It’s a Christmas gif-t from the Communist Party of China.
In 2012, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced the “Eight Regulations,” a series of austerity rules for combating the image that the Communist Party is corrupt, excessive, and lavish. Among the rules: Leaders must be thrifty, stop throwing fancy ceremonies for their own policies, cut down on official motorcades, and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.
This is a pretty bland set of rules, so the party has come up with a way to sex them up: meme gifs. Here’s one, for example, showing a nail being driven into the words “formality,” “bureaucracy,” “indulgence,” and “extravagance.”
The set of 16 official gifs, or “Eight Regulations Expression Stickers,” was announced on the website of the party organ responsible for implementing Xi’s anti-corruption efforts. These stickers allow people to “playfully promote the spirit of the Eight Regulations,” and also “bring internet users and the disciplinary inspection agency closer together.”
It is not likely that Chinese internet users—known for their highly clever, original, and subversive memeing—will use these. The official gifs have the design sensibility of a 1990s website. They are text-heavy, but hard to actually read—the fonts are jumbled and the small text only flashes for an instant.
Imagine sharing this gif advocating “simplification and reduction of documentation”…
…or this one with a fist smashing “special privileges:
Here are a few more:
“Violating rules on excessive spending for entertainment—BANNED”
Here is an arrow flying through a stack of money that reads “public money; travel”
This one refers to the Confucian tenets of filial piety and family responsibility; the importance of the “four social bonds” of “propriety, justice, integrity and honor;” and commands gif-viewers to “establish a good home.”
Finally, “the Eight Regulations will reshape China”: