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” 卫生 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):
Zònghé zhìlǐ chūshēng rénkǒu xìngbié bǐ huá fù zhī gēn Comprehensively managing the birth population sex ratio is the ROOT of China’s restoration.
chūshēng rénkǒu xìngbié bǐ shì guānyú zhōnghuá mínzú fányǎn shēngxī, shèngshuāi xìng bài dàshì Birth population sex ratio concerns the Chinese people’s propagation; it’s a matter of prosperity or decline, flourishing or withering.
Chūshēng rénkǒu xìngbié bǐ, shì zhǐ yīdìng dìyù rénkǒu mǒu yī shíqí (tōngcháng yī nián) nèi chūshēng de nán yīng zǒngshù yǔ nǚ yīng zǒng shǔ de bǐzhí, yòng 100 míng chūshēng nǚ yīng shù xiāng duìyìng de chūshēng nán yīng shù biǎoshì. Zhèngcháng fànwéi shì měi chūshēng 100 míng nǚ yīng, nán yīng chūshēng shù zài 103-107 míng zhī jiān. Birth population sex ratio refers to the population ratio of total male babies born to total female babies born within a certain time period (usually one year), and is expressed using the figure of 100 female babies born to correspond to the number of male babies born. The normal range is within 103-107 male babies born for every 100 female babies born.
Rúguǒ chūshēng rénkǒu xìngbié bǐ chíxù chāochū zhèngcháng bǐ liè fànwéi, jiāng dǎozhì rénkǒu xìngbié jiégòu shīhéng, duì jiānglái de hūnyīn hé jiātíng xíngchéng chōngjí, jìn’ér yǐngxiǎng shèhuì wěndìng yǔ héxié. If the birth population sex ratio continues to exceed normal parameters, this will lead to population sex composition unbalance, seriously affecting the future formation of marriage and family, and from that influence social stability and harmoniousness.
zhuǎnbiàn jiù de shēngyù guānniàn, ràng quán shèhuì bù zài yǒu xìngbié qíshì Transform the old childbearing notions, make the whole society no longer have gender discrimination.
Qīngdǎo shì wèishēng héxié jìhuà shēngyù wěiyuánhuì Qingdao City Health, Harmoniousness and Family Planning Committee
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The background of the poster has an iconic Qingdao landmark (May 4th Square) and the Chinese character 女 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:
社会主义核心价值观 社会主义核心价值观是当代中国价值追求的精神之纲 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:
我没有穿内裤 “I’m not wearing underwear” 我没有穿内裤
wǒ méiyǒu chuān nèikù