Ran Xiang – Loving China for Job, Living in America for Life?

Ran Xiang - Loving China for Job, living in America for Life

May 22nd, Weibo celebrity user Ran Xiang posted on her Weibo account: “I was working on the enrollment of my child going to the American public school these days. (In America) all the public schools in the district of your residence, no matter you own a property or rent, must take the children at no charge. No matter you are illegal immigrants, visitors, green card holders or citizens, no matter whether you are a taxpayer of the federal government or not, the school must take in your children for free. As for private schools? Easy, you just need to be able to pay money.” This is a typical look of alleged “Patriots” in China – Loving China for Job, living in America for Life.

The post immediately caused uproars on the internet. Lots of people reposted it or comment on it. Many netizens described their feelings as “shocked” or “ridiculous”. The topic “Ran Xiang might already have immigrated to the United States” soon started trending on the internet. This affair also dragged an outdated Internet term back to people’s sight—Wumao.

The Eternal War Between Gongzhi and Wumao

Yuan Xiaoliang is one of the infamous patriots - communist party supporters

Yuan Xiaoliang is one of the infamous patriots – communist party supporters

“Gongzhi” and “Wumao” were two internet terms which were frequently used by Chinese netizens around the year 2012-2014. They are usually referred to internet opinion leaders who hold opposite opinions on Chinese politics and social realities.

“Gongzhi” is short for “Gong Gong Zhi Shi Fen Zi” in Chinese, which means “public intellectual” in English. It refers to people who actively participate In discussions about public affairs, providing their opinions upon society developments. Those people are usually with a background of academic and specialty accomplishment in certain fields, such as famous writers, movie directors, economists, and journalists.

In the year 2004, the Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly published a name list for their seventh “special column” of “Fifty Public Intellectuals Who Influent China”. The list includes well-known writers such as Jin Yong, Li Ao, Wang Shuo; famous economist such as Lang Xianping, etc..

“Gongzhi” was supposed to be a name given to people who have specialty accomplishments in their own field, and who also have critical spirits. They believe in the justice of social rules, but not necessarily supporting the current governments or policies. For this matter, “Gongzhi” used more often referring to people who tended to be anti-Chinese Communist Party and who also have Influenced on the public, which Is opposite from “Wumao”.

“Wumao” used to be a contemptuous term for people who worked as “Internet commenters” for the Chinese government and the communists’ party. Those commenters usually stayed in disguise of normal internet users. However, their job was posting contents about advocating the Chinese government, Chinese Communists Party, and their policies. They will also attack the voices which criticized the government. And they usually took advantage of certain network communication strategies to influent, lead and manipulate the public internet opinions.

“Wumao” literally means “fifty cents” in Chinese. Chinese internet users used this term to satirize the “internet commenters” making 50 cents for each comment they posted. A derived term of “Wumao” is “Zi Gan Wu”, which Is short for the Chinese saying “Wumao who brings their own food”. “Zi Gan Wu” usually was used to satirize those internet users who weren’t hired by the government but still wholeheartedly agreed with it.

Due to their very different opinions and stands about Chinese society and politics, “Gongzhi” and “Wumao” have been in an “eternal war” ever since. On the Chinese Internet, people can hardly find anything calm and objective about “Gongzhi” and “Wumao”. Weibo (a Chinese microblog website similar to Twitter) became the main “battlefield” of them. On Weibo, famous “Gongzhi” such as Mao Yushi and Lang Xianping, famous “Wumao” such as Kong Qingdong (professor in Peking University) and Ran Xiang, the main character of this article, instead of speaking for their own opinions, they were more active on trolling each other.

How Did “Gongzhi” and “Wumao” Become Negative?

Like lots of internet terms, “Gongzhi” and “Wumao” also became more and more negative since they were created.

“Gongzhi” (public intellectuals) used to be a positive word to describe those people who had critical thoughts upon the society. They represented a fearless spirit of free speech and social justice. Considering Chinese history since the year 1949, those spirits were priceless. After the Great Cultural Revolution, Six Four Event and lots of progressive people being tracked down by the government and party, the modern Chinese society does need people like “Gongzhi” to bring in introspections about our nation and policies.

However, because lots of “Gongzhi” tried to compare China with other developed countries, such as the United States, they started to describe America as a “paradise on earth”, while in the meantime China was like a living hell with no freedom, no civil rights and no rules of law. It wasn’t wrong to try to learn from more developed countries to avoid detours. Constantly belittling their home nation will only make other people antipathetic.

What Interesting was, some internet users started to call themselves “Wumao” only for being against “Gongzhi”. Those people include Kong Qingdong and Ran Xiang.

Who Is Ran Xiang?

Yuan Xiaoliang at the Chinese Dream Conference in Shanghai

Yuan Xiaoliang at the Chinese Dream Conference in Shanghai

Ran Xiang, now the username of the Weibo account is Yuan Xiaoliang. Ran Xiang was the username this account used when it first got attention. Ran Xiang became a Weibo celebrity for criticizing a famous Chinese writer Han Han. And on her early personal page, she described herself as “the unofficial spokesperson of Han Han, the charming chairman of Wumao Party, natural big breasts, the most rational and sassiest commenter on Weibo”. Even many people believed that Ran Xiang could be nothing but a team managed Weibo account (not a personal account as she declared), she still became one of the very rare females among all the men during this online war between Gongzhi and Wumao.

