Announcer: Well folks, it’s that time again. “What time is that,” you ask? Well, my naive foreign friends, it’s time once again to play “What’s My Party Line?” Which – coincidentally – works for either our beloved CCP or a bunch of friends on a shaky 1950’s telephone connection. [chortle, chortle] Ahem.

Our contestants today include…

Ping! Born and raised in Beijing, Ping has recently returned from his first foray out of the Chinese wilderness. After a year of study at a British university who expressly demanded that we not use its name on the air – let’s just call it “Hame-bridge” – Ping has returned to China, fresh-faced, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and severely deprived of expensive, low-quality sidestreet showarma. Welcome, Ping!

Ping: Thank you, faceless announcer guy.

Announcer: You’re welcome! And to his right we have Mary-Sue Annabelle-Jo. Hailing all the way from the swamplands of eastern Louisiana, Mary-Sue is in China studying Mandarin at Peking University in a desperate attempt to not become her mother’s daughter just like her aunt. Welcome, Mary-Sue!

Mary-Sue Annabelle-Jo: Hey y’all!

Announcer: And finally, we have Monkey! Monkey? Ahem – yes, Monkey! Lovely name. May I call you by your Chinese name, Li Li?

Li Li: My English name Monkey! Very pretty! I like Monkey!

Announcer: Alright…Monkey. Monkey hails from Heilongjiang province and is in Beijing studying for her Graduate degree in English. Her dream is to teach Chinese to foreigners for two years, marry a rich laowai, have more than one child, and giggle a lot. Welcome…Monkey.

Monkey: Thanks much!

Announcer: Alright! Let’s play the game! For our first-time viewers who aren’t familiar, here’s how it goes. I’ll read out a party line produced by one of China’s most famed recent idealogues. All our contestants have to do, in the minute provided, is write down that line’s ideological purpose. Let’s get started. Our first line, from that hep cat himself – Mao Zedong – is… “To rebel is justified.” Go!

[one-minute clock ticking]


Announcer: Alright, time’s up. Let’s see what they’ve got. Ping?

Ping: “To rebel is justified,” is a slogan that Mao used to stir the Red Guard into taking action against authority figures in the late 1960s – authority figures which included parents, teachers, intellectuals, and artists, among others.

Announcer: I’m sorry, that’s incorrect.

Ping: What?! But…

Announcer: Hey Mary-Sue, what’ve you got?

Mary-Sue-Annabelle-Jo: Well, you see, Mao was inspired by the Confederate rise against the Union back in the 1860s and – seeing how it was the centennial anniversary of the independence of the southern United States – he, too, wanted to inspire his people to rise up and be patriotic against those godless liberal Yankees in the North!

Announcer: Ummm…no. Li-…er, Monkey?

Monkey: Rebellion! Rebellion!

Announcer: Good try. No. Actually the answer we were looking for was: Mao wanted some “me time” with his movie star wife and decided to send the disciples out on a wild goose chase so he could ditch. The kids really seemed to be into that new-fangled anti-intellectualist movement and it seemed like an easy out. We also would have accepted the lesser-known theory of the arrival of old James Dean movies onto China’s shores which inspired Mao into a state of rebel-rousing fury and utter cool. Sorry. No points awarded on that one.


Announcer: Well, thanks to everyone for playing. Join Ping, Mary-Sue, Monkey, and me next time for yet another exciting round of “What’s My Party Line?” See you next time! Maybe.

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About Rachel

Once a great traveling-bard-slash-philosopher, Rachel lost her mandolin to a migrant kiwi picker in a roadside dice match in the Yangtze River Valley. Penniless, mandolin-less, and blindly wandering the spit-laden streets of Beijing, she's now subjugated by the man and wants to know if the NAACP will grant her official permission to sing the blues.

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  1. Monkey spank!

    “Her dream is to teach Chinese to foreigners for two years, marry a rich laowai, have more than one child, and giggle a lot.”

    The last part is sad but true.

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