Outspoken TV personality deemed Chinese favorite representative during “Two Sessions”
Cui Yongyuan seems to be one of the very few real people’s representatives who haven’t been losing contact with the grass roots amidst China’s political gatherings.
Most Chinese know that the annual “two sessions,” or “two meetings,” are just a show put up by wheelers and dealers that is unlikely to bear any substantial fruit or bring any tangible benefit to the masses.
Sometimes it even turns into a freak show. Selfish, self-important and self-absorbed “representatives,” most of who have vested interests in the current state apparatus, blurted out illogical and ridiculous statements. To list but a few:
Peasants should live in rural villages. Only then they can pass on the torch of national culture. We don’t encourage rural children to go to collage either. Going the college is a big expense. Just one college student each household can land the family in poverty. Once you finish college, you cannot go back to your hometown or find a job. That would be a tragedy. – Wang Ping, curator of China Minority Art Museum and CPPCC member
The root cause of the fact that train ticket shortage during Spring Festival Rush always fails to be alleviated is the extremely low rail ticket prices. – Luo Jinbao, vice director of Beijing Railway Bureau and NPC deputy.
A lot of what I’ve done today is about Confucian thoughts. Confucian thoughts are embodied by Chen Guangbiao. I think I am currently the living spokesperson for Confucius. – Chen Guangbiao, a high-profile philanthropist and CPPCC member.
Enterprises must follow the Party’s words. – Li Shufu, president of automaker Geely and CPPCC member.
Prices of pesticides and fertilizers should be greatly raised to make those peasants unable to afford them! – Wen Simei, Vice President of South China Agricultural University.
Most Chinese web users have a passing interest in poking fun at the foot-in-mouth quotes before they realize their ridicule doesn’t make any difference. After all, pecking order has been established. A gaffe is not going to bring down a superior.
However, one “jarring voice” is heard in the seemingly cozy and harmonious atmosphere, and due to the rising popularity of microblog, it resonates in China’s bustling cyberspace.
Cui Yongyuan, a popular Chinese talk show host of China Central Television, has stricken a deep chord in the people during this year’s Two Sessions with his vocal criticism of public policies and social injustice.
For example, “I abhor any unfairness. When they told me that our peasants’ income has been greatly increased, that they now have an annual household income of 12,000 yuan (roughly US$1,800), I feel very sad,” he said during 2010’s two sessions.
And his opposition to the current income tax brackets, “Like Cui Yongyuan. He makes 30,000 yuan (US$4,615) a month. It may be appropriate to tax him. But a coal miner who makes 8,000 yuan ($1,200) shouldn’t be taxed. He is risking his life!” Cui Yongyuan likens coal miners’ job to tying one’s head to the pants belt – in imminent danger, and said the money he makes is beneath theirs. “Once one goes inside (a coal mine), he may not be able to come out. But when I goes into a studio, I can surely come out.”
Or his protest against unreasonably high pricing mechanism as a result of state monopolies, “I have just been to Los Angeles, and found that gas price there is even two yuan (30 cents) lower than in China. Then I began to wonder: what’s wrong with PetroChina and Sinopec (two largest state-owned oil companies in China)? How are you playing with it? You’ve even played a deficit out of it? Can you change me to be the head? Just try half a year. If it doesn’t work out, I will return the post to you!”
And check this out, “Beijing has four million motor vehicles. Tokyo and New York City both have eight million, but they are not as congested as Beijing. This is clearly not an issue of the number of motor vehicles. Now all proposals heard of are sharpening their knives for private-owned cars. I object! Should’ve sharpened their knife for road control administration. The second knife is for traffic control administration. The third for public transit planning and implementing administration. The fourth for toll stations – the mankind has already had methods to charge toll without impeding the traffic. And, the fifth is for cars of the privileged. A good knife should be used with its edge.”
Cui Yongyuan is a TV personality. But the stardom didn’t take the shine off his membership in the political advisory body. The public has remembered him as more of a champion for people’s welfare than a celebrity.
Many praise his conscientiousness in doing field research. According to Beijing News, in contrast to “keyboard CPPCC members” who gather information via search engine, he “writes proposals with feet.” When he travels abroad, he wants to be introduced to local lawmakers and learn about health care and affordable housing. In order to investigate into the working conditions of coal miners, he goes underground with them.
“He has thoughts, a character, and speaks the truth. It doesn’t matter if the people have voted for him. Just let him represent the people!” One commenter wrote.