China’s government-run propaganda newspaper Global Times defended President Joe Biden on Monday from Americans using the phrase “let’s go, Brandon” to signal dissatisfaction with his job performance, claiming it is representative of “extreme political sentiment” and branding it “abuse.”
The Times was reporting on an incident during an event on Christmas Eve in which the president interacted with families sending in gift requests for Santa Claus, one father ended his call to Biden with, “Merry Christmas, and let’s go, Brandon.”
“Let’s go, Brandon, I agree,” Biden replied.
The call triggered a torrent of left-wing outrage in corporate media outlets, which branded the phrase a “slur.”
“Let’s go, Brandon” has become a national euphemism for the phrase “fuck Joe Biden” after, in October, a crowd of fans at a NASCAR event began chanting “fuck Joe Biden” during an interview on the track with driver Brandon Brown. The reporter interviewing Brown falsely claimed the crowd was chanting “let’s go, Brandon” in an attempt to cover up the political statement.
Brown himself initially joked about the incident but has since lamented that it has damaged his ability to procure corporate sponsorships, including with companies totally comfortable with sponsoring events that benefit governments committing genocide.
The Global Times scolded the father at the Christmas Eve event, later identified as Jared Schmeck, for desecrating the sanctity of Christmas. China routinely persecutes its Christian population, imprisoning and on occasion killing them publicly.
Schmeck has since said he was expressing frustration in an “innocent jest” and was not a supporter of former President Donald Trump or necessarily opposed to Biden, but that his joke had resulted in threatening phone calls from anonymous people, presumably Biden supporters.
“If the U.S. could put aside political discord for one day of the year, then Christmas should be that day,” the government publication lamented. “But the fact is, even a Christmas call to express holiday wishes and gratitude for US military servicemembers around the world is still used to express extreme political sentiment.”
“American citizens may even abuse the president with euphemistic and insulting language on the phone. Such an abnormal situation shows the morbid division in US society and an inability to resolve social problems,” the propaganda outlet concluded.
The Global Times quoted one of its regime-approved “experts” who disparaged Schmeck as “a man who was not being polite enough and also showed his disrespect,” claiming he represented “serious division among American people.”
“Such a slogan that insults the president has become ‘viral’ in the U.S., which demonstrates the severe partisan polarization,” the Times observed. “Biden is the president elected by the American people themselves. However, it seems that American people are not satisfied with his performance at all.”
The newspaper offered some mild criticism of Biden himself for repeating the phrase, claiming the president does not have “sufficient knowledge of the climate in U.S. society.” It concluded, however, that the greater problem in the country is the ability of the American people to freely express dissent with the government, causing the “incurable disease” of “morbid division.” The Times regularly compares this to the alleged “harmony” present in China, where anything interpreted as criticism of dictator-for-life Xi Jinping results in, at best, temporary forced disappearances and, in the worst cases, death in a prison camp.
Xi himself regularly promotes the idea of Chinese “unity” and, boldly, a “world of harmony” in which he is exempt from any criticism from anyone in the world. The Chinese Communist Party attempts to enforce this through its economic power, punishing companies that dare question the morality of China’s genocide of the Uyghur people or its other myriad human rights abuses. Beijing also attempts to destroy companies that do not adhere to its false assertions that Taiwan is not a country and Hong Kong is, legally, an autonomous region.
Absent from the Global Times‘ evaluation of the “let’s go, Brandon” phenomenon is the fact that Chinese people have, for years, used the character Winnie the Pooh as a similar stand-in to protest Xi Jinping. While “let’s go, Brandon” began as a chant mocking corporate media for hiding displeasure with the president, the use of Winnie the Pooh as a stand-in for Xi began as a response to the fact that criticizing Xi can rapidly result in prison time or disappearance under the Chinese Communist Party. Pooh’s ascent as a Chinese dissident figure began when, during the tenure of President Barack Obama, a meme began spreading online of a photo of Obama and Xi comparing the tall, thin Obama to Tigger and the short, pot-bellied Xi to the cartoon bear.
— Global de Excélsior (@Global_Exc) June 12, 2013
Xi outlawed Winnie the Pooh in all of China in 2017 to attempt to put an end to his use by Chinese dissidents, resulting in foreign media including Pooh also being banned out of fear that it may be used as a critical statement against the regime. A year later, Xi delivered a speech to senior communist leaders and China’s top Internet censors chiding them for not doing enough to silence dissent.
“Uphold a clean and righteous internet space,” Xi said, according to the state news agency Xinhua. “Reject the vulgar, the base and the kitsch. Put forward more healthy, high-quality internet works of culture and art.”
Pooh has persisted, however, most recently appearing in the background of a photo of tennis champion Peng Shuai after the Chinese government disappeared her for accusing a senior Chinese official of rape. Peng has since resurfaced denying her statement.