and schools under direct county control.  The goal of the organization is that the latter position should be elected based upon the largest number of votes going to a the Education Department director.  In order to make sure that happens according to the expectations of the organization, the organization ordered the county's professional middle school principal enter in the election as well.  The latter comrade is less qualified in reputation, ability, position and influence than the first comrade, and the man understands that it is obvious that he is being asked to keep company.  Like a little boy who comes to visit, you play with him for half a day.  When people finish voting, you leave.  Under normal circumstances, the Education Department director should win the election easily.

7. Establishing connections

Following the preceding story, the various election activities are proceeding as normal.  But there are rough undercurrents even underneath a calm ocean.  There are so many intellectuals in the education field and there are so many talented people around.  The Department of Education director was being nominated as the People's Congress candidate not for being exceptional but because he has been around long enough.  The principal of the county middle school is a talented and capable person with many friends.  Some days before the election, the friends of the principal did not like the Education Department director and wanted to do something.  So everybody plotted across the mahjong tables and whispered in the offices.  They decided collectively that they would not circle the director's name nor the other candidate's name on election day.  Instead, they will write down the name of the principal as a write-in candidate.  Of course, the principal knew about this, but he neither organized not stopped this.  So on election date, when the ballot boxes were opened, no one had more than half of the votes.  The organization was stunned and then they re-grouped!  According to the election law, when nobody gets more than half the number of votes, the election has to be held again.  This time, the list of candidates included the principal's name.  The result of the new election should be obvious, as the principal defeats the director.

8.  Placating

There are two circumstances under which the organization will offer to placate people.  The first circumstance is when the person arranged by the organization did not get elected.  This situation usually makes the candidate very embarrassed while making those responsible for the election work feel like losers.  The organization which nominated the person is even angrier.  But the organization has a way of placating the person with some other form of compensation.  Talk is cheap, so there better be practical steps taken.  The election loser will be given another assignment.  If you can't get elected as the mayor of Village One, the organization will arrange you to become the mayor of Town Two, or even the party secretary.  Anyway, as long as Number One is good to you, you will get one official position after another.

The second circumstance is when a comrade is arranged to run along in an election in which he is guaranteed to lose.  Not anyone can be chosen to do this.  Once the election is over, the organization will placate the election loser when an opportunity arises.  For example, if you were a division director, you may get a department deputy directorship.  Anyway, if you do well by the organization, the organization treats you well.  Ha!

9. The boat overturns

When you want to muddle along in government, you have to follow the leader but you cannot ignore the other types of relationships or else you run the risk of overturning the boat in shallow waters.  This will be illustrated by an actual example.

There once was a smart person who had a good relationship with the local Number One.  So he rose from deputy secretary to town mayor to secretary.  When the new government was appointed, he was transferred as substitute director of a county-level department.  A substitute director is only one step away from the directorship, missing only a document of appointment from the People's Congress.  But this person was too smart and not humble enough.  The People's Congress is the highest local authority (or so says the Constitution) and ignoring the old comrades of the People's Congress is ignoring the masses!  So this person's excessive behavior aroused public ire and the People's Congress representatives taught this person a lesson during the appointment process and denied his appointment.

Conclusion: Don't let things get to your head.

10.  On stage and off stage

When an official speaks from the stage, you cannot usually trust what he says because even he does not believe it.  What he has been speaking are words that were downloaded by his secretarial assistant from the Internet, and then reproduced, copied, pasted, edited, combined, borrowed and augmented.  I can say without boasting that yours truly is an expert that everyone can depend on in such matters.  Everybody in government knows that what is said on the stage should not be taken as true.  In 2000, I had just recently entered the ranks of government.  At the end of the year, the discipline committee issued a written notice that the various kinds of inspections are reaching a high.  In order to prevent dining on public funds, it was ordered that various kinds of meals would be banned and severe punishment would follow if the inspection team finds violations.  There was a long list of items about what was not allowed on business.  I read it carefully and I thought that the Communists were good in reining in the Party and the government, and it would be a matter of time before corruption was exterminated.  So I reported this to the boss and he twitched his mouth and said, "Fine, according to this, we don't have to eat."  When the document reached deputy Huang, he was a straight person and he said, "Isn't this the biggest joke on earth?"  I could not believe that a document from the disciplinary committee could be a joke!  Later, I discovered that this was really a joke.  When the disciplinary committee came to our unit to check, the first assignment that I got was to arrange for a restaurant.  The report was delibered in a few sentences, a few words of humility were uttered and then we went to have fun down at the restaurant.  If you think that it is absurd for the disciplinary committee to slap itself on the mouth, then I tell you that these absurd things can happen anytime.

There is not much to say about the officials on the stage.  They all wear western suits and leather shoes, they speak officialese about serving the people, they read out their secretaries' manuscripts and they issue middle-of-the-road opinions.  The officials off stage allow you to see their real faces.

Occasionally, I get to dine with minor bureaucrats and I find that these idiots are actually from the same mould as those guys who go out drinking and get into fights.  I have to laugh.  Fuck!  The rigid postures on the stage were all an act.  They look like statues up there.  One time, I had dinner with a standing committee member, a deputy county mayor and the traffic police captain.  I ate when I had to and I drank when I had to, and I quietly observed these big shots who look like people but act like dogs.  After three rounds of drinks, things heated up.  Various lower-class behavior showed up, such as drinking contests, dirty stories and brotherhood showed up with these important people.  It turns out these people were sworn brothers who promised to share fortune and corruption.  I heard the deputy county mayor say to the traffic police captain: "Brother, what about the police car license plate that you promised me?"  The traffic police captain replied in his drunken haze: "It is done already.  All the brothers have them!  But if you want to take it away, you have to finish three more big cups!"

11.  Work requirements

The term 'work requirements' appears frequently in enough in government work.  Political animals use this word to reach their various objectives.  For example, how do you proceed to disarm your opponents?  You start off with work requirements.  It is often said that I am a brick of the party.  Wherever I am needed, I move there.  When a political animal feels that a subordinate is disobedient, or else is threatening his own interests, he would make a re-assignment based upon work requirements.  The person has to pack up and leave, and be idle or unemployed.

Work requirements have many other synonyms: all actions must follow orders, obey organizational discipline, look at the big picture, sacrifice the self for the greater good ... anyway, these are all irresistible reasons.  Anyone who has been in government knows that if you have not been getting along with the leader recently and he mentions the term "work requirements", you should be concerned and be ready for bad things to come.

Sometimes, even work requirements can be blown up to absurd proportions.  A certain direct school belongs in a district with first-rate schools and tutorials in the morning and evening.  They cannot be absent under the threat of wage deductions.  Ordinarily, the school teachers would not violate this rule.  One year, there came a group of recent graduates from teachers' universities and these girls included some very attractive ones who gained the attention of the political animals even before school began.  For the first few months that the new girls started working, they received telephone calls from the school leaders to attend parties, dance balls, karaoke and other entertainment events.  The young girls didn't know any better and they accepted all invitations.  According to the school leaders, they were directed to attend the cultural and entertainment activities organized by the leaders.  In other words, these were work requirements.  Since they can eat, drink and have fun as well as meet the legendary leaders, the girls would obviously go.  The more ridiculous thing was that the girls were sometimes supposed to work at the evening tutorials.  But just when they entered the classroom, they received the call from the school leader to proceed to have tea at a certain place.  "What about the evening tutorial?  It would mean wage deductions!"  The school leader would say properly: "You are permitted skip the evening tutorial.  Please proceed immediately!"  When the girls heard that, they smiled, they left the students behind and they excitedly participated in the more important work.

