Lu Xun (1881-1936) is generally regarded as the greatest Chinese writer of the twentieth century. Despite his tremendous reputation and enormous influence through the 70s and into the 80s, in recent decades Lu Xun had fallen somewhat into disfavor as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), which transformed itself into what I call the CCCCMMMMPPPP (Chinese Communist Christo-Confucian Marxist Maoist Militant Mercantilist Propagandistic Pugnacious Plutocratic Party), no longer took kindly his radical critique of corrupt, feudalistic society.
Although Lu Xun was the author of many memorable short stories, essays, and letters, the most famous of them all is about a hapless, illiterate peasant named Ah Q: Ā Q Zhèngzhuàn 阿Q正传 ("The True Story of Ah Q").
Standing in sharp contrast to Ah Q in the village where he lives is the Zhao family — rich, powerful landlords whom he sometimes runs afoul of and at whose hands he is from time to time roundly thrashed.
A particularly poignant moment in the story is when uneducated Ah Q joins the Zhaos in cheering the success of a scion of the family on the imperial examinations and is slapped for his temerity in doing so.
It is significant that lately the expression "Zhào jīarén 赵家人" ("Zhao family member") has resurfaced as a coded reference to politically powerful and wealthy elites in contemporary society.
See Kiki Zhao's penetrating post on the NYT Sinosphere blog:
Especially recommended are these paragraphs quoting Qiao Mu, a dauntless associate professor of communications at Beijing Foreign Studies University:
"It is a rebellious deconstruction of official language in the Internet age…. In the past we called officials public servants, but in fact, it’s still a case of crony capitalism. In China, rich and powerful families are often the offspring of the Communist leaders. But it’s politically sensitive to say this out loud, so people are using 'Zhao family' instead, as a form of ridicule."
Mr. Qiao published three articles on a WeChat account he managed discussing the “Zhao family” and its members’ dominance in what some mockingly call “their country,” or China. The account has since been deleted, but the articles have been reposted elsewhere.
“‘Zhao family’ refers to rich and powerful families in China,” he wrote. “Their fathers seized political power, so their children are called ‘second-generation red,’ people who have used their connections to retain power or amass enormous wealth in business.”
I seriously wonder what is going to happen to Professor Qiao for having audaciously spoken these words which are very much on people's minds.
For details on the origins and usage of the expression "Zhào jīarén 赵家人" ("Zhao family member"), see Anne Henochowicz's insightful entry in China Digital Times' Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon "Word of the Week" column:
"Clan of the Week: Zhao" (11/12/15)
For more on the back story of the current episode, see:
Incidentally, Ah Q's name is proof positive that the Roman alphabet is part of the Chinese writing system. See especially the references to an important article by Mark Hansell and related publications in these posts:
"Zhao C: a Man Who Lost His Name " (2/27/09)
"Creeping Romanization in Chinese " (8/30/12)
"A New Morpheme in Mandarin " (4/26/11)