Incoming Party Leaders Brace Themselves for Traditional Hazing Rituals

Let the games begin

BEIJING — With only days to go before the Communist Party unveils China’s next generation of paramount leaders, its incoming members are steeling themselves for the customary slew of hazing rituals that await them.

It’s well known that during the National Congress, any senior Party member can ask a more junior member to take a shot at any time and at night the freshman are forced to play limp biscuit, but perhaps no tradition is as revered as the “Great Hazing.”

The Great Hazing begins at midnight on the final day of the Congress, when China’s outgoing leaders appear on the main stage of the Great Hall of the People, dressed in neon silk Party robes. Then the outgoing head of state, this year Hu Jintao, performs the Breaking of the Seal—the tapping of the Hazing’s ceremonial keg. All inaugural delegates to the Central Committee of the Politburo then have to drain at least one pint of beer through a funnel inserted into their rectum, a process known as “butt chugging.”

If this is your first National Congress, you have to fight.

The delegates who make it out alive are then led onstage by attractive female armed forces personnel in red bikinis. The outgoing leaders then proceed to strip their new counterparts down to their underwear, before commencing with the ceremonial Paddling of the Buttocks.

Once the Paddling is complete, the newly-crowned members of the Central Committee join the newcomers in the general population outside where they are again stripped down to their underwear and forced to stand in the cold November wind while answering trivia questions about Communist Party history.

The Great Hazing culminates in a series of no-holds-barred fistfights with competitors chosen at random. If this is your first National Congress, you have to fight.

During every National Congress, foreign media watch the behavior of the incoming leadership closely to see if they betray any insight into potential policy shifts.

For example, Wen Jiabao’s decision to wear Calvin Klein boxer shorts during his Hazing in 2002 was viewed by many as a sign of his championing of further economic experimentation, while Department of Propaganda head Li Changchun’s choice of accessories—a ballgag and razorblade-lined thong—during the same event presaged his twisted, sadistic reign.


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