12.  A letter to a certain pretty girl (=PLMM)

Dear MM:

From the first day that I saw you, I liked you.  You have a great body, you are pretty, you can sing and dance, you are talented and you have great presence.  Is it possible for me not to like you?  I think that all men have their ideas.  Those who are married want to get divorced, those who are divorced want to get married and those who are unmarried want to fall in love.  When I think that you are the center of attention of thousands of men, I am humiliated.  I am plain-looking, untalented and not wealthy.  How can I get your attention?  Perhaps you don't even have the time to look at me.  But one day, I read a book in which Confucius taught us that we do what we can and let the heavens decide.  It also says that the spirit of the scholar is to do something even if he knows that it cannot be achieved.  This has given me great encouragement to try to win you.  I have inherited the spirit of old-timers such as Zeng Guofan who kept fighting and losing and who kept losing and fighting.  After sending you a thousand and one flowers and after getting turned down by you a thousand and one times, I finally moved you.  You accepted my invitation and you agreed to go to dinner with me tonight and afterwards we would go out for entertainment.  Once I confirmed your positive answer, I turned pale and nearly passed out.  Thankfully, a royal doctor was by me and revived me just in time.

So I took a bath, I put on my most expensive western suit and my best tie, I wore my best shoes and I spray some cologne on me before I went out for my date.  Half an hour after the appointed time, you arrived.  I was not mad because you were late because men have no right to be mad, especially against pretty women.  Anyway, there was no time to talk as we proceed to eat.  I ordered the most expensive items!  But it turned out that you were not interested in the most expensive food, because you were receiving so many phone calls.  Over the course of the short half hour meal, you received six calls.  For the latter half, you just said "I'm very busy now.  I'll call you back" and hung up.  So you calmed down and ate half a bowl of rice.  It was like a performance watching you eat a meal.  Anyway, it is understandable that a pretty woman would have many friends and therefore get many telephone calls.

After concluding this embarrassing dinner, we went to the barbarians' bar and sat down to listen to the music of screaming ghosts.  A group of men and women were rocking and rolling and we quickly joined in.  Just as we were having fun twisting, you received another telephone call.  As you spoke on the telephone, you walked out of the crowd.  I followed you.  You quickly put away the telephone and you said to me, "I'm sorry.  Something important just came up tonight.  I can't keep you company anymore."  At that moment, my heart went cold.  But I acted magnanimously and said, "Go ahead then.  Would you like me to take you there?"  "No, no, no."  "Let me take you there.  It is not safe for a girl to go out alone."  "There is really no need.  I'll just take a taxi.  Thank you.  You continue to have fun here.  Bye."  The pretty girl came and went quickly.  I was confused and disappointed.

I did not like the sudden drop in passion and so I followed you out to watch you go.  Suddenly, I rubbed my eyes to look at the car parked outside the disco.  I saw you got into that car and before I even realized, the car had left.  Five minutes later, I remembered -- it was the car of the local Number One.  Ten minutes later, my telephone rang and it was the boss.  He wanted me to go to this night club.  I knew that the boss was entertaining there tonight and wanted me to take care of the bill.  So I regrouped myself and went to the night club.  The service worker brought me into the largest and most luxurious karaoke suite in which there were many people.  I was shocked to find that Number One was there.  Next to Number One was the person that I least wanted to see in this kind of setting -- it was you and you had just been with me earlier!  So your important business was to come here and do this!

The philosopher Ah Q said that the greatest sadness in life is the collapse of the idol.  In the one moment when you and I looked at each other, that famous saying flashed across my mind.  Sorrow, sadness, sourness, regret ... thousands of complicated emotions came to me.  What were you thinking?  That night, I drank a lot of alcohol like a zombie.  That night, I received an SMS: "Sorry, I was not deliberately trying to lie to you."  That night, I received a phone call from a friend: "Are you out of your mind?  Are you crazy about women?  How dare you approach someone like that?  How can you want to approach someone like that?  Haven't you heard that she is a member of the harem?"  I said that I heard that, but I did not believe it.  I did not believe it.  I never believed it.  But now I had to believe it!  So after giving me some progressive education, my friend summarized: "Brother, you would rather have nothing than too much of something!"

You are dead within my heart!  Although the process of dying took a long, long time, I have finally buried you, who was a goddess and an idol.  Not for any other reason but that you were one of the legendary beauties of the harem!  Bye bye.

A Fan Who Almost Became Your Lover.  You know my name.

13.  The fall of a beauty

Qiao was a pretty girl.  Since graduating, she has been a middle-school substitute teacher.  She has a great figure, pale skin and pretty looks.  She knows how to speak coyishly and make eyes, and she can handle a few drinks.  The best thing is that she has a wonderful voice that everybody loves.  Through the introduction of some little crawling political worm, she became a favorite companion with officials, as she moved around restaurants, teahouses, dance halls, karaoke places to entertain people with song and wine.  She was a favorite of one of the great leaders.  Then one day, the whole town was talking about a car accident.  It was said to have occurred in the middle of the night.  A police officer was dead in the driver's seat and the pretty woman next to him was seriously injured in the face.  Fortunately, the woman did not die and was taken to the People's Hospital.  The rumor among the people was that when the traffic police arrived at the scene, they found the buttons on the clothes of the woman in the passenger seat were undone and that did not occur as a result of the collision.  Therefore, they said that right before the accident occurred, the police officer had one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand was taking care of some other business.  The pretty woman was none other than Qiao.  When Qiao came to in the hospital, her first sentence was, "I don't want to drink anymore!"  Where was she that night?  What was she doing?  When did she get on the police car?  Why were the buttons undone?  All sorts of speculation began to appear, and every person on the street became an expert puzzle-solver.  Someone connected all the details and said that the police officer was ordered by the leader to take the drunken Qiao home.  On the way, he helped himself and ended up dead.  These stories were not all credible, but the only thing for certain was that Qiao's pretty looks were gone with the wind.

After Qiao was healed, she became a different person.  She said nothing all day, and the leader never asked for her again.  The pretty looks and the nights of drinking and singing belonged in the past!  Her aged father went to the organization to demand justice, with the reason being that she was drinking with the leader.  Since that was a job requirement, she was therefore injured in the line of duty.  The organization did not accept this explanation -- it will never accept this!  You must be joking, because what leader will come forth to confirm such an incident!  This was ridiculous.

