Perhaps the most popular genre relates to Jiang’s toad-like appearance,
but there’s also a famous one-liner known as “too simple.”
It’s from an incident in 2000, when former Hong Kong Chief Executive Chee-hwa Tung visited Beijing. A Cantonese reporter shrewdly asked whether Jiang would influence Tung’s reappointment for a second term of service, which sent him into a frenzy. He criticized her, calling Hong Kong journalists “too simple, sometimes naive.”
You can watch the bizarre episode in the video above.
But despite being retired, Jiang still carries weight in the Party, and so Internet censors continue to protect his online image when bloggers make Jiang jokes, like this one:
“That year, Jiang Zemin spent four minutes in front of the camera humiliating a female reporter from Now TV over the question she asked. Now Sharon Cheung, the reporter, is the senior vice president of Media Asia Group. And Jiang…”
In fact, many young Chinese have adopted Jiang’s “too simple” saying, turning it into a trendy catchphrase, and they use the phonetic sounds of Chinese words to say the English words.
Here’s another online joke along the same lines that was also recently deleted:
The censored caption said: “Who’s playing the tune of ‘too simple’ with a bamboo flute? Time reflects its passing if we look at the tiny toad in the pond… It was the time with Mike Wallace who you’ve never heard of. It was the time to wear pants up to your arm pits that you’ve never heard of.
“Let me tell you: I am an experienced veteran who has seen and heard a lot. What Western country haven’t I been to? Those were the times of gaining power. Those were the times when a hot woman sang ‘Little Back Basket‘.”
Jiang has a reputation for showing off, and thinks he’s musical. The first part of the caption links back to his criticism of Sharon Cheung, and the last part refers to Song Zuying, Jiang’s mistress, who became famous when she sang “Little Back Basket,” and when Jiang first laid eyes on her.
Research by Cecilia