George Ding at ChinaGeeks has a funny post here about new memes on the Chinese internet. His examples both come from Wang Yongping, a Railway Ministry spokesman whose ludicrous answers following the Wenzhou crash have earned him the derision of millions. His most famous line followed a question asking why the government literally buried several of the crashed cars before thoroughly checking them for survivors. After detailing the long and nonsensical excuse provided by a Ministry chief, he concludes his answer with:
“Right now, this is his explanation. Whether or not you believe it; either way, I believe it.”
It’s a thing of beauty, a self-satisfied bureaucrat nodding to himself while openly giving the game away. That’s the whole point of having ministry of _____ spokespeople here, to lend authority to whatever ridiculous line the government is selling today. If you call it into doubt and make it clear that the explanation is still up for debate, you might as well get off the podium.
As Ding says:
These cultural memes show that although the government is monitoring the Internet more and more carefully—blocking websites, deleting posts and reposts—they cannot stop their infamies from seeping into the culture itself. Perhaps the only way citizens can remind themselves of the tragedies that are whitewashed, rewritten, or otherwise brushed aside, is to make them a part of the underground lexicon.
Shortly after the accident, a user on Tencent’s microblogging service started a “High-speed Rail Style Sentence Making Competition,” which challenged users to make sentences using Wang’s, “Regarding ___, whether or not you believe it; either way, I believe it.” Though I cannot locate the thread (it may have been harmonized), the competition had over 7,000 replies by the evening of the 27th.