Heckling the Communist Party - a how-to guide
by Brett Gurning
So you've decided to heckle a plenum, committee or other meeting of the Chinese Communist Party. Good for you. As a veteran of this pursuit (I once heckled the late, geat Deng Xiaoping, though it was admittedly sort of an accident), I felt qualified and obligated to provide people with the following tips, which will begin.... now.
1) Choose your moment
Don't be a jerk. This may seem like odd advice considering I'm advising you on how to interrupt a meeting with uncalled-for derogatory remarks, but bear with me. You're trying to liven up this meeting with witticisms and insults, so make sure it's actually necessary. If the speaker is witty, erudite and fascinating to listen to, don't bother - you will only ruin the meeting for everyone. Now, I know people say that Chinese Communist speeches that are actually interesting are as rare as hen's teeth, but with the increased industrial pollutants in the Yangtse and Yellow Rivers, hens with teeth are more and more common in China these days. So you never know.
The CCP isn't a monolith, much as it would like to be. It's also not a monograph - that would be a detailed treatise on a particular, usually quite narrow, subject.
So the CCP does have different factions and its politics does change - you can use this! Read up on how the speaker has conducted himself in the past. Or use Maoism as a weapon - although the Leftist faction is regaining influence in Chinese politics, it's still uncomfortable for many to be seen as too close to Mao-era politics. Try comparing the speaker's assertions to something from the Yan'an era. That should get 'em riled up.
3) Keep it simple
When you're heckling, you're on a limited timescale. Very limited. You've got to yell out your piece, get the punchline in and then BAM, out of there. You don't have time to ramble about the massive number of problems caused by and facing, say, the Three Gorges Dam. Just point out it was a decades-long demonstration of how not to do civil engineering projects and be done with it.
Another facet of "keep it simple", is don't be afraid to go back to basics. Yeah, it's great if you can come out with some epigrammatic number that cuts to the heart of the current debate, belittles the speaker and references a classic Rolling Stones track at the same time, but don't belabour it. Sometimes it's enough just to shout "why don't you give a speech standing up, shortarse?"
4) Do your research
I can't stress this enough, people. And I'm not even talking about studying CCP agricultural policy in depth or any of that kind of thing, I'm just saying get your facts straight. If all the speaker has to do to respond to your heckle is say "I think you'll find it was not Jiang Zemin who coined the phrase 'socialism with Chinese characteristics', actually", you're history. I've seen too many good but overconfident hecklers come a cropper on this one.
Well, that's it for now. Enjoy yourselves, take care out there and remember - always heckle the Chinese Communist Party responsibly, even if at times it seems trivially easy. Peace out.