Make the official taste of tofu sweet: Chinese have fun with White House petition website

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 11:49am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 2:23pm


Related topics

It's long believed that China is “the country of copycats”. However, Chinese netizens are sometimes very creative, especially when using the website of the White House to make jokes about their own political system.

A petition on the White House’s site has quickly become a new  favourite pastime for mainland netizens. If you go to the site now you will see that among the latest five petitions, four since Sunday, were written by Chinese netizens.

"Send troops to liberate the Chinese people," reads one petition.


The headline of another petition reads, “We request the United States government will tofu curd official taste is sweet”.

Another petition reads: “Send troops to liberate Hong Kong”, while the petitioner adds that: “Our reason same as ‘The Declaration of Independence’ ”.


It is unclear who was the first Chinese netizen to think of the idea of petitioning the White House’s official website. In January, a group of Chinese programmers, enraged by the blocking of a popular code-sharing site, launched a petition. They urged the US government not to issue entry permits to Chinese involved in the Great Firewall project. It is likely their action introduced the website to more Chinese online communities.

The latest Chinese netizens’ petition was sparked by a controversial case in China. The parents of Zhu Ling, a Tsinghua university student poisoned by thallium 19 years ago, and who suffers from mental problems, are demanding police release more details about the case.

The police have failed to solve it after nearly two decades and have refused to share information with Zhu’s parents. Many Chinese netizens believe this is because the main suspect in the case, a roommate of Zhu, comes from a powerful family.

More than 120,000 Chinese netizens, who have lost their confidence in their judicial system, have turned to the US government. Last Friday, they appealed to President Barack Obama to help Zhu and her family.

Many internet users believe the reason behind Chinese petitioners’ behaviour is that they have no trust in their own petition system. They know such petitions won’t help them in the real world but are just a way to express their anger or sadness. 

However, some other Chinese internet users say it is a shame to see some of their fellow Chinese making jokes on the site, because it is supposed to be a place for serious appeal.

“Does it [posting nonsense petitions on White House’s site] show how bored these guys are?”