12 Nov 2012

Tears and breathless emotion at the Chinese congress

The 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress has moved some delegates to tears.

No, not tears of boredom as they sit through the nth speech about how outgoing President Hu Jintao’s theory of scientific development is bringing harmony and happiness across the land. They have been simply overcome by emotion.

According to the South China Morning Post, one delegate said she cried five times while listening to Hu’s speech. When another tried to read out his poem entitled “Getting New Hope” he broke down, sobbing: “I found… I found new hope on 8 November when I heard applause as loud as a thunderstorm when President Hu was delivering his report. I have finally found new hope in his 64-page report.”

64 pages, blimey.

It was only 46 in English translation. And in the spirit of true confession, I have to say that I erroneously reported on the day it was delievered that it lasted 93 minutes whereas I now learn it lasted 101 minutes. (I’m not sure what happened to me during the missing 8 minutes – maybe I was transported to another planet.)

Delegates applaud as China's President Hu bows after speech at opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingWhen the delegates have got over blubbing, they can celebrate their good fortune – at least the men anyway. “The wives of party members are prettier than those of non-party members,” said a businessman delegate, Liang Wen Gen. He thought this was because party members were more focused on their goals – whatever they may be.

One despairing observer wrote on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. “This is the proof of how urgently we need reform.” The delegates, he said, were turning the Chinese Communist Party into a joke.

Even some leaders are losing patience. One delegate got up at the Guangdong provincial meeting and started to babble about how her heart was palpitating with excitement. The provincial party boss, Wang Yang, cut into her breathless speech. “Maybe you had better sit down,” he said.

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