High Life

Oh, Bingbing It

January 27, 2018

Multiple Pages
Oh, Bingbing It

Before his untimely death last year, David Tang had attended a Pugs club luncheon under the proviso that no one would ask him how he felt. So all twenty of us asked him in unison, “How do you feel?” He burst out laughing. Sir David—he threw a riotous party at the Dorchester to celebrate his knighthood some years ago, and I got a bit tipsy and asked a good friend of his the reason for the knighthood; “for inserting his face the deepest in Prince Charles’ bottom,” was the rude answer—was a nonpareil storyteller. It was he who first told me about Fan Bingbing. Fan Bingbing is a Chinese actress and apparently very beautiful. When I asked David if he had FanBingbinged her, he feigned anger and told me to have more respect for a great Chinese thespian. Again, I was a bit tipsy—we met only at parties, never at funerals—so I insisted. “Come on, David, did you Bingbing her or not? You’re talking to Taki, not some credulous hack.” “If you write that I Bingbinged her I will sue, as I should have done all those years ago,” he said, trying to keep a straight face.

David Tang threw a party for me the night before I left to attend Pentonville University 35 or so years ago. Some years later, in St. Moritz, he asked me to please not write that he was in attendance for a great summer blast. (He was a very loyal Spectator reader.) Once back in London I received a telephone call from him, and he was in Orlando Furioso mode. I assured him I had not mentioned his name, as he was on a dirty weekend with the lady that was to become Lady Tang. “But my wife showed it to me!” he screamed. Silly Chinese boy, he had been Bingbinged by his Chinese wife. She had typed out an item purportedly written by me, then had it faxed back to her so it looked like my Speccie column, smudges included—one that said that he had been among the swells tripping the light fantastic in St. Moritz. So David spilled the beans and called me to complain. “Go out and buy The Spectator and see for yourself, you dumb Chinaman,” said yours truly. He rang back to apologize, got divorced, married Lucy, got knighted, told me about Fan Bingbing, and lived happily until his death.

“If any of you dear readers are confused by all this, xièxiè the Chinese language, not your poor little Greek correspondent.”

Now Fan Bingbing is back in the news, xièxiè (“thank you” in Chinese) very much. A billionaire dissident by the name of Guo Wengui, camping out in his 9,000-foot residence in Central Park West, New York City, has accused Fan Bingbing of being the mistress of anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, who he also accuses of having four other mistresses. (It is not clear if Fan Bingbing is suing Guo Wengui for saying she’s Wang’s mistress, or for saying that Wang has four other concubines, xièxiè very much.)

If any of you dear readers are confused by all this, xièxiè the Chinese language, not your poor little Greek correspondent. “Who would imagine that the czar of anti-corruption would himself be corrupt?” asked a puzzled Chinese. Just about everyone, xièxiè very much. My personal take on Wang—he’s the corruption czar and Fan Bingbing’s alleged keeper lover—is that he must be a great man because he has not only Fan Bingbing but also four other mistresses, according to the dissident billionaire parked on Central Park, New York 10021. The dissident Guo is as jealous as Othello, if a bit more yellow.

All this is very nice, but it seems that the tight-lipped Chinese Communist Party elite are very pissed off, xièxiè very much. Western journalists trying to write about the inscrutable Chinese are buffeted daily by currents of propaganda and disinformation, not to mention being Fan Bingbinged by troublemakers among dissident Chinese in Trumpland. A very long time ago, when I tried (unsuccessfully) to join the CIA, the first lesson I learned was never to believe a word I heard in Athens, where everyone talked rubbish, and never anything a Chinese person said, because they never said anything. My failure to join the agency was a long one, and it ended when the Saigon bureau chief of said agency wired Athens that I was “indiscreet, indiscriminate, and possibly a double agent.” The bureau chief in Saigon was of Greek extraction; imagine what a WASP would have wired, xièxiè very much.

But back to Fan Bingbing. She allegedly wants Guo the billionaire dissident to be extradited and face her in court and dare to repeat that she—Fan Bingbing—Bingbinged Wang, the anti-corruption czar. The American government is refusing to Bingbing Guo and send him back. The attorney general himself, Jeff Sessions, has assured Guo that Uncle Sam is not about to Bingbing him. As long as he keeps his billions, that is. What I think the management of The Spectator should do is cover the libel case of Fan Bingbing versus Guo Wengui, whether or not Fan Bingbing committed Bingbing with Wang, the anti-corruption czar. I am not suggesting myself. I’ve had it up to here with the Chinese, xièxiè very much. They can all go Bingbing themselves, as far as I’m concerned.

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