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Rachel Lu

Headline Fail – Progress the Chinese Way, with Traffic Jams

We feel bad for editors of local newspapers in China, we do. They need to balance the need to comply with the Propaganda Department’s demand for Great Leap Forward-style slogans and their readers’ preference for tabloidy headlines. Occasionally, the poor sleep-deprived souls slip up.

On October 1, Chongqing Evening News published the headline that translates literally as “Full of Hope, We Strive to Progress on China’s Roads,” {{1}}[[1]]奋进在充满希望的中国道路上[[1]] (a better translation is “the Chinese Way”) — a mandatory headline that is identical to the People’s Daily’s headline on the same day. In gigantic blue font below, however, Chongqing Evening News declared that “Worst Traffic Jam in History” was taking place on China’s roads with a photo of two men playing tennis while being stuck in the epic gridlock that paralyzed much of China’s highway on September 30, the beginning of a weeklong holiday period in China. 

We wish the editors of Chongqing Evening News the best of luck and not finding themselves stuck in traffic jams on the way to explain this incident to their propaganda department bosses. 

 

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.