In 2011, a hit-and-run incident in northeastern China turned into a national story. After killing one student and injuring another, the young perpetrator threatened the victim with consequences if she pressed charges. That was already bad enough. But the young man also had to drag in his dad, frantically bragging about how important his father is.
This approach only accelerated his imprisonment and cost his dad his position. The incident disgraced the father's name more than his son's. As one netizen wrote: "One can work hard, one can study hard, but that's no match for having a powerful dad like Li Gang." The expression "drag in one's dad" was later used to describe putting someone else in trouble or a difficult situation.
Though it can mean anyone – not necessarily just dads – its origin has never been forgotten. Whenever similar cases appear, people still associate them to the name Li Gang. The case left society more alert to social unfairness and helped check such problems. Nowadays, the expression is more often used humorously to describe being caught by surprise.
CGTN's special series “Chinese Terminology” was launched on November 26 to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. The series, hosted by CGTN anchors Jeff Moody and Jonathan Betz, is aired daily at 20:15, 12:00 and 16:00 BJT.