If I were to give a joke of the year award, it definitely would go to the debut of Bureau of Corruption Prevention of PRC. It is even funnier to know that within one day after its website went online, it almost had to shut down because of the ridiculously high volume of visit and emails. I wonder what’s the percentage of the people who were really visiting the site seriously. For me, I visited the website for some pure holiday humor and fun. But deep down, I have to admit that I wished that most of the people visiting the website were serious, and optimistic about the future of anti-corruption, because nothing is more ironic than seeing people taking a cure-all pill for their cancer but in fact it is nothing but a pill of multi-vitamin. Yes, what an evil thought of mine. Santa should have revoked my gifts.
Now, seriously, why do I think the bureau is a joke? Because there is no way that it can work! When was the last time in history that a system successfully dealt with its corruption problem without any outside pressure such as an independant media, legal system, or opposition parties? How do you expect the bureau to work when journalists and lawyers are putting in jail for simply doing their job? Stealing money from the people is considered corruption, while depriving people of their freedom and basic human rights is not?
Some people (although I have personally met none) are optimistic about this anti-corruption action taken by the government. But they have to understand that the bureau, to the best, can only deal with low level corruption on the face. It can never solve the root of the problem. It is after all, merely one of the agencies in the corrupted system. A woman can publicly claim that she gave a blow job to the US president in the white house; she can sue the guy; the court can subpoena the guy, and he has to explain all the lies he gave to the public. During the whole process, the plaintiff or the journalists reporting the story did not spend a single day in jail. What if a woman claims that she gave a blow job to the Chinese leader? I seriously doubt the anti-corruption bureau, the court, or the media would step in at all. And I can pretty much bet where she would end up: jail or mental health facility.
Some people have a “powerful” counter argument. They would always point at the skylines of Shanghai or Beijing: “Look at it! We are changing for good, and really fast! So you dissenters should shut up!” They miss a simple logic: just because you get something good doesn’t mean that you are not entitled to something better. Only a slave would always be thankful for whatever his master gives him and asks no more; a free citizen should always be demanding toward her government.
The debut of a good-for-nothing bureau clearly doesn’t meet the minimum demand of many people. On the contrary, it is an insult to those who gave up their liberty or even life for the change of China. Among all the new things in China in 2007, this new born bureau is definitely entitled to the joke of the year award.