14. Complaining

If you are dissatisfied with the behavior of any government official, you ought to complain.  If you complain, then at least those minor government functionaries will treat you better and be less likely to bully you.  If you think that you are willing to let it pass, then I will tell you that those minor government functionaries are apt to think that they are daddies and the little citizens are their children, or even just beggars.  Actually, they are your children!  Comrade Xiaoping said, "I am the son of the people."  His grandma!  Even Xiaoping is the people's son, so he must be my son or what?  If the government official dares to be rude or indifferent or otherwise have a bad attitude, you must teach this son a lesson so that he can return being a son.

When I first arrived in Shenzhen, I did not have a place to say.  Rent was expensive and I did not think it was worthwhile paying that.  So I made the decision to buy an apartment.  I made a down payment, I signed the contract and then I thought day and night about getting all the procedures done.  One day, I called the information line at the National Land Department.  A son around twenty years or so took the call.  I asked him about how to handle the relevant matters.  He told me impatiently, "It is all on our website.  You go and look it up yourself."  I said, "You website is not easy to open, and I don't know where the window is.  Can you provide me with more details?"  He said, "I don't know either."  I said, "Then your colleagues must know.  Can you ask them and then tell me?"  He said, "I'm very sorry, but they don't know either.  You look it up yourself."  I thought, "You must fucking think that I am a fool!  You dare to say that you don't know?  This is your line of business and you don't know?"  So I suppressed my anger and I said coldly, "Fine, you don't know.  But I think that your leader must know.  I am going to ask him directly.  Bye."  Guess what happened?  This bastard called me back in less than five minutes.  He sounded as nice as a prostitute and gave me the details.  This time, he knew that he was just a son.  Hmmm.  Smart.

I will relate another instance of a complaint.  On one afternoon, I went to the social security department to get a social security card.  When I got to the fourth floor office, the worker was a young man.  When he heard that I was a hired worker, he was contemptuous.  He glanced at me, and spoke to me through his nose.  He began to ask me for all sorts of identification as if I was a migrant worker.  I was getting very annoyed.  But I have seen it all before and I did not mind.  But then he asked me if I remember my insurance number.  How can I remember?  He said that if I cannot remember, then this card cannot be processed and I better ask my unit.  I said that I came here only because the unit handler was out of the office and so it was a problem to get it from the unit.  As I hesitated, he said impatiently to me, "Alright, you pay 10 RMB and I will look it up."  I gave him 10 RMB without thinking.  He entered my identity number into the computer and the insurance policy number came out immediately.  It took less than 10 seconds.  It registered in my head immediately, "Fuck!  That's ten RMB?"  And there was no receipt.

When I got back to the unit, I found the telephone number of the social security department leader.  I asked him politely, "Does your unit charge money for looking up an insurance policy number?"  The leader denied it.  I said, "Oh, but your department just took 10 RMB from me.  One RMB per second.  Somewhat expensive, eh?  It is one thing to take the money, but when will I get a receipt?"  When the director heard that, he got worried.  He said immediately that he will conduct a serious investigation.  The next day, the social security department office called me is to say that it was true that the money was received, but it was not for the look-up.  Rather, it was the card-processing fee.  I said, "Fine.  So you have a basis for charging the fee.  When will I get the receipt?"  The other side replied carefully, "As soon as the card is processed, we will give it to you."  This matter is not closed at this time.  They have the nerve to bully a Tianya member.  I will continue fighting this one with them, until they know that even though I am an ordinary citizen, I am still one of their daddies.

15. Taking telephone calls

There is a great deal of knowledge with respect to taking telephone calls.  If you take the wrong call, the leader will curse you out.  It is hard to discuss principles, so I will use some actual examples.  This goes back to before I became the office director.  One day, the director was out and I was alone taking telephone calls.  A call came in and I recognized immediately recognized this to be Mr. Pig.  The street talk had been that he was going to become the next county mayor, but Comrade Pig did not value his own future and he only knew how to pursue fun and corruption.  He was known as the secretary who was interested in three things: playing cards/mahjong during the day, sleeping with women at night and snoring during meetings.  This was really getting to be too much.  Since he did not get along with Number One, he was banished by Number One during the "Three Talks" campaign, relieved of his duties and retained as an "assistant deputy researcher."  So Mr. Pig was no longer the next county mayor and he had more power.  But he used to be an important county leader and when someone like that calls, one should give him some face.  So I spoke to him politely.  Mr. Pig wanted to speak to the boss, so I went to the boss's office and asked him to take the call.  When the boss heard that it was Mr. Big, he was impatient and he finished the call in suppressed anger.  When I saw how the boss looked, I knew that I had made an avoidable error.  The boss hemmed and hawed on the phone and got by.  When he put down the telephone, he turned around and told me, "Why can't you learn to be smarter?  How can you get me to answer this kind of call?  You should have just say that I am down in the countryside!"  From then on, I got smart.  If this man calls again, I say only one thing: "Sorry, the boss is out.  Would you like to call his mobile phone?"

There is another type of telephone call in which the caller identifies himself as being from an upper-level department or even the central party committee and wants to speak to the leader.  You should not get the leader to take these kinds of calls, because they often come from swindlers.  When I was still young and innocent, a sweet-taking woman from Beijing called and said that she was a worker from the State Council Committee in charge of our business.  She wanted to speak to the boss and I believed her.  So I told the boss to take the call.  When the boss picked up the phone, the woman began to talk and the central meaning was that they wanted the boss to contribute an article into an edited volume of theirs.  But they needed some money.  It was not a lot, only five hundred RMB for the book.  The boss hemmed and hawed and promised to consider this.  After he put down the phone, the boss gave me a tongue-lashing.  "How dare you get me to take this kind of call?"  I said that she claimed to be from the central party committee and so I did not dare delay?  The boss smirked.  Later, I figured out that anyone who makes such a call could not possibly be from the central government.  Why?  It is very simple.  If the central party committee wants to speak to a local person, they will go to the province, and the province will get the city, and so on.  They will jump right in.  Have you ever heard Wen Jiabao call a county mayor directly to discuss work?  Therefore, the correct way to deal with these types of calls is not to scold her but to fool with her.  How to fool with her?  I have deduced a method based upon practical experience.  One time, I received a similar kind of call.  The young woman on the telephone said, "Is the boss in?"  I said that I was him and I asked her to speak.  She patiently explained a lot of things to me and then she revealed the bottom card: She wants money.  So I imitated the talking style of the boss, I hemmed and hawed a lot and then I said that our unit is in poor financial situation.  Then I ask her for a cheaper price, like ten RMB or so.  The other party quickly lost patience and hung up to look for other commercial opportunities.  There are many other methods, but they all revolve around one thing: deception.

