The “8 Don’t Asks”

Mainlanders, especially the government, love expressing policy in neat little lists: the Three Represents, the Four Modernizations, etc. They’ve been doing this for decades. Now, we have the “Eight Don’t Asks” (八不问), as in, eight things you shouldn’t say to foreign visitors during the Olympics.

Today I happened across a new series of posters on the neighborhood propaganda bulletin boards about etiquette to be observed during the Olympics. … I stopped to take a closer look. Most delightful was a list of eight questions Chinese are not to ask us, which if observed, would leave these curious and enthusiastic hosts with essentially nothing with which to make conversation.

Personally, I feel sad for the legions of curious and enthusiastic Mainlanders, much like our neighbours, who must be wondering what there is left to talk about!