These three terms all refer to government officials who were caught in photographs wearing expensive wrist watches. 江诗丹顿 表叔 (Jiāngshīdāndùn Biǎoshū) refers to the originator of them all, the so-called “Watch Brother” or “smiling official,” Yang Dacai, former head of the Shaanxi work safety administration. He became notorious after a photo of him smiling at the scene of a grisly bus accident went viral on Weibo. Netizens were outraged by his callous behavior and after performing a “human flesh search,” they noticed Yang wearing numerous expensive wristwatches in multiple photos. Questions were raised about how a supposedly low-paid public official could afford $10,000 Rolexes, and Yang went under investigation for corruption, eventually being sentenced in Sept 2013 to 14 years in jail.
江诗丹顿 表叔 is another nickname for him: Vacheron Constantin Wristwatch Uncle, with Vacheron Constantin the brand of a very expensive luxury watch which Yang was caught in a photo wearing.
盘锦二表哥姜伟华 (Pánjǐn èrbiǎogē Jiāng Wěihuá) and 姜伟华名表 (Jiang Weihua’s namebrand wristwatches / Jiāng Wěihuá míngbiǎo) refers to Jiang Weihua, who, as noted in a previous post, was involved with ordering the murder of a farmer in Panjin city in Liaoning. 二表哥 can be literally translated as “the Second Wristwatch Brother,” and indeed, like Yang Dacai, he was caught in photos wearing fancy watches which were well beyond the means of what his official salary should have been as well. Giving despised public officials “affectionate” nicknames is meant ironically and a trend, with receipt-signing Brother (签单哥) referring to yet another government employee embroiled in corruption allegations.
In a break from our usual series of highlighting words blocked from searching on Weibo, for the next two days I’ll be looking more deeply at the keywords on chat messenger app LINE’s “bad words” list. For more about this series, see this introductory post.