The Stream

China’s official “double-speak” spurs internet memes

“Vacation-style treatment” becomes the latest meme in China after a crime-fighting government official’s suspected defection attempt.


Wang Lijun, Chief of Chongqing Public Security Bureau, attends a meeting during the annual National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People on March 6, 2011 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Chinese authorities say they are investigating Chongqing deputy mayor and former police chief Wang Lijun following speculation that he had attempted to defect.

Earlier this week, Wang was reportedly taking a “vacation-style treatment” due to “long-term overwork” and stress, according to a Sina Weibo post from the Chongqing government’s official account.

The U.S. State Department confirmed on Thursday that Wang had gone to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. Wang is a former top-ranked police chief and a long-term ally of Chonqing’s powerful Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai.

The story has captured nationwide attention quickly. A Sina Weibo post related to Wang’s attempted defection attracted more than 14,000 comments and was re-posted more than 44,000 times within two hours, turning the phrase “vacation-style treatment” into a new internet meme. Many netizens created parodies of the phrase to criticise what they see as abuses of power and government corruption.

These are some of the social media elements featured in this episode of The Stream: