COVID-19 Series: "This is Our Last Generation"
A video began circulating on May 12, 2022 showing police threatening a couple that failure to cooperate with COVID policies will "follow you for three generations." A man is heard replying "This is our last generation, thank you." More here: "Shanghai couple says 'we're the last generation' when rejecting quarantine camp":
The video on Twitter reportedly shows a police officer notifying a couple that they must enter a quarantine camp or face demerits on their record that will last for "three generations." The man rejects his threats and replies "we are the last generation."
These screenshots were taken on May 15, and show that a search for "This is our last generation" on Bing video returned several results with copies of the video, while the same search on Baidu video returned no results for that video.
The video is sensitive, not only because it shows PRC citizens standing up to authority, but also because the idea that people could choose not to produce a next generation runs counter to government policy that views increasing child production as an economic imperative.
Not only was the video itself censored, but also social media discussion of the phrase. On the Q&A service Zhihu a user asked "How should one evaluate young people saying 'This is our last generation, thank you.'"? It was deleted after getting over 2 million views.
The top answer seems innocuous: "This is the best solution to be found for the case of 'Your grandfather makes a mistake, and my grandfather ends up begging for food.'" But it could be interpreted as throwing serious shade at the Communist Party, because it is likely a reference to a 1990's PRC sitcom "I Love My Family," where a young boy praises a classmate's grandfather, and puts down his own father as a "beggar." The classmate's grandfather (a retired Party cadre) tries to justify someone begging for food in the 1960's saying:
"That was the result of some of the mistakes we made in our work." The young boy turns to his classmate and delivers the punchline: "You see? Your grandfather makes a mistake, and my grandfather ends up begging for food."
The second most upvoted answer to the censored Zhihu question "How should one evaluate young people saying 'This is our last generation, thank you.'"? was more direct in making its point – here is my translation.
These screenshots show the censorship of another Zhihu post asking "What does 'This is our last generation' embody?"
Here's my translation of the censored Zhihu post asking "What does 'This is our last generation' embody?"
And here's my translation of some of the top responses to that censored Zhihu post asking "What does 'This is our last generation' embody?"