Tag: propaganda


21

Sep 2016

Rise Up and Resist the Motor Scooters!

I noticed these posters near my home a while back:

Untitled

Untitled

They’re propaganda from the Changning District police department, telling people not to tolerate 10 types of illegal behavior. But the first 7 of the 10 items in the list relate specifically to 机动车 (motorized scooters), including illegal parking, blocking lanes of traffic, reckless driving, etc. All are extremely common on the streets of Shanghai.

These 机动车 are often blamed for bad accidents, and the drivers of motor scooters can be seen to flagrantly ignore traffic lights and other traffic rules all over Shanghai. The drivers frequently do not even have legal plates. Many in Shanghai (especially drivers of cars, but also pedestrians) have been hoping for a police crackdown for quite a while, but normally very little is done. There are rumors that Shanghai may eventually ban them entirely. I sure wouldn’t mind.

But what’s with the fists in the graphics above? Is this some kind of subtle suggestion that violence is the answer? It definitely feels odd. (Although the graphic of the fist punching through the wall sums up pretty well how the drivers of these motor scooters can make other residents of Shanghai feel.)

Here’s one that seems a little less extreme (and more in keeping with the usual propaganda style):

Untitled

Here’s the text of the 10 illegal behaviors (same on all 3 posters) if you’d like to study it:

  1. 机动车乱停车
  2. 机动车乱占道
  3. 机动车乱变道
  4. 机动车乱鸣号
  5. 机动车涉牌违法
  6. 机动车逆向行驶
  7. 机动车路口违法行为
  8. 非机动车乱骑行
  9. 行人乱穿马路
  10. 非法运客

Note: This article originally mistranslated 机动车 as “electric scooter,” when “motorized vehicle” (normally referring to a scooter, not an automobile) is the correct meaning. “Electric scooter” would be 电动车 or 电瓶车 (both normally referring to scooters, not electric cars). Thank you to reader E.T. for pointing out this mistake!


02

Jul 2015

Elementary School Volunteers Push for a More Civilized Shanghai

I was impressed by the “propaganda” handed to me in the subway yesterday. I had seen lots of elementary schoolers on the streets engaged in some sort of volunteer work, and then in the subway I experienced it firsthand. Here’s the flyer I was given:

Civilized Pet Care (Propaganda Flyer)

The “” represents the barking sound a dog makes in Chinese. (In panel 3, the little girls is saying “妈妈“, “mommy.”) The characters in the lower righthand corner read:

> 从我做起 [it starts with me]

> 文明养宠 [civilized care for pets]

> 长宁实验小学 [Changning Experimental Elementary School]

What impressed me was the idea that the school is (1) educating the kids to be “civilized” (文明), but also (2) trying to use the kids to influence the less civilized adults (who are arguably most in need of this type of education, but also prone to negatively influencing the kids). Made me think of the brilliant Thai anti-smoking ad that also used kids.

Here’s hoping these efforts pay off! We’d all like a “more civilized” Shanghai (with less dog poop).


09

Dec 2014

9 Polite Phrases for the Subway

The following photo was snapped in a subway. It’s a public service announcement (or “propaganda poster,” if you prefer) that reminds passengers to be polite. I thought it was kind of interesting to take note of what expressions were chosen to illustrate politeness.

Polite Words and Phrases

Here are the words, with pinyin and English translations, and a few observations of my own:

  1. : please

    This clearly polite word is nevertheless just a little awkward for foreigners trying to speak polite Chinese, because it’s not nearly as ubiquitous as “please” is in English.

  2. 没关系: it doesn’t matter

    The nice response to “I’m sorry.”

  3. 同志: comrade

    This word is a bit old-fashioned. It’s also modern slang for a gay person.

  4. 您请坐: please sit

    is the polite form of , plus you have the in there. You might say this if you were being super polite to an elderly passenger while giving up your seat. ( is also more common in northern China.)

  5. 谢谢: thank you

    Can’t go wrong with “thank you!”

  6. 您好: hello

    is the polite form of , so this is the politer form of 你好. (It also poses a translation problem… Maybe you come close if you use “hi” for 你好 and “hello” for 您好? The difference is still bigger in Chinese, though.) The expression 您好 also reminds me of customer service reps.