16.  The fallen ones

When the political animals are in power, they are imposing and impressive.  If they should lose power one day, it is inevitable that people will jump on that.  As described before, Secretary Pig ran into the "Three Talks" campaign, got ousted and met a cruel fate.  Prior to that, Secretary Pig had all the power and his subordinates could not wait to curry favors.  All Secretary Pig had to do was to drop a hint about his wish and the subordinates would arrange for it; even if he said nothing, someone could make all the arrangements for him.  Secretary Pig liked women, so someone set up all the connections and relationships.  Secretary Pig also liked to gamble, so there were many more people trying to make nice.  The funny thing was that the secretary was not lucky and often lost.  Why?  Because there were some professional gamblers in the organization.  Most of these people are chauffeurs.  They don't want to become officials, they don't want to be famous and they only want to make money.  Their expertise in gambling far exceeds others.  They figured out that Secretary Pig had plenty of money so they sought him out deliberately to gamble and they had no mercy.  So Secretary Pig lost a great deal of money while some chauffeurs became rich.  After a couple of years, one chauffeur was able to buy a three-story house without spending one cent of his wages.  This was a legend in the gambling world, and it showed how much money Secretary Pig had lost.  Once he was defanged, nobody came to see him.  His so-called friends avoided him.  Previously, they sought him out and tried to be close to him and they called him everyday.  Now, he is lucky that they take the call when he phones them.  His various misdeeds were also discussed openly within the circle.  Previously, people spent public funds to entertain him; now they are concerned and rueful because they don't know how to enter that into the accounts.  Most of people who have fallen are in such situations.  Those who want to become officials had better be careful!

I might as well as let you see even more clearly the sadness of someone who has fallen.  Perhaps this will be helpful one day.  While the person was in power, he can access everything.  After falling from power, he knows that he had better not even ask for a car to conduct business.  People are apt to say, "Dear leader, I am sorry but our car is under repair.  Would you like me to try to find another car?"  The rejection is politely phrased and you cannot complain.  But it is possible that you may see the car that was under repair speed by in front of your eyes within the next few minutes.  Is that deliberately rubbing it in on the fallen person?  Also, you better not think that there is still money to be had.  The so-called Secretary Pig was fortunate not to have people showing up to call in old debts.  But he may have lost so much money that his mind is gone because sometimes he called up people to ask for a loan.  It was out of the question to borrow public funds, so he asked for personal loans.  One time, one of those damned phone calls reached a person named Jiang in the county party committee office.  Jiang recognized why Secretary Pig called and smiled: "Secretary, I didn't bring cash today.  Should I borrow some money for you from the financial office?"  When Secretary Pig heard that, he knew that he can forget about borrowing money from the financial office and so he gave up.  Another time, a certain division head who had been previously promoted by Secretary Pig could not withstand the badgering and wanted to borrow some money to get rid of him.  But the man's wife was a snob and she grabbed the telephone and said, "Secretary, we just completed decoration at our home and we are tight on money.  I am sorry."  This naked response really embarrassed Secretary Pig.

I will tell you another story about a has-been person.  This person named Gou was a deputy county mayor and he had been in charge of personnel and finances.  While he was in power, he offended many cadres.  After he retired, he was still called Mayor Gou.  But he does not have a telephone and he could not call anyone.  Worst yet, he found out only then that he had no play mates.  He was too embarrassed as a mayor (he still thinks that he is a leader) to go visit other old people to play.  So he stayed by himself and he was getting bored.  The old men in the neighborhood liked to play a ball game and he wanted to join the fun.  But when the old men saw him, their faces tightened and they said, "Hmm.  You want to play this?  Think back a few years when I looked you for some minor issue.  You were like a rock, you were rock hard and you looked as if I owed you several tens of thousands of silver taels.  So why don't you ask how many people want to be on the same side with you?"  When this has-been deputy county secretary heard that, he felt embarrassed and he quickly left.  This political animal who was used to putting his signature and chop on documents and ordering people about was lonely and isolated upon retirement.  He could not adjust psychologically.  He aged quickly, he got ill quickly and he died in sorrow.  If you don't believe me, you can inquire just how many persons who retired from administrative leadership positions (especially those who didn't do good things) lived long lives? 

17.  Exchange

The exercise of power can sometimes be amusing.  The boss has a niece who was a laborer.  To place her in a government job would lead to accusations of abuse of power and criticisms, so it was difficult.  By coincidence, the boss of another organization had the same problem of finding a job for his son.  So it was a match, as the two bosses discussed in private and made the perfect arrangement for their next generation.  This is how it worked: our boss's niece went to the other organization where she was brought in as a trainee, hired and formally placed.  Meanwhile the other boss's son was brought into our organization as a trainee, hired and formally placed.  This is known as a win-win situation in which everybody is happy.  Ha, have you this happen before?

18. The meetings that cannot be missed.

Some meetings can be missed.  For example, teleconferences for production safety or progressive family planning education, or business working meetings called by some department in the name of the party committee and government can be bypassed by simply appointing someone else to appear without your own personal presence.  But there are some meetings that you cannot afford to miss.  First, there are the meetings in which the leader reports on his work.  If the boss is missing, then this is uncool because it would seem that he does not value the work nor the leader.  Second, there are the meetings about job assignments and other important matters.  It would be a loss especially since you cannot attend.  There was one time when the boss was attending a meeting at the provincial office.  He suddenly received news about a personnel meeting for the county in the evening.  The boss made an immediate decision to ask for leave to go home and joined this meeting.  It was on this meeting that the leaders arranged jobs for the relatives of all the bureaucrats.  The boss's son had just graduated from university and he was lucky to be placed in an important department.  If the boss did not travel all the way back, it would be hard to predict whether his son could have received any arrangements.  It was hard to say whether one can influence the decisions at a meeting in which one was absent.  Fuck!  Other people's children cannot enter the ranks of public service, but these bastards can make it happen in just one meeting.

Ah Q said, the road to life is long but the most important steps are few.  Looking at it today, these words are still very sensible.

19.  Putting on a show

To be an official is to put on a show.  You go to investigate in the countryside, you get on stage to deliver a speech, you shake hands and offer a toast, you cut the ribbon and lay a foundation.  Everything is a show.  Alternately, one asks: Is it possible not to put on a show?  Answer: No.  Why?  It is the system.  An official said, "It is impossible.  I have to put on a show.  For example, I went out and participated in the raids on underground clinics this morning.  I am the administrative leader, so I had to be at the scene.  This way, I please everybody.  The workers thinks that I am paying attention, the leaders think that I take action and the media have a focus to report on.  Actually, whether I go or not makes no difference to the action, but can I not act in this show?  Everybody does this."

So let us look at the investigative research.  This is supposed to help understand a situation, and identify and solve the problems.  But in actual work, how many leaders really work towards these goals?  Bullshit!  Most leaders will hold a mobilization meeting, and say a few empty words that are standard everywhere.  The investigation is then handed over to a team, which will not investigate too seriously.  They hold a few forums, they distribute a few ambiguous survey questionnaires, they write an indifferent investigative report, they offer a few recommendations that are neither here nor there and they accomplish their mission.  Most of these investigations have the conclusions determined first before the supporting data are found.  Any raw data that contradict the original conclusion will be ignored because they are useless.  I once participated in a party membership style study.  There was this question in the survey questionnaire:

Do you think that the current behavior of party members in our county is
A. Most party cadres have good style
B. Most party cadres have relatively good style
C. Most party cadres have problems in their style
D. Most party cadres have serious problems in their style

The survey results were 5% chose A, 6% chose B, 79% chose C and 10% chose D.  The conclusion is obvious, but once the writers made their interpretation, the conclusion became this:

The survey results show that the masses are generally satisfied with the style of the party cadres.  Only 10% of the masses believe most party cadres have serious problems in their style, and 90% of the masses do not think so.


