Zhang Aihua, a Communist party leader in Taizhou City, appears not to have gotten the memo from Mao that “Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure.” Or, for that matter, the memos from the Chinese government about cracking down on excesses by local leaders. Zhang was enjoying a dinner fit for a worker-oppressing capitalist when suddenly the working class showed up uninvited. Worse yet, they brought cameras. Zhang was soon on a table, shown here, begging the common folk to let him go and apologizing for his excesses.
When the Chinese proletariat showed up Zhang was having a private party with tables stacked with rare Yangtze river fish like poisonous pufferfish, long-tailed anchovy and largehead hairtail as well as imported wine.
As the peasants stormed the banquet hall, Zhang was left looking like a Communist version of Marie Antoinette. He grabbed a bullhorn and began an immediate confession that seemed right out of a reeducation camp from the Cultural Revolution: “I was wrong tonight. Please forgive me. I’ll do anything if you let me go,” he pleaded, according to state media.
What is fascinating is that, while the Chinese still crackdown on independent journalists, they appear to be tolerating such citizen reporters with their cellphone . . . at least when it comes to showing violations of President Xi Jinping’s frugality and anti-corruption drive. It also shows the continuing power of China’s blog and social media sites — though the government continues to crackdown on these sites to impose government control.
As for Zhang, he may now find it easier to practice Mao’s lesson that “the principle of diligence and frugality should be observed in everything.” He was fired this week.