Monday, 3 January 2011

Manufacturing Praise

President Hu Jintao talking to "low-income" families in Beijing

On December 30, Chinese President Hu Jintao did a humble thing and went to visit some low-income families in Beijing to wish them a Happy New Year.

This was because housing problems was "a great matter weighing on the President's heart".

Of course the whole event was covered by CCTV and the video clip is here complete with subtitles.

Hu went to visit a compound called Lijingyuan (丽景园) and went to see a low-income family that had a woman named Guo Chunping (郭春平) and her daughter.

The following is the exchange between Guo and Hu:

Hu: When did you move in?
Guo: I've moved in over half a month now.
Hu: Oh, half a month, I see. How big is this apartment?
Guo: It's 45 square metres in all.
Hu: 45, huh. Two rooms?
Guo: Yes, two rooms.
Hu: How much rent are you paying for this apartment?
Guo: I pay 77RMB ($11.68) each month.
Hu: 77RMB each month -- are you able to cope with the rent?
Guo: Yes. Secretary-General, I just wanted to say a big thank you to the party and the government. We are so touched to have been given this fabulous apartment to live in!
Hu: The party and the government are very concerned with the people's daily livelihoods. We've taken up a series of measures to further improve your daily lives. Well, we're so happy to see that your lives have been improved here!
Guo: Thank you! Thank you! Our country is really improving day by day. We never dreamed we would be living in such an apartment some day.

Only 77RMB to rent an apartment? Where can we get one of those?

Young people who are part of the "ant tribe" (蚁族) have to pay 200RMB ($30.44) for a bed in a cramped room shared by several other people, while those who are in the "rat tribe" (鼠族) live in underground rooms for 500RMB ($75.86) for 8 square metres.

Her answer infuriated viewers who immediately went to check out if rent at this Lijingyuan was indeed 77RMB per month, or to see if Guo was for real. For subsidized housing, Guo's family would have to have a total monthly income of 580RMB.

There are unconfirmed reports that Guo is actually a civil servant who works with the traffic police in Chaoyang District in Beijing. Neighbours at Lijingyuan say Guo doesn't live there, but actually rents it out. And the going rate for renting a place in that compound? Two thousand RMB ($303.44).

Sounds like Guo has come up with the new catchphrase of 77RMB, or how about her lavish praise on the government for giving her such a wonderful apartment to live in!

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