The photo Neil Bush posted on his Sina Weibo microblog on Monday. (Internet photo)
Neil Bush, the younger brother of former US president George W Bush, has joked that he is considering joining the Chinese Communist Party.
On Monday, Bush posted a photo on himself on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblog, wearing a People's Liberation Army hat and holding a Chairman Mao mug. The photo's caption read: "I'm thinking of joining the CCP. What do you think of my accessories?"
The 57-year-old businessman and public speaker joined Sina Weibo in August last year and often posts amusing photos and sayings in both English and Chinese with the assistance of a translator. The avid microblogger once wrote that Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang is his hero and currently has more than 120,000 followers.
The tongue-in-cheek photo has been forwarded more than 5,000 times in a day and has more than 3,000 comments. A number of Chinese netizens have taken advantage of the opportunity to express displeasure with their own government.
One netizen joked: "Do you know how to wine, dine, whore and gamble? Defraud, deceive, swindle, abduct? No? And you still want to join the party?"
Another netizen, who did not appreciate the humor, wrote in English: "Chinese people don't like the CCP, it is not a good joke."
At the moment, Bush is serving as a co-chairman of a Beijing-based real estate company and has been working with large steel and iron enterprises in China to try and enter the African market.
In 1956, the CCP ruled that only Chinese citizens could become party members. There have been several foreign party members who joined prior to 1956, including people from North Korea, Vietnam, India, Vietnam, Japan and Austria. New York-born doctor George Hatem, known in China as Ma Haide, became the first American member of the Communist Party in 1937.
If Bush is serious about joining the CCP he would first have to forgo his US citizenship and become a naturalized Chinese citizen, a move that might not go down well with his brother and father despite the strong ties they established with the Chinese government during their times in office.
Liu Xiang 劉翔
Ma Haide 馬海德