AN ODE TO BIG BROTHER

Pu Liye (蒲立业), the deputy editor at the Xinhua News Agency news desk who penned a poem to honour today’s visit to Xinhua by President Xi Jinping.

Earlier today, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a formal visit to the official Xinhua News Agency, an event that will probably, in the coming days and weeks, shed further light on media policy at the very top in China.

So far, state media have not revealed the content of Xi’s remarks during the visit. But it is possible that this visit — like that made to the People’s Daily by his predecessor, Hu Jintao, in June 2008 — will provide a more comprehensive expression of current media policy.

For the moment, we must settle for a brief news release on the visit. Just a few lines long, this story reveals how one Xinhua editor acquainted Xi Jinping with the agency’s ‘News Scene’ (现场新闻) app. Xi reportedly responded by clicking into the special page on the app devoted to his visit, which was called, “Liking News Workers Across the Country” — “like” used here in the Facebook sense. The president liked the page himself, after which the screen immediately showed “Like +1.” And the editorial staff on hand said to the general secretary: Your encouragement is our motivating force.

That sounds like a setup. Of course it was. And of course that was the point.

But while we wait for a full-text or summary version of Xi Jinping’s speech to emerge, we can luxuriate in a poem written for the occasion of Xi’s visit by Pu Liye (蒲立业), a deputy editor at the news desk who used to work on the agency’s Internal Reference Desk.

This steaming heap of sycophancy has already — in a matter of just hours — become a classic on social media platforms like WeChat. Pu, who writes under the pen name Pu Zhuozi (朴拙子), is inspiring tears of laughter and ridicule.

I’ll begin with translation and leave the rest of Pu’s pulsating language to your imagination.


General Secretary, My Eyes Follow in Your Wake

By Pu Zhuozi / February 19, 2016

此刻,雷鸣般的掌声

On this occasion, the thunderous applause

正淹没宣武门如潮的车辆

Drowns out the traffic along Xuanwumen.

今天,我们终于零距离

Today, the distance is finally closed,

听您大哥般语重心长

We listen to Big Brother’s earnest words and wishes.

您微笑拱手:祝大家

You smile and cup your hands in greeting: “I wish you all

新春快乐,猴年吉祥

A happy New Year, and felicitations for the Year of the Monkey!”

总书记,您的背影我的目光

General Secretary, my eyes follow in your wake

我的目光催生这首诗

And in these eyes, my verse takes shape.

我的手指正让手机滚烫

My mobile grows hot as my fingers write.

这首诗我酝酿了很久

But for so long this poem has been brewing.

快要刮肚搜肠

It gnashes at my guts.

它拥堵我的血管与神经

It clinches my veins and nerves.

它起伏在黄河长江

It pitches on the Yellow River and the Yangtze.

它奔跑在万里长城

It runs along the Great Wall.

它伴随一带一路的驼铃

It joins the camel bells of the One Belt One Road,

以及巨轮高铁暖风浩荡

And the mighty wind of the high-speed rail.

嘿嘿,此刻并没有

我写诗熟悉的星夜

就见大厦内外,满目光亮

可诗句环跳在我任督二脉上

总书记,你的背影我的目光

今天有大片向您问好声

今天有诗撕开我的胸腔

总书记,您的背影我的目光

您步履矫健昂首向前

我们会继续声音高亢

疾走在小康征程

越来越接近那个梦想

沿途也会有困扰和阴影

淡定,如同这个中午

雾霾挡不住天清气朗

总书记,您的背影我的目光

我和众多新华人崇敬的目光

蒲作于2月19日中午

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