CCP Central Committee Mislays Mandate of Heaven
BEIJING — With less than a week to go until a major leadership transition amid a downturn in the economy, the expulsion of populist politician Bo Xilai and ongoing public crises of confidence in its continued ability to govern, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee sheepishly announced to reporters Tuesday that it has no idea where it has left the Mandate of Heaven, the document which has been the sole guarantor of state power in China since the Warring States period.
CCP Central Committee spokesman Jiang Liang told assembled reporters, “We took the Mandate out to play last month during a regular session of the NPC, but nobody remembers cleaning up.”
“We thought maybe Eunice Wang, our cleaning lady, had tidied it away into its box and stowed it somewhere, but she says she hasn’t seen it either,” he continued, wiping sweat from his brow. “Honestly, with a major leadership transition just around the corner, this is a major blow to our confidence.”
Every imperial dynasty, from Qin Shi Huang through the Mongol khans up until the Republican government of Chiang Kai-Shek and, most recently, the CCP has, through gaining possession of the Mandate, been permitted by the Old Gods to rule China by whatever means they see fit.
As Chinese regimes have corrupted and stagnated, self-satisfied latter-day leaders have been quick to overlook this simple stone chest filled with a jumble of crudely-etched bamboo strips. Once the Mandate is mislaid or stolen, the ruling regime will typically fall to populist revolts or foreign invaders within three to six months.
The last Tang emperor, Ai, was usurped by one of his underlings after the latter cunningly switched the chest containing the Mandate for a crate of gooseberries in AD 907. In his hastily-scribbled suicide note, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty admitted that he had accidentally sent the Mandate to Manchu-supported rebel generals in the north after mistaking it for a giant Jenga. The Empress Dowager Cixi inadvertently auctioned the Mandate’s chest off to the British Ambassador in 1899 after an all-night sherry binge, resulting in the Boxer Rebellion and the collapse of the Qing Empire.
Most recently, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces were on the path to victory in the Chinese Civil War until a troop train carrying the Mandate was intercepted by Communist guerrillas outside Chongqing in early 1948. With the Mandate turned over to Mao Zedong, the tide quickly turned, and Chiang was soon in exile on Taiwan while the victorious Communist Party led their forces into Beijing.
With the 18th Party Congress only weeks away, all of China’s top leaders, both past and present, have been called to Beijing to locate the missing chest, with outgoing President Hu Jintao pledging “to turn the city upside-down until we find the damn thing.”
Hu was also quick to dismiss rumors that the chest containing the Mandate had been used as a coffee table in his office for several months prior to its sudden disappearance.