My New Favourite Shill — Part One
I want to introduce you to my new friend Gerry. As full as the internet is of opinions and blogs and vlogs, most of it is boring. But every now and then you happen upon something so great, so incredibly unapologetic that it’s like catching lightning in a bottle.
Gerry isn’t his real name as I’ve changed it to keep his online persona anonymous. Still, he would like it if you called him Gerry. And Gerry makes sure to let you know that he was born in a European country and then moved to a European colony and got himself a Master’s degree in a field that makes him an authority on culture and geopolitics before he moved to China as a fully developed, Western educated, and freethinking adult. It’s very important to Gerry that you know just how totally not Chinese he is. It’s almost as though the things he says could be confused with things coming right from the Hulk-sized propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party and he needs you to believe they aren’t.
Gerry has over eighty articles written. They’re all about China.*
Some are about Western countries and why they fall short and China, shockingly, is better in every conceivable way. The ones that aren’t about politics gush about how beautiful China’s cities and countryside are. I have read quite a few of them but keeping tabs on Gerry is like having a full time job. This is called Part One for a reason.
Most commonly, Gerry’s articles focus on how evil the US is and how the whole Tiananmen Square/Uyghur death camps/brutal Hong Kong crackdown/human rights violations/Tibet/free speech suppression are a series of big misunderstandings or simply Western lies.
Now Gerry’s a popular guy on his platform. He isn’t just posting into the void like I am. He has over six hundred followers. They’re almost all the quiet type because most of his articles only get one or two comments, even if there are often over a hundred claps. Curiously, comments are almost always from the same person who always seems to agree wholeheartedly with his views and praises him for his great insights and truth telling abilities. But hey, you don’t need to be a rockstar to have fans. Or a fan.
Although he is sometimes complemented by reputable sources such as BestChinaInfo. (You might be surprised to find out that BestChinaInfo doesn’t actually provide the best info on China.)
So let’s get to it. Gerry’s an interesting and bright guy. He’s got a lot to say and we have a lot to learn. I couldn’t possibly review every Gerry article in detail but I will be presenting my favourite takes which will henceforth be referred to as Gerry Takes.
A final note before we begin. Every piece “Gerry” has written is filled to the brim with what can only be described as shameless propaganda or a complete detachment from reality. It is incredibly difficult to choose from the plethora of examples but I have done my best to distill the essence de Gerry for your viewing pleasure.
Gerry Take #1 — Uyghur Genocide Isn’t Happening Because
Video and photographic evidence, first hand accounts, outside investigations, plummeting birth rates, mass disappearances, and forced sterilizations be damned. It isn’t happening because we say so. No one has found the evidence you and the international community are in possession of.
In fairness, many countries have labeled it merely crimes against humanity. So point to Gerry, there isn’t a universal consensus here.
They also have a soccer field so case closed.
Gerry Take #2 — How Freedom of Speech Works in China
You can’t insult the leaders (out of respect). Naturally criticism is never seen as an insult and dissenters have never been disappeared before. You can criticize but you can’t “spread rumors.” I’m sure a statement that contradicts the official government statement would not be considered spreading a rumor.
Government approved social media can be used. Remember everyone: you’re totally free to file a complaint with the authoritarian nightmare state.
“Unhealthy information” is decided by the government. This is called freedom in Gerryland.
Gerry Take #3 — Here’s Your Proper Governance
This one is a bit of a head-scratcher, and that’s saying a lot for a Gerry Take. He seems to be implying that China’s system of government is “proper democracy” despite admitting that he is completely ignorant of political philosophies and being unaware that China is not a democracy by any stretch of the wildest imagination. Gerry doesn’t need an “ism,” you see.
Bonus points for his tweet about the wonder that is the CCP right next to the news about Chinese authorities shutting down a Hong Kong newspaper that criticizes the CCP. Perhaps they forgot to lodge their complaint with the appropriate authority.
I’m sure this admission by big G has floored half the audience.
At this point you may be wondering if Gerry is somehow in league with or in the employ of the CCP. He assures you this is not the case.
In today’s article hosting sites and social media platforms, finding a Gerry is like finding bigfoot if bigfoots were everywhere but wearing plastic Nixon masks while assuring us that they’re not bigfoot. Sooner or later you still notice but stop caring about the eight foot walking shag carpet standing in front of you as it repeats “I am not a crook.”
*Correction: one article is about a mosquito. Ed.