Let us look at the stage show again.  Some of the stage acting ability of the leaders on the stage is quite good.  The former local Number One was supposed to have studied in graduate school and was the "single best" local Number One ever.  He gets on the stage and he can speak without a script as he talk about everything from bin Laden blowing up buildings to globalization, from IT business to agriculture by custom order, from the difficulty of hiring workers in Guangdong to industrial shifting.  His words can make your blood boil and your head spin.  Frankly speaking, he was a good motivational speaker.  This Number One was best known for controlling the power and putting on shows, and the two cannot be separated.  According to a worker close to him, the current Number One is nowhere near the quality of the former Number One.  When the former Number One motivates, the problems are often solved easily -- when the buildings go down, urban construction begins immediately.  The current Number One only reads from the manuscript and the people down stage are half asleep.  If his meetings are like that, then the work is even more lackadaisical.  So projects can't get moving even after six months.  This shows that the stage ability reflects the official's ability to a certain degree.  Is putting on a show supposed to be a core technique for officials?

Let us next look at shaking hands and making toasts.  I would rather shake hands with the laboring masses who sweep the streets and pull the carts instead of officials.  The former makes you feel their sincerity, while the latter is obviously putting on a show.  The laboring masses' hands are warm and powerful and you can feel their heartbeats when you shake them.  The officials' hands are cold and weak and you knew that you are in close contact with a mummy when you shake the hands.  Of course, I think the hands of Comrade Jiabao and Comrade Jintao would have the warmth and strength of the working people, but do you expect the ordinary little crawling political worm to shake your hands with a sincere heart?  These idiots are minor officials but they have more haughty manners than Bush Junior.  When he shakes your hand, he only touches you with three fingers.  Hmmm.  You should not be surprised, for I have seen this often enough.  As for toasting, it is also like this.  When a minor official offers a toast, he is usually holding a small half cup of liquid that appears to be wine.  In front of a table of a group of foot soldiers who worked hard, he says, "Comrades, you worked hard.  Bottoms up!"  He makes the action of drinking the whole cup of wine and the soldiers all do the same.  The smart ones also pretend as well.  I am like that because I know that whether I want to drink the whole cup depends on my health and not whether I appreciate the sentiments or not -- when an official puts on a show, it has basically nothing to do with sentiments!

And then there are laying the foundation and cutting the ribbon.  These are the favorite shows of the political animals.  Why?  First, they are easy to do.  The foundation stone is ready, with sand on the side.  Amidst the warm applause, the show star uses the iron shovel two to three times to move sand into the pit and it is done with after the rustling sounds.  As for the ribbon cutting, a row of orderly and smiling warlords squeeze their hands and the red ribbons fall down amidst the applause.  Second, after the ceremonies, the red envelopes change hands.  The red envelopes can be big or small, but it will not be less than 200 RMB.  It is easy and practical, so why not?  But in order to participate in this show, it is necessary to organize and coordinate the leaders, sister units and media to take part.  This expends a lot of social resources.  The various arrangements require a lot of thought and the various expenses are shocking.  His grandma!  They keep saying that they don't have money to assist the poor or pay the teachers, but isn't this money?

20.  Evaluation

Evaluation is the assessment of job performance.  The organizational evaluation is the most hilarious.  Since this is an evaluation, there has to be a standard.  The important thing is that the organizational evaluation has no standards.  Of course, there is an evaluation program and it specifies that the content of the evaluation is about virtue, ability, diligence and achievements.  But what is virtue?  What is ability?  What is diligence?  What are achievements?  This is too vague.

The evaluation is conducted this way.  Step one is self-evaluation.  On the basis of virtue, ability, diligence and achievements, you give an assessment of your own work during the past  year.  Basically, you are talking about yourself and it is meaningless.  Step two is mutual evaluation, based upon excellence, competence, basic competence or incompetence for each colleague.  Unless you have seriously offended a colleague, they will all give you a "competence rating."  If you are really well-liked, you will get a few excellent votes.  It is unlikely that you will get all excellent votes.  Step three is about small circle voting, announcing and tallying under the control of the leader.  Of course, this may be done openly at some units.  It depends on how the leader manages it.  This step is the most mysterious one.  Step four is the leader decide who gets the limited number of excellent ratings.  This is the key step.  What is the point of the voting in step three?  To offer some ideas to the leader.  Whoever the leader says is excellent will be excellent, and this is centralization built upon the foundation of democracy.  As the saying goes, "If you are said to be good, then you are good even though you are bad; if you are said to be bad, then you are bad even though you are good."

The more you do, the more mistakes you make.  It has always been like this.  If you don't do anything, you won't make any mistakes and you won't offend any colleagues.  Therefore, we can see that the results of the evaluation is that people who work hard get fewer excellent votes and nice people who do nothing can get excellent votes by being friendly.  The most common opinion of organization cadres about evaluations: it is meaningless.

21.  Women in politics

A woman can be a minor public servant in the organization, but she better not want to enter politics, especially if she is a pretty woman.  The essence of politics is to get close to the leaders so that they can remember you, mention you and elevate you.  When a woman gets close to the leader, what does that mean?  When a woman is pretty, even if she does not get near the leader, everybody already thinks you-know-what.  If she gets close to the leader, she would be drowned by the saliva.  Even if she gets promoted, her reputation would be ruined.  I have already seen two excellent women who were drowned to "death" because they entered politics and got too close to the leader.  One of them used to be an excellent middle-school teacher, who has exceptional qualities and business management skills.  Her husband was also a senior teacher and her child was in a good school.  Everything was going great.  When Number One arrived, he liked her and transferred her to become the county committee office director and this woman kept rising through the support of Number One.  She is now the chairman of the Political Consultative Committee.  But her husband has left her because he could not stand the gossiping and her son does not understand her.  So the family is torn asunder.  She lives now in the shadow of finger pointing and has lost her happiness.  The other one was even worse to talk about.  She was talented, she had the looks and she was young.  When Number One saw the file, he exclaimed, "What a talent!  What a talent!" and immediately transferred her from the school to his side.  So she is now a minor official.  But so what?  Whenever her name is mentioned, the locals know and they shake their heads.