  7. 不客气: you’re welcome

    Literally, “don’t be polite.”

  8. 再见: goodbye

    I never really thought of this as polite, exactly, but I guess it’s better than taking leave without a word?

  9. 对不起: I’m sorry

    Of course.


18

Jan 2006

Law Abiding Education

It’s time for a special treat. In fact, today you get two great treats in one: Flash animation and modern Chinese propaganda! It’s cheesey. It’s trippy. It’s got music, a disembodied constitution-procuring hand, voting, lime green birds, and a scene stolen directly from Disney’s “It’s a Small World After All.” Perhaps most mystifying is the fact that for all the people that appear in the cartoon, there is exactly one nose. Check it out for yourself.

Lovin' that Constitution


27

Sep 2005

Those Cute Shanghainese

I’ve seen it so many times in Shanghai… propaganda telling Shanghai residents to “be a cute Shanghainese.” The word for cute in Chinese is 可爱, and it’s not one of those tricky words to translate. “Cute” is pretty much just “可爱,” and “可爱” is pretty much just “cute” (except when it’s being “lovely”). So why is the government always telling its people to be cute? I have no clue.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to get a picture of one of those “be a cute Shanghainese” messages for a long time, but never have. Brad at Shanghai Streets recently captured a good example of it, so I guess I can stop trying.

Cute Shanghainese


16

Sep 2005

Safe and Sound in Shanghai

Exciting news! The Public Control Department of Shanghai Public Security Bureau has teamed up with the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Shanghai Public Security Bureau to produce yet another free, attractive, and informative propaganda pamphlet entitled SAFE AND SOUND IS THE WORLD’S BEST WISHES!

SafeandSound0185

Please don’t think this is an entry devoted to making fun of Chinglish. That joke is a little tired by now, and I think it’s sort of mean-spirited sometimes. Rather, I would like to share with everyone what I learned from this educational pamphlet. Here we go!

  1. Pickpockets mix with visitors! Even when going sightseeing! Those crafty devils. Therefore beware.

    SafeandSound0186

  2. Your car is not a safe. So you know all those sacks you have marked with dollar signs and stuffed full of cash? Don’t keep them in your car. They could get stolen. You should carry them around with you.

    SafeandSound0187

  3. Apparently my foreigner habit of relaxing at night with a wineglass of XO whiskey in front of my flatscreen TV, my back to the open door, is not safe. Good to know!
  4. My habit of gravitating toward stealing and snatching could actually result in me getting my own things stolen! I should in fact stay far away from stealing and snatching.

    SafeandSound0188

  5. The theft situation in Shanghai is so bad that luggage actually steals other luggage!
  6. Here in Shanghai we don’t just “eat.” Oh, no… We enjoy delicacies, you country bumpkin! (Meanwhile our things are getting stolen.)

    SafeandSound0189

  7. You know that guy that comes into the office with a big black sack and rummages through our stuff? Be suspicious of him!

    SafeandSound0190

The production of this pamphlet was truly a kindness on the part of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. There are some things we foreigners just don’t understand.


12

Jun 2005

Precious Propaganda

Changning District Propaganda Handbook Cover

Changning District Propaganda Handbook

The other day on the way home I checked my mail. There was no real mail; it was mainly just flyers for satellite TV installation. There was also a little booklet which was quite clearly unrelated to satellite TV, however. It was a Changning District propaganda handbook issued by the government. “What do you want that for?” my girlfriend asked. “Just throw it out.” She doesn’t really get why I would find something like this interesting.

What I find most interesting is that the government still goes to such trouble to even publish something like this. The little booklet is obviously very professionally printed. It’s glossy, in full color. How many people were involved in its publication, and how much money was spent on its production? Was it distributed to all residences in Changning District? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but the government is clearly still putting a lot of money into traditional forms of propaganda that seem ineffectual to a new generation of Chinese.

I’m not about to read the whole booklet cover to cover, but it does have some amusing sections. I recommend the Q&A section (30 questions) and the Slogan section (50 slogans). Be sure to click on the “ALL SIZES” button at the top of the photo to see the pages in a readable size. I find Chinese propaganda particularly difficult to translate, so I’m not going to bother. If you read Chinese, have a look. If someone wants to put up a translation, that would be even cooler.