As China’s battle against the coronavirus outbreak continues, anger has spilled over online, testing the leadership’s capacity to achieve what it calls “guidance of public opinion,” or the control of society through information control. Users on WeChat, Weibo and many other platforms have shared stories, photos, video, or simply vented their rage at what many see as the inadequacy of the government’s response, particularly at the early stages of the outbreak.
And as communities across China mobilize against the spread of the disease, they are naturally exercising one very creative (and often revealing) aspect of the country’s political culture – the ubiquitous “slogan,” or biāoyǔ (标语). Such slogans, which may deal with local or national policy issues as well as the personal — everything from (in the past) the one-child policy, to pushing basic social mores (like caring for one’s parents), to protests over the forced demolition of one’s home — are generally very simple in structure, direct (or even crude) and easy to understand.
Here we share a number of current slogans invented in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak that have appeared on social media (see link above) and are reportedly from communities across China. We provide in some cases only approximate translations for these clever and frightful creations, some quite difficult to fully convey.
A face mask or a breathing tube,
choice, it’s up to you.
home with your disease,
make your parents pleased.
And your conscience is bad.
not wearing a mask,
Spend big getting
cured in your sickbed.
Not gathering for a feast is so you can eat in the future,
others is so you still have relatives in the future.