CHINA TRANSLATED: Giving the Politically Correct Answers in CCTV Interviews

December 16, 2015 Updated: December 18, 2015

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Joke of the Week

In a street interview, China Central Television (CCTV) asked a young man: “What can you do for the mother country?” He replied: “Emigration, such that whatever I experience, it won’t make any unnecessary trouble for my motherland.” The reporter then asked the second question: “What would you consider patriotic behavior?” He responded: “Emigration, such that whatever I experience, it will always bring trouble to capitalist countries.”

Explanation: CCTV has been mocked by many netizens for asking questions in street interviews that are aimed at eliciting “politically correct” replies, spreading so-called “positive energy“.  Such questions include: “What would you consider patriotic behavior and unpatriotic behavior?” or “Are you happy with your life now?” Normally Chinese people don’t give honest answers due to the underlying political pressure they’re being put under (and “incorrect” responses are unlikely to be broadcast anyway.) CCTV reporters have also been found in some cases to coach their interviewees.

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Best of Weibo

The smog worsens, but “civilization progresses”

@Zannmuling: “Back in 2008, there were a crazy number of complaints online against foreign athletes who wore masks during the Olympic Games. The complaints said that such an act was as an ‘insult to China.’ But so far, I haven’t seen any such complaints about the fact that armed police recently began wearing masks when patrolling Tiananmen Square. Indeed, progress is being made.”

@YE5MQ5Vtp2jlWX7: “…What China really needs is not to ‘go global,’ but instead simply to return to humanity.”

Better Death than a Sibling

One of the hottest Weibo posts over the past week is a video of a single child making a suicide threat to his mother, who planned to have another child (the one-child policy was recently lifted, allowing parents to have two children.) The boy said: “Let me clarify this: if you dare to give birth to another child, I would rather take a little cash with me, catch a taxi somewhere, and starve to death when you’re asleep.”

Similar stories had been noted before. Xiamen Television once reported that a single child forced his parents to sign a “guarantee” pledging to “always love him more than the second child.” A 13-year-old girl in Wuhan attempted to slit her wrists after learning that her mother was pregnant; the mother later had an abortion.

There were some suspicions that the video may be staged. But many commenters found it genuine, and attributed the astonishing level of childish egotism to the single-child policy and the loss of Chinese traditions in family education. A Taiwanese education expert said in an interview that the sort of education and value system that many Chinese are socialized in goes some way to explaining the outburst.

A $20 Million Mistake

Last Thursday, the engine of an Air China passenger plane caught fire before taking off at Fuzhou Airport. The spark was observed by a Fuzhou Airlines plane from behind, and the crew immediately reported what they saw. Fire trucks responded in minutes, and then made a crucial mistake—they sprayed the witnessing Fuzhou Airlines plane with white foam until alerted by the airport’s control center that they were aiming at the wrong one.

Fortunately, the fire was put out in time and nobody was injured. Unfortunately, nearly $20 million has to be spent on the Fuzhou Airlines plane to repair two of its engines, whose cores had been impaired by the foam. Fuzhou Airlines has submitted an insurance claim.

The lack of basic firefighting skills was criticized by a professional firefighter quoted in the Chinese media, who said that airport firefighters mistaking normal engine emissions for smoke from a fire “really shouldn’t happen.” Some Internet commentators compared the loss with the relatively lower indemnity provided to air crash victims in China, quipping that: “It seems that the plane is worth more than human lives.”