Commentary on Political Economy

Friday 7 April 2023


American comedian trolls Chinese protesting against Taiwan president

LeLe Farely asks Chinese protesters where he can collect US$400 fee

Farley asks Chinese protester where they will get paid the US$400 subsidy after the protest is over. (YouTube, LeLe Farley screenshot)

Farley asks Chinese protester where they will get paid the US$400 subsidy after the protest is over. (YouTube, LeLe Farley screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —An American comedian on Thursday (April 6) posted a video of himself mockingly joining in with Chinese protesting against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and asking them where he could collect the US$400 (NT$12,180) fee allegedly offered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for their participation.

The Chinese consulate general in Los Angeles reportedly mobilized more than 1,000 people from Chinese expatriate groups and gangs with a "subsidy" of US$400 each to go to the Reagan Library and interfere with Tsai's historic meeting with House Speaker McCarthy on Wednesday (April 5).

After seeing reports about the subsidy, bilingual comedian and rapper Alex Farley, who goes by the handle LeLe Farley, dressed as a red guard, infiltrated a group of Chinese protesters, and recorded his high jinks on video.

At the start of the video, Farley debates about whether to attend the protest dressed as Winnie the Pooh or his alter ego "MC LeR," a red guard who raps in Mandarin. Opting to go as MC LeR, Farley declares that he wants to "see US$400 worth of effort from every single one of these people here."

Once on the scene, Farley quickly grabs Chinese and American flags and starts to sing the Chinese propaganda song "Socialism is Good." Some of the Taiwanese protesters immediately recognized him from his anti-CCP videos, but he tells them not to reveal his identity to the Chinese protesters.

Farley declared to the Chinese participants that, "As long as you've taken the money, you must fully immerse yourself in the performance." He then warned them that as a graduate of the Central Academy of Drama, he would "supervise everyone's acting skills."

When asked by members of the crowd to explain his political stance, Farley said "I support whoever has more money," drawing giggles from participants. He then claimed that he had to stay in character and called on everyone to do the same.

He next started quizzing protestors about where he could collect the US$400 fee. One woman said that there was no payment and when he asked why she came, she said "Because we love China. We don't want it to split up," to which Farley quipped, "Your acting is solid."

When posing for a photo with a male protestor, he asked the same question and the man claimed to have never received money for attending such events. Farley then sarcastically agreed "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah... Yeah, voluntarily" as he raised his eyebrows at the camera.

At one point, a couple of Chinese women asked Farley if he was on their side. He responded by gesturing at his uniform and incredulously asking "Can't you tell?" He then grabbed a bullhorn and started doing his rap version of "Socialism is good," leaving bystanders bewildered.

A member of the Japanese media then pulled Farley to the side for an on-camera interview. He then broke from character and spoke rapidly in English to prevent nearby Chinese from understanding what he was saying.

Farley said he was "trolling these supporters" and that he was actually "completely 100% in support of Taiwan." He said that he thought it would be funny if he pretended to support the CCP.

Briefly going back into character, Farley announced that "Xi Jinping doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Not at all. Except for the cheeks." At the five-minute mark, Farley breaks from the Chinese and crosses to the other side to join the Taiwanese supporters.

He explained to the Taiwanese that "I'm not with them, I was just trolling them." He pointed out to the Chinese that the fact that they have the right to protest is because they are in a democratic country and that they do not have such a right in China.

Farley explained that they were absurdly contradicting themselves by "using this right to oppose this right." Emboldened in the Taiwanese camp, Farley said the Chinese would have been arrested right away if they tried to protest in China and that "Xi doesn't even have a primary school education."

He then told an FTV reporter that the Chinese protestors' acting was "too poor." Chaos started to ensue as participants on both sides had physical clashes.

Toward the end of the video, Farley and Taiwanese supporters cleverly use their Chinese counterparts' repeated use of the word "traitor" against them by yelling "Xi Jinping!' Farley asks a group of riot police gathered at the scene if they often find themselves in situations in which they provide security for events where they cannot understand what the protestors are saying, and they nod and laugh in response.

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