Putin knows… t-shirts

The latest t-shirt design, inspired by an Economist cover (pictured below):

Putin knows

Putin” in Chinese is 普京. 知道 means “to know.” If you think it doesn’t make sense, you’re thinking too much. It’s just a t-shirt.

The black t-shirt looks better, but the white t-shirt is a lot cheaper. Blame CafePress.

I’ve been busy writing papers lately, so I haven’t been working on t-shirts much, but there are others in the Sinosplice Shop, of course. Thanks for your support!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. That’s just….. scary. I think you’re going to need a Russian version, too, though. That would be something like “Putin znaet”, I think, but it’s been 10 or 11 years since I studied Russian. I’ll see if I can put that in Cyrillic when I’ve had my breakfast… Ah, here we go: Путин знает. But I hope somebody comes along and corrects my Russian before you go putting that on any t-shirts.

  2. If you do a Russian version he’ll kill you.

  3. Actually, I think the most appropriate Putin shirt would be no shirt at all.

    Make money, John! 🙂

  4. The article you based it on was a waste of ink. The t-shirt however…I want one. No. I need one.

  5. Аффтар жжот!

  6. Do you really earn any considerable amount of money selling those t-shirts or you only sell them to pay your hosting?

  7. Kind of like “Bo Knows” back in the day, only…more ominous…

  8. chriswaugh,

    Nah, I want to keep it in Chinese to preserve the “WTF” factor (or the “subtle link,” however you want to look at it). This website is still pretty consistently China-focused.

  9. kmm,

    Yeah, there’s a reason it’s not blatantly negative… 🙂

  10. Carl,

    I didn’t actually read the article yet… but glad you like the shirt!

  11. Dmitry,


    As for your question… neither. I just do it because I enjoy it. CafePress premium hosting isn’t free, and at the moment I’m covering that (my profit margins per shirt are also quite low). I do it because I enjoy it, and I’m satisfied with the results for now.

  12. You should make one with a cat on the front that says:

    Or a shirt with Deng Xiaoping carrying grocery bags that says:
    Done Shopping!

  13. John, I love your t-shirts… Can’t help but laugh out loud whenever i click on your cafe press shop.

  14. Huh, can I give some unsolicited advice?

    First, as a Chinese resident it’s hard to get things off Cafepress. I’m 99% sure I’ve seen Chinese versions of cafepress – maybe it’s worth putting your shirts up on there?

    Also, if there’s going to be a lot of these shirt designs, maybe instead of being posted on “life,” there should be a separate “shirts” heading, next to home china language photos life

  15. Jack Sideburns Says: September 3, 2007 at 11:36 am

    how about 如果不被允许, 我就不能转世

  16. You will know you are successful when you start to see pirated versions of your T-shirts for sale at local grocery stores.

  17. Hey John,
    what about a T-shirt with the slogan “对不起,你被和谐了!“ perhaps with a borg face or cubus as the picture?


  18. ups that Chinese doesn’t look nice.

  19. Like the T-shirt Zola was wearing at barCamp on Saturday:

  20. hehe

    I once got a 普京知道 as an equivalent to “Who knows?!” in a sms conversation. After the shock/laughter it had me wondering if there was anything to it. I think not. But the joke is definitely Chinese!

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