I’m on my third Chinese gym in three years. The first one got kicked out by the landlord (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees). The second one operated with no electricity for over a month before the management suddenly locked the doors and disappeared (and didn’t refund the remainder of our membership fees).
But my third and current Chinese gym has Chairman Mao speaking English:
I was sold.
It was also the cheapest by far of my remaining options.
But it turns out this quote from some calligraphy by Chairman Mao in 1952 is famous, and was used in propaganda posters:
For several months, Qingdao has been flooded with propaganda posters and billboards relating to the ongoing “sanitation” å«ç”Ÿ campaign, encompassing everything from tidying up (or clearing off) street markets and sidewalk BBQs to promoting food safety and healthy eating habits.
But here’s one new anti-gendercide poster from our neighbourhood bulletin board that I hadn’t seen before today, from the “Qingdao City Sanitation, Harmoniousness and Family Planning Committee” (text and overly-literal translation below):
The background of the poster has an iconic Qingdao landmark (May 4th Square) and the Chinese character å¥³ in various styles.
Books like Leftover Women: the Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China by Leta Hong Fincher demonstrate that social stability is the government’s priority, and authorities willingly exacerbate gender inequality in pursuit of that goal, particularly through the promotion of the “leftover women” concept, which is designed to push “high-quality” women out of the workplace and into the nursery. From their perspective, skewed gender ratios and a large population of hopeless bachelors threaten social stability; gender inequality per se, not so much.
To find out what “democracy is a belief” is maybe intended to mean, and how Chinese communists have the gall to promote “rule of law” and “democracy”, see Joann Pittman’s In Democracy We Trust. (She blogs faster than me, and beat me to the punch with the Princess Bride video.)
It’s only February, but here’s my submission for Chinglish of the Year — Shangdong Art Institute Media College students’ “I Speak for Socialist Core Values” posters. Click each Chinese word to view its poster, mouseover for pronunciation:
I hope it’s abundantly clear that in Chinese Communist Party-land, these words — freedom, democracy, rule of law — don’t mean the same thing that they do in the West. It has nothing to do with Chinglish or mistranslation; they’re using different definitions.
Below are two current propaganda posters from our neighbourhood bulletin boards. Mouseover the Chinese for translation and pronunciation:
ç¤¾ä¼šä¸»ä¹‰æ ¸å¿ƒä»·å€¼è§‚ ç¤¾ä¼šä¸»ä¹‰æ ¸å¿ƒä»·å€¼è§‚æ˜¯å½“ä»£ä¸å›½ä»·å€¼è¿½æ±‚çš„ç²¾ç¥žä¹‹çº² Socialism Core Values
Socialism Core Values are the guiding principle of the spirit that contemporary Chinese values are seeking.
“Weird Al” Yankovic is promoting his latest album Mandatory Fun with two Chinese propaganda poster spoofs. One poster has Chinese. To find out what it says, mouseover the Chinese characters here or scroll down: