Chinese state television aired a Spring Festival holiday gala on Saturday night that included a skit mocking lazy and incompetent low-level bureaucrats.
Judging from the response on social media, many viewers interpreted the skit as implicitly scapegoating local officials for causing the coronavirus disaster that has been sweeping the country since late last year.
The skit called “Pothole,” performed by a group called Mahua FunAge, became an instant sensation on Chinese social media. Discussions of the skit racked up over 800 million views in less than 24 hours on Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of Twitter.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) summarized the skit as a lazy civil servant ignoring a hole in the road he should have fixed, perpetually trying to put the work off on others and blame them for the persistent annoyance of the pothole, until his boss goes undercover as an angry member of the public to catch him making excuses.