22.  Transformation

Power can transform people.  Previously, I mentioned Ms. Sun who was promoted by the boss to become the county committee office director.  She used to be kind-hearted and gentle.  As soon as she became an official, she lost her original personality of a refined and model teacher.  She became an arrogant and ruthless person who puts on a lot of airs.  I once accompanied the unit deputy director to her office to hand in material and make a report.  When we walked in, she spoke out of her nose, "What's the matter?"  She did not shake hands, she did ask us to sit and we could not possibly expect an offer of water.  While deputy director Wang was making his report, I was ill at ease and I ended up looking at the ceiling.  One time, Director Sun went down to a village for an investigation.  During the trip, it began to rain.  When the vehicle arrived at the town government building, all the town government officials came out to greet her.  A female office worker opened the car door for Ms. Sun and held up an umbrella for the lady.  But Ms. Sun got out of the car, ignored the umbrella-holder and started to walk quickly ahead.  The female office worker said, "Director Sun, let me hold the umbrella for you!"  She followed quickly, but Ms. Sun lost her patience and said, "Who wants you to hold an umbrella?"  She gave the female officer worker a shove, and the latter was so surprised and embarrassed that she fell on the ground and began crying from the insult and shock.  But that was nothing.  A strange incident occurred and enhanced people's impression of the arrogant nature of Ms. Sun.  One time, the traffic police department began a crackdown on illegal parking with good effect in terms of clearing out the roads.  One day, traffic police officer Huang was on duty.  Huang was afraid of nobody and he was unfortunate enough to find a small vehicle illegally parked on the side of a major street.  As he walked up to do his job, another officer told that this was the car of county director Sun.  Comrade Huang said, "Who cares?  We are taking it into custody."  So the car was towed away.  But this was offending an important person!  When Ms. Sun learned what had happened, she raged and ordered the traffic police department to bring the car back.  That was easy to do, and the traffic department apologized and returned the car.  But Ms. Sun issued an absurd order to demand that traffic officer Huang must be transferred out of the department -- the whole world knows that the traffic police department is a good department, so the request was put aside.  Ms. Sun got angrier and did everything within her power to apply pressure until Comrade Huang was finally transferred away.  This incident created a bad impression among the people, and the cadres received a lesson about which is most potent: power or law.

23. Inspection tours

There are two types of inspections that are worth mentioning: one is cadre inspection and the other is work inspection.

Let us talk about cadre inspection first.  This is done by the organizational department.  On the surface, this means understanding the work of the party cadres and then reflecting the actual conditions to the leader so that the leaders can select the best cadres.  Actually, this is bullshit.  The leader never has to go through the organizational department to select people.  When he wants someone, he has already fixed it at the mahjong table or in a dark room.  So why is it necessary to conduct cadre inspection?  It is impossible not to do so, because when a leader wants to use a cadre, he must go through the path of organizational decision to show that the goal of the organization is being realized.  This is commonly known as putting on a show.  For example, a man named Li may follow the Party closely and keep the local Number One very happy.  So Number One observes the hard work done by Li and looks at him with great expectations, "A comrade like you should move along to undergo a greater test."  So the organizational department receives the message and proceeds to Li's department for cadre inspection.  In form, everyone is invited to speak to the workers from the organizational department about the work situations of the cadres at the unit.  They even ask for recommendations on any good comrades.  They will take serious notes and they will look especially sincere as if the organizations really trusts you!  The organization even consults you about these matters.  Then, they go and see the unit leader to exchange ideas behind closed doors in secrecy.  The things about cadre inspection is that this is usually very mysterious.  When the inspection is done, it is done just like that.  Most of the ordinary cadres have no idea what is happening.  Later, they get the roadside news that Li is about to be honorably transferred or promoted.  Then the roadside news is confirmed by a document.  Only then will the people understand why the inspecting comrade asked the strange question: How is Li's performance?

The second type of inspection is work inspection.  That means going outside to learn from prior experience.  This type of inspection is usually for a good reason.  For example, the local industry is not doing well and the leader in charge of industry will go to inspect the work at the more developed areas.  If the local education is not doing well, the leader in charge of education will go to inspect the work at areas with strong education development.  There are inspections in which people are really going out to learn from prior experience, but many of the inspections are "hanging out a goat's head to sell dog meat."  It may be an inspection but it is really a leisure tour.  When the former local Number Two (administrative head) came back from an inspection tour, his expense report was funny.  There was a white paper receipt for compensation for running over a water buffalo.  Actually, it was for hiring prostitutes.  In recent years, the financial matters are more standardized and there are fewer instances of using white paper receipts.  But the reporting of wasted money during outside trips has also become more advanced with time.  They now use receipts from regular companies with names and addresses.  Each department has its own reasons for making inspection tours.  Some are mainly for learning and secondarily for leisure.  Some are mainly for leisure and secondarily for learning.  Some are leisure inside and learning outside.  There are different kinds of situations, but the common thing is that they go where the scenery is good.  The Finance Department is responsible for checking the financial matters and so they must be aware of these things, but they keep their eyes shut.  Of course, they are also department that has the most number of such learning programs. 

24.  Reporting expenses

There are many ways to report expenses.  One way is to do it honestly, when you report whatever you spend without one extra cent in the invoice.  Honest people do honest things, and that is what a minor public servant does.  The second way is to inflate the numbers in the expense report.  That activity took place, but the amount spent was inflated.  This sort of thing happens not just within the organization, but also everywhere in China.  A certain office director arranged for the typing and copying of documents to be done at a certain place.  After a year, there was more than 100,000 RMB in expenditure but about 30% to 40% was padded.  This is the professional rule of conduct, because the shop's boss will kick back the money.  The third way is to report the same expense on multiple occasions.  A certain town mayor told me this true event.  One subordinate of his bought an office supply item and periodically files an expense report for a total of four times.  The town mayor was quite patient and he just signed the report with a smile.  On the fifth time, the mayor could no longer hold back and he said with a smile: "So-and-so, can you please try to come up with something new?  This is the fifth time already."  The subordinate was laughing drily in embarrassment.  The fourth way is to fake an expense activity altogether.  The previous example of "running over a water buffalo" is a classical example.  Fuck, this reason is too far-stretched and feeble, and good for a laugh.  When the leader spends that kind of money, he is not going to file a report himself.  It is usually the driver, who is smart to call the leader of a certain department to say, "This is an invoice from our boss.  Can you take care of it?"  The department leader understands, closes his eyes, and signs to approve.  Then he finds a trusted aide as the person responsible and someone else as the witness.  Okay, the invoice is now worth money.

25. Auditing

The central government auditing has some use and Li Jinhua is famous.  When he makes a speech, everybody is afraid.  Actually, this is not because of Li Jinhua but because of Premier Wen Jiabao.  But when it comes to the local level, the auditing is fucking useless.  After all, the auditing department is another government office and they must eat from the same government pot.  If they keep opening up the lids, then they don't want to eat themselves?  All the problems of the departments are ultimately the problems of the government.  When a certain department is audited, the local Number One has to assess whether there is real damage.  It is one thing to reveal a small scar and rap a department head, but which department can really withstand a genuine audit?  For example, the labor protection department, social security, medical insurance and other financial resources are bound to contain problems that the auditing department will find.  Which capital item in agriculture, forestry, education, transportation, planning, urban construction and poor assistance can withstand a rigorous audit?  How can the auditing department people give other departments of the same level a hard time?  Unless the local Number One supports the audit, how can it conducted smoothly?  Unless the local Number One is out of his mind, why would he expose his own failures?  Therefore, the various departments are somewhat afraid of the auditing department, but they are not scared to death.  So they will treat the auditors like gods; but if there is a real problem, they will ask the leader to come out and turn big things into small things and small things into nothing.  So there goes the "model reform."  Of course, when there is a real big problem that affects the next level up and the media have exposed it, then things cannot be halted.  You are just unlucky.  When the higher-level auditing department takes over, then it is not longer up to you.