Ran Xiang also updated her personal description as “Weibo celebrity, independent commenter, freelance writer, hostess, a woman with both beauty and wisdom”. Besides criticizing Han Han, attacking Gongzhi and commenting on social events and news, Ran Xiang also frequently implied that she was a good-looking woman with hot body figure.

Ran Xiang used to be a mystery on Weibo. Nobody knows who was behind this user account, or whether “she” was really a woman like she said or not. A few years ago, user account Ran Xiang changed the name to “Yuan Xiaoliang”, and post her pictures on Weibo. In the picture, Ran Xiang is a petite Chinese lady with a good looking face.

Yuan Xiaoliang was born in the year 1982. She liked to call herself “Aunt Liang”. She published many articles about politics, democracy, even relationship and marriage pieces of advice. “She always had unique opinions on the topics she chose. And she had a great sense of humor in her articles.” Most Chinese netizens gave her very positive comments and called her the “Chinese positive energy goddess”.

Ran Xiang’s interactions with another male “Wumao” were also very interesting. Professor Kong Qingdong of Peking University once posted on his Weibo: “Ran Xiang is giving a speech and she wishes everyone could have high-quality milk.” He also posted a close-up portrait of the upper body of Ran Xiang (Yuan Xiaoliang). Pretty obvious Kong Qingdong was playing a pun of “milk” and “breasts”.

“Being surrounded by men, Yuan Xiaoliang is surely the new social butterfly. Under her acquiescence, the gentlemen were allowed to talk about ‘adult only’ topic, or make ‘dirty-ish’ jokes. Therefore, Ran Xiang became the best companion of the ‘positive energy league’.” A Chinese blogger sarcastically wrote about Ran Xiang in his article. In the picture he posted along with it, Ran Xiang was wearing a pink bikini, surrounded by two mid-aged men with one of them placing his hand on her shoulder.

Ran Xiang also posted something on her Weibo like “I don’t know Kung Fu. And I’m not a member of the (Chinese Communists) Party. I am just against Gongzhi.” Base on her Weibo posts, Ran Xiang and Kong Qingdong were also into something called “fishing”. “Fishing” is a Chinese Internet term, which possibly originated from “fishing enforcement”. “Fishing” means that someone posted an obvious rumor and wait for people to believe in it. Kong Qingdong once posted on his Weibo, “Ran Xiang and I went fishing yesterday. We got plenty. People who called themselves “Gongzhi” are all Idiot.”

After learning who Ran Xiang Is, it wasn’t hard to understand why her immigrating to America would cause uproars on the internet.

Loving China for Job, Living in America for Life

After Ran Xiang posted on her Weibo and Implied that she had already settled down in New York with her family, some netizens in China said, “Loving China for the job. Living in America for life.”

According to Ran Xiang’s Weibo posts, Ran Xiang should have already moved to the United States last year. And she has been going back and forth between China and America since then. She almost posted every day on Weibo, and most of the posts mentioned her life in America. Why specifically the one she posted in May 2018 about public school drew such attention?

“Ran Xiang has been emphasized that she was Wumao. And her ‘duty’ was against Gongzhi. We all know that Gongzhi loves everything about America. And in her post about her kid enrolling in the New York public school, even she didn’t say it directly, we can still see that she was actually praising America’s education system. This is really not like her. Did she ‘betray’ the Wumao group?” A Zhihu user said so when asked about Ran Xiang’s recent news. In fact, people already saw a different Ran Xiang when she commented and reposted the news about Hongmao Medicinal Liquor. She said, “I will be shocked if the news is true. Has the collusion between government and businesses been this bad already? Have the local governments been this powerful already?” Some Weibo users were commenting under the post, “is it the same Ran Xiang I know?” “When did you become a Gongzhi?” “This Is not a Hollywood movie.” They all made people wonder, “is it another speculation of Ran Xiang?”

Yuan Xiaoliang praises Chinese government on TV

Yuan Xiaoliang praises Chinese government on TV

Ran Xiang’s opinions about the United States have changed a lot since she moved there. The original post about New York public schools has already been deleted. On May 24th, she posted on Weibo regarding the last thread, “Many friends asked me to prove what I said and declare what I did. I have my own property in China. My kid was going to one of best public schools in China. And Chinese food Is so amazing. Someone even thought I was applying for political asylum—Only those who damaged their brains would like to do that. I only want my freedom of traveling wherever I want.” “If I have to Immigrate to the United States, I would be applying for special talent or investment immigration, because I am a woman with beauty, talent and wealth.” Ran Xiang also posted a picture of a Chinese passport along with her post, to prove that she is still a Chinese citizen.

In Ran Xiang’s recent article “Confession of an Old Woman”, she tried to explain what happened to her in those days. “It’s not super detailed but I promise it’s true.” She said, “I never expected that I would be back to the center of public attention on the internet after three years.”

“I have been using Weibo for 8 years now. A lot of my friends told me that I have been changed a lot. That’s true, I did change a lot. I used to praise China a lot. But now I criticized it a lot.”

“Loving China for the job, living in America for life. It wasn’t a fair description of me. I have traveled a lot during those years, and I have seen a lot. China is always my motherland. I love it wholeheartedly. This fact will never change. When I’m getting older, I started to care about the prices of housing, medical care and education system in China. I want it to become better. I wish my family and friends could live a better life there.”

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Loving China for Job, Living in America for Life
Today, I will tell a story about a typical look of alleged educated Patriots in China - Loving China for Job, living in America for Life.
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