It’s eight years since a drunk driver on the Hebei University campus tried to evade arrest for killing a woman in an accident by shouting “Sue me if you dare, my dad is Li Gang”.
It didn’t take long for netizens to work out that the culprit was 22 year-old Li Qiming, the son of a senior local policeman.
His warning became an instant catchphrase, symbolising official corruption and privilege.
This month another meme was born: “What do you mean saying that about Secretary Yan’s daughter.”
The phrase was written by an angry mother after a kindergarten teacher in Guang’an in Sichuan accidentally posted criticism of a child to a class group chat.
The mother – either the wife or the ex-wife of the deputy Party secretary in the local municipality (there have been conflicting claims) – then announced to the group that she had spoken to the kindergarten’s bosses and that the teacher in question would be fired.
Images of the group chat were leaked online and the comments have triggered an investigation by the Commission for Discipline Inspection, despite denials from the official, Yan Chunfeng, that he is the husband of the woman concerned.
“Yan Chunfeng, deputy secretary of the Guang’an municipal Party committee, is suspected of serious violation of laws and regulations,” the investigation team said.
The nature of his wrongdoing is unclear but it could include lying to investigators when the kindergarten comments first came to light. Yan claimed he had divorced his wife five years ago and had nothing to do with his daughter’s education. But netizens discovered he had a three year-old son by the same woman and that he had visited the school only the week before.
His spouse’s comment also seems to have sparked a deeper investigation into his finances.
“Please let every official marry such a wife,” joked a person on Sina Weibo.
“Secretary Yan’s wife should be awarded the Model of Anti-Corruption prize,” quipped another.
The traditional media took a loftier view, reminding readers that President Xi Jinping was dedicated to the fight against corruption.
“In the internet age, it is the responsibility of the Party and government organs and leading cadres at all levels to actively respond to the concerns of netizens and dispel doubts for them,” wrote Sina News.
“The storm of public opinion has alarmed those leading cadres who are corrupt and do not discipline themselves and their families: if they are not loyal to the Party and to the law, punishment will come for sure,” warned the Beijing Daily.
“The failure of Yan Chunfeng is further evidence that urgent family-style construction and support needs to be carried out. If families have a good style of integrity and self-discipline… if they consciously build the anti-corruption firewall… this matter would have ended very differently,” the China Women’s News suggested.
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