26. Checks and balance

The departmentalization of political power is a unique Chinese characteristic.  Ordinarily speaking, the power of the government was given by the people and then the power of the departments was entrusted to them by the government.  Thus, the power of the departments was given by the people, and they should serve the people.  But which department ever thought and did that?  No one.  The Financial Department is in charge of managing finances and they think that the money is theirs, especially the division heads who think that the money is theirs personally: "If you are good to me, I'll give you more; if you are not good to me, I'll give you less."  They can do anything that they want.  But they have not thought that the use of this power should have been done from the viewpoint of helping the masses manage the money.  Instead, it is based upon a filthy notion of "the right not to spend" and "void if unused by date of expiration."  If they block it, they will block it; if they can stop it, they will stop it.  At the same time, the education department believes that the schools are theirs and therefore they set the passing mark very high.  If you cannot make it, you pay up at 200 RMB per point.  Whether or not you want to study is your choice.  The tax department has also personalized the power to collect taxes.  If you get along with someone, you make them pay less; actually, it does not matter even if they pay nothing.  If you don't know them, then it better not be one cent less.  The amount that you collect will depend on the exact situation.  As for the warlords at planning, transportation, agriculture, urban construction and municipal administration, they all follow the policy of departmentalizing the power of the administration and the privatization of the departmental powers.

Under these circumstances, one can see an interesting phenomenon of checks and balances.  The organizational department manages people, they evaluate the cadres, they control the comings and goings of all the cadres and so their power is quite strong.  Therefore, the finance department never withholds money to the organizational department.  All they have to do is submit a report and it will be granted.  The organizational department are also polite towards the cadres in the financial department because they are brothers.  The schools may be tough, but they would not dare offend the people in the financial and taxation departments or else they can expect trouble.  Three years ago, a county middle-school principal thought that he was tough stuff and ignored the fact that a division head in the financial department wanted his son to get a better seat.  At the end of the year, when the school financial people went on business to the financial department, they found that the money that was due to them was blocked.  Also, there are all sorts of gray income at the divisions of the financial department.  If there were a real audit, or if the procuratorate were to poke around, there was bound to be problems.  So why is it that this type of thing has never happened?  You have your power and I have got my power.  Let us play checks and balances.  Hmmmm.

27.  Visits

Each Chinese New Year, it is necessary to do the rounds visiting people.  The organizational department goes to visit those cadres and workers who are hospitalized or in hardship.  The county deputy secretary in charge of organizational administration, the county deputy secretary in charge of personnel, the organizational department director, the personnel department director and the office workers enter the hospital and shake hands with the hospitalized cadres at their sick beds.  They issue red envelops containing 50 to 100 RMB and ask about their health.  Anyway, this is all for show as if all this is real.  After the visit, the leaders would receive red envelopes from the sponsoring department, but these envelopes are different from those envelopes because they contain at least 400 RMB.  As for the source of the money, all of that goes onto the bills of the hospitalized cadres.  Apart from the organizational personnel department, the civil administration, the health department and the education department each have their own visits that operate on the same basis.

Apart from these types of visits, there are also visits involving visiting relatives.  This involves visiting a similar department in a sister county or city in order to "enhance relationships."  It is actually an opportunity for a group of people to go to eat and drink, they stay for the night, they sing and dance, they get feet massages, and they have any number of other fun things.  They exchange special local products, everybody gets something and everybody is happy.  This is public funding anyway, so it is your fault if you don't spend it.  You spend all the unit's money and then next year you can cry poverty to the finance department and ask the price control bureau for new fee charging policies.

28. Subsidies

The little crawling political worm does not earn high wages, especially the little crawling worms at the bottom rung who make minute wages.  To tell the truth, when I finally left this team, I was making just over 600 RMB per month.  The local Number One did not make much, just over 1,000 RMB which is the level for a Shenzhen worker.  There is nothing to be acclaimed in the low wages, so why do so many people still want to join?  The reasons are basically these: First, this is nevertheless a public servant position, which has stability and respect.  Two, even a little crawling worm can get things done easier than a regular citizen.  Three, if you make it to a middle crawling worm or a big crawling worm, your political future is unlimited.  People will automatically offer you RMB, Hong Kong dollars and American dollars.  You get food and drink, you look down on people, you snort at people and you can take personal revenge.  Isn't that great?  Four, gray income, of which there are so many kinds.  Fifth, other reasons.

Speaking of gray income, I should talk about subsidies first.  If the wages are too low, it does not matter.  You can get subsidies.  If the unit leader has the courage, you can get a bonus on any festivity that has a name (such as March 8th Women's Day, for both men and women).  For anything trivial, such as not doing working during the day and then working overtime at night, you can get something.  Everybody gets subsidies for going to the countryside, regardless of whether you actually went there.  Special subsidies are given when policies are implemented.  When a leadership group is formed, everybody from the group leader, the deputy leader down to the members receive subsidies.  It is no big deal to give out subsidies, but the key is not to omit the name of the leader or else he will be very angry and there can be serious consequences because nobody will accept the responsibility!  Of course, you must have good relationships with the people in the god-like disciplinary, finance and auditing departments.  If possible, you try your best to put the names of the leadership group and its members alongside the people of these departments and then you issue the subsidies.  The usual rule is that as long as the accounts are kept correctly and the leaders take part, it would make no difference if the auditors complain.  Is he going to make the leader look bad?  Subsidies cannot be issued randomly, because there are restrictions under all sorts of rules and regulations.  But you can ignore the rules and regulations as long as you grasp the key points and then you can issue whatever you like.  Of course, if there are problems such as unharmonious relationships with the finance department or if you don't want to share the joy with the leaders, then you better not issue them without cause because you will get into trouble sooner or later.

Here is an actual example.  On a certain day, I took a briefcase stuffed with RMB and a subsidy form to visit a sister unit.  My task was to swap the RMB for signatures of the people on the list.  The reason for the subsidies was that several departments collaborated on a project and we all lost a few pounds in weight for working so hard during the process.  That was why it was necessary to issue some nutritional fees as compensation.  The county leader was especially great in making decisions and plans, and so he must get a subsidy.  So I went into the office of the leader of this sister unit.  This leader is my teacher's friend and he asked me to sit down.  I closed the door and I smiled and said: "Leader, you worked hard!  Here is a small sum for which I need an inked signature from you.  Please accept this with a smile."  The leader smiled, signed and accepted the money.  "Thanks!  I have taken care of the matter of your cousin.  There should not be any problems."  I put out my hand and shook his to say thanks.  I said that my cousin will treat him the next time, for its was about time that the bookworm got to meet the leader.  We said goodbye.  Afterwards, I went to the office of the deputy leader of that sister unit.  In the same manner, I exchanged the money for a signature.  Afterwards, the guy picked up the booklet and then said something that was utterly shameless: "Hey, you worked hard by coming here in person to distribute the subsidies!  But I just have this feeling that there was one payment missing.  Can you check it for me, okay?"  A sense of disgust rushed up from inside me.  Son of a bitch!  He did not do anything but he remembered the subsidies!  I promised that I would go back and check.  When I stepped out of the office, I saw the county administrator secretary Qian and I wanted to issue a subsidy to him as well.  So I asked him to step aside, made sure that there was nobody else around and I told him that I wanted to give him a little something, not from me but from the unit.  When Qian heard that, he immediately reacted, "I don't want it, I don't want it" and then he left without hesitation.  At the time, I was touched for a few moments.  Later, our unit leader took the subsidy over himself and Qian acted polite at first but then accepted it.  His grandma!  He put on a show for this young person that he did not want the subsidy.  If he really did not want it, he should not taken it from anyone!

