Chinese officials have no respect for truth and would massage the statistics or any other information to make things look better. Normally their trickery isn’t obvious to ordinary people. However things were different when they try to trick people with a ridiculously photoshoped image.
There was a joke about Boris Yeltsin, late president of Russia: To increase his ever declining popularity, Yeltsin decides to use a top secret Russian technology which enables a man to walk on the water. He selects a lake in Moscow and in front of a large crowd, starts to walk on the water. A man from the crowd shouts after the initial shock and reflects the feeling of the crowd: “Look, our president even cannot swim!”
When I saw the floating Chines officers of Huili, I remembered this joke. They can float on the road but people prefer to make fun of them ? You may not know the story: Everything started with a bored Chinese citizen who decided to visit a web site no one typically visits, his city’s official web site. There he sees this shocking photo: His high profile officers are floating on the road! I have a word to these Chinese officers from here, I understand you want look like you are doing something to deserve your salary and other typical officer cash flows, but why can’t you make a professional prepare the photo instead of your neighbour’s computer geek kid? This is one of the worst Photoshop jobs in the history of the internet!
The officers later try to explain that they actually had gone there but because the original photos were bad they decided to put this photo on the net. But they could not escape from the humiliation that followed, and the barrage of photos showing them landing on the moon or inspecting the dinosaurs or other ridiculous setups.
Unfortunately reflecting an illusion to hide the reality behind is very common in Chinese management culture, in both the public and the private sector. Remember the endless food scandals, accounting magic by Chinese firms, massive sales fraud in Alibaba, etc. In our age, all the hope of the West is tied to this country whose only real magic (!) is to convert its underutilized villagers to cheap labour. And after destroying billions in revenue-less dot coms and never-paid-back mortgages, the gold men of Wall Street are now pouring the money (printed to rescue them) into the East and commodities because they think China will continue to grow forever. With the scandals following each other, they may start to have sleepless nights now. Or maybe we’re too naïve. They are probably sleeping like babies since they’ll get commissions and bonuses and jet off on vactions while the United Banana Republics of America tax payers will shoulder the losses if the Chinese bubble explodes.
This article is originally published at Asia Singapore Blog.