Friday, October 05, 2007

Tiananmen Square Cleanup Efforts

I saw this article and couldn't help thinking back on my time in Tiananmen Square (and lots of other parts of China where I've been that were much dirtier). It's nice to see the efforts going on to get the place sparkling clean.

However, there is something a little troubling about the tone of the article, isn't there? I was talking with a friend from China some time back. She had just come home from a holiday, and was commenting that the signs at tourist sites often offer a very different set of instructions in Chinese than in English. The English sign might have a little polite reminder ("No littering please," or perhaps some cuter, more creative version), but the Chinese version will be more direct, and specific. ("Don't litter, don't spit..." with a long list of "don'ts" following). I asked her if she found this insulting. She said not so much -- more that she feels sad that tourist sites (both inside and outside China) feel the need for htis sort of sign, and a little embarrassed that this is the general view.

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