When I arrived at the government office building, I saw the deputy county mayor in the corridor.  I gave him the letter and this guy said a couple of polite words and then accepted it, saying with a smile: "But there is no next time, no next time!"  Hmm, it is a rare leader who doesn't put on an act!

29.  Petitioning

Petitioning is a unique scenic line in china.  These days, the people petition more and more frequently in larger and larger scale.  They are causing headaches for the targeted officials.  Why are the people so earnest about petitioning?  In theory, the more educated people become, the stronger there is a sense of law and so they would go to the courts to defend their own interests.  So why don't they?  Yours truly have thought about this problem for some time and my conclusion is as follows: in recent years, the people feel stronger about defending their rights and they do that for many things.  But they discover that the most effective method is not to go to court but to the organization.  The courts are useless.  A verdict may not be implemented and so the court fees are better spent on drinking liquor and then we can go to the organization.  The organization is our true friend!  The people all know about the politics.  They don't go to the government, but they go directly to the party committee; they don't go to the deputy, they go to the top guy; they don't go to the mayor, they go to the party secretary; they only care that they don't have enough numbers or make enough noise.  The IQ of the masses is really high!  They know that kids who cry get milk while the kids who keep quiet get to stand on the side.  They know that loud quarrels give big solutions, small quarrels give small solutions and no quarrels give no solution.  Unless it is turned into something big, the problem will not be solved.  The reason is simple: the eyes of the little crawling political worms look upwards and not downwards.  When the leader's office does not have air conditioning, this is big deal and a smart subordinate would bring out a proposal to quickly solve the problem.  The comfort of the leader is my comfort!  When the people live in dilapidated houses, that is a minor problem.  They have always lived that way without any problems, so what the fuck is this to me?  My monthly wages appear on time from the Finance Department, so why should I care about so many things?  It is easier to have one less worry than one more worry.  This is called systematic open-eyed blindness.

Therefore, when the people petition, they are actually coming to heal a disease.  Who is being treated?  The many little crawling political warms who are blind with eyes open.  The people go to the party committee instead of the courts because unless the eyes of the party committee are healed, the eyes of the courts definitely cannot get better.  The party leads everyone!

One day, I went passed the county committee office.  There were many people amassed in the courtyard as if this was a marketplace.  I knew for sure that the eye doctors have gathered together to offer services for the party committee leaders.  Number One was always so sharp, and he has heard the news and gone into hiding.  Number Two and Number Three were not vegetarians either, and they knew to avoid the present mess (in officialese, this is called cold management).  When the doctors cannot find the principals, they started yelling and surrounded the office compound as they awaited business to show up.  This is known as: guarding the tree to wait for the rabbit to show up.  After half a day, business finally appeared in the form of a dumb deputy secretary named Jin.  The man had just returned from the countryside and he did not hear the news.  As soon as his car arrived at the county committee office, he was surrounded by the doctors.  They opened the car door and dragged secretary Jin out.  One big guy dragged his tie and then loudly read out the medical diagnosis report that they brought along.  The doctors added their voice as the chants grew louder.  Secretary Jin was turning pale and sweating.  All his normal majesty vanished and words tumbled out of his mouth in an incoherent fashion, as if to say: "Calm down!  Calm down!  Let's talk!  Let's talk!"  I was very pleased inside.  Fuck his grandmother, this dog Jin was cold in manners to people and used the public office for private gain.  He deserved to be treated like this today.  Dear doctors, please work hard to heal this idiot's disease!

30.  Talking Back

You must listen to what the leader say, but you shouldn't listen to everything.  If you have to talk back, you must talk back.  Why?  Because our excellent Chinese tradition requires us to pick the soft peaches to squeeze.  If you are a nice "yes" man all the time, the leader will only come to you with the problems that drive your crazy.  If there is something nice, those smart alecks would have learned about it first and gotten the assignment before  you.  For example, honest people who work hard all the time will not be considered for travel assignments -- you have great responsibilities and we cannot do without you for even one single day!  We will consider you when there is time, but the problem is when will there ever be time and when will the work ever be done?  That is a joke.

The good thing about talking back is: You let the leader value you.  First, he knows that you usually don't say anything not because you have nothing to say but because you have good self-restraint;  second, you let the colleagues know that you are not easy to bully because you even dare to talk back to the leader; third, you don't lose any respect by fighting for the right interests.

The things to notice when you talk back: the viewpoints must be clear and unambiguous; the voice must not be raised; there must be logic and facts; everything must be appropriately positioned.

The typical phrases used when you talk back: (1) Dear leader, may I say a few words? (fight for your right of speech).  (2) My personal view is that this is not very fair to me. ("hiding a needle in the bale of cotton") (3) It does not matter if I am disadvantaged personally, but this is not good for work, unity or morale in the long run. (noting the big picture).  (4) I am a straightforward person who says what I want to say.  I accept any criticisms for anything inappropriate in what I just said. (not committing oneself in full).  (5) I have said what I have to say.  The leader will decide whether to accept this or not.  I express my personal opinion and I accept the decision of the organization.  (I want to say this because I am afraid that I would be disadvantaged if I didn't).  (6)  I am emotionally distraught these days, so I want to take a rest ...

31.  Talking back (continued)

This was in the autumn of some year when we developed training with a sister unit.  This sister unit has an old lady who was serious and demanding with respect to her work.  She had a bad temper and she controlled her workers tightly.  A friend at that unit told me that they didn't dare to leave one minute earlier at work.  While that was normal, she also had the tendency (possibly due to menopausal problems) of assigning work ten minutes before people were supposed to get off work.  Since she worked hard and would not leave even after hours, her subordinates  were usually forced to work extra hours even during lunch breaks and they dared not complain.  On the first day of training, this old lady started working the little guys hard again.  I was one of the little guys.  When I saw that it was time to get off work, I got up and told the others, "Are you leaving?  I am leaving now!"  But the menopausal old lady said, "Hey, how can you leave?  I haven't left yet, so how dare you leave?"  She raised her eyebrows and yelled, "So-and-so, you stand still!  The job is not finished yet, so you can't leave!  How can your unit be so undisciplined?"  When I heard that, I raised my voice into a roar: "I am not working.  What are you going to do about it?  Past these eight hours, how can you control me?  Sick!"  I turned and I left without looking back.

The result of my talking back: Every time that she saw me, she was polite; she reflected what happened to our leaders, and my colleagues were astonished with admiration.