“Communist” China summed up in one bumper sticker

Passed this on the way out this morning:

Our goal: look to money, look to thick profits

Chairman Mao, as some stories have it, refused to even touch money. After his death, Deng Xiaoping launched China’s ‘Reform and Opening’ and ‘Modernization’ Era under the slogans: “Liberate thinking, seek truth from facts, join together and unanimously look forward” (解放思想实事求是团结一致). He probably meant “look forward” to mean something like, “let’s not dwell on all that nonsense of the past few decades, but instead get on with making a better future.” The bumper sticker simply switches out “front” (前 qián) for “money” (钱 qián), turning “look forward” into “look to money” — both phrases are pronounced exactly the same: xiàng qián kàn.

There are a million anecdotes to illustrate the way Mainland Chinese unapologetically prioritize money. The most recent one is from some study reported in a magazine (I forget which), indicating that Chinese tie material wealth to happiness at more than twice the global average.

P.S. – I suspect there’s more to the bumper sticker, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

P.P.S. – Here’s a Chinese forum thread admiring the same slogan on a custom license plate: 我的目标-向钱看-向厚赚-牛B720

P.P.P.S – What would the equivalent bumper sticker say in your home country, if it were equally honest?

P.P.P.P.S. – Like Propaganda?

Chinese propaganda poster jackpot!

The International Institute of Social History has a collection of Chinese propaganda posters with translations and explanations in three categories:
1. Early years (1949-1965);
2. Cultural Revolution (1966-1976);
3. Modernization (1977-1997).

“Elect Good People to Do Good Things”

Political clues in the “Chinese Google” — what a Chinese search engine can tell you

Baidu would have been Google’s main competitor in China, if Google had been allowed to compete. Dr. Mary Ann O’Donnell has discovered that a particular very taboo search term is apparently no longer taboo. She perceives a significant power shift, concluding, “it signals the end of the Jiang era. The Two Meetings are churning relentlessly forward and it seems that power has been wrested from Jiang [Zemin]’s hands.” This raises other questions about the possibility that other related and extremely sensitive topics might be opened up in the near future, and what that indicates regarding the character and attitudes toward information of China’s next batch of leaders.

This is especially intriguing given the recent political “Bo-mb” dropped by the authorities last week, and the power struggles that may indicate.

I’d describe her post more clearly if it weren’t loaded with sensitive search terms. So you’ll have to go read it yourself.

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