Wu Yi’s friends didn’t believe him when he told them all about what his laowai English teacher at school had told him. Sure, they had heard rumours about Christmas Old Man– fat foreign guy with a lot of white facial hair and a red outfit like you can find in bulk at the Small Commodities Market’s costume section, handing out red envelopes full of actual toys rather than cold hard cash. It seemed too absurd to be true.

When Wu Yi added that apparently this old man could also somehow know when you were sleeping, when you were awake, whether you’d been bad or good, they scowled, wrinkled their foreheads in doubt.

If he could do all this, why didn’t Christmas Old Man have a nice Iron Rice Bowl upper cadre position with the Party, taking kickbacks from parents?  What a waste of skills! And why was he allowed to monitor the population with his surveillance software without getting arrested for being a spy? Did he have guanxi with the Great Firewall guys?

It didn’t seem right to them.

Wu Yi was lying. They were certain of this.

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