Saturday, April 22, 2006

What Wang REALLY yelled at Chairman Hu...


[an excerpt]:

Problem is that Wang also said, in Mandarin, "Chairman Hu, your days are not many".

Yes, it's stupid to consider that as a threat, because telling someone that "their days are numbered", as it would be phrased in English, can be taken more than one way. However, when bloggers either don't know, or don't care through some form of ethnocentrism, what was also said in another language they are, in practice, engaging in a sort of cherry picking. Or, more likely, saying Wang is being charged with intimidation for making an English-phrased clarion call for freedom and tolerance, rather than including a phrase that could be taken by idiots as a threat, makes for better outrage. In which case, the people doing the picking don't give a shit about some language like Mandarin that only a handful of people speak. If, by "handful" you mean "the plurality of people on the planet". *

Even ABC News was more accurate:

Wang did not break the law when she yelled "Stop oppressing the Falun Gong" at Hu or even when she unfurled a red-and-yellow banner of the Falun Gong, a religious movement banned in China. Wang broke the law — crossing from First Amendment protected speech to criminality — according to government prosecutor Angela George, when she yelled "Your time is running out," to Hu, and later, when she screamed "Anything you have done will come back to you in this life."

Considering that intimidation is idiotic. Any number of wingnut bloggers and talk radio whores make more overt threats on a daily basis. But the phrasing has to be acknowledged.

Characterizing the entirety of Wang's remarks as "Stop him from killing" is simply ignorance or selectivity.

Also, acknowledging what Wang said in Mandarin raises an interesting question of translation. According to media reports, the Secret Service claims Wang said to Hu "Your time is running out" when, in fact, she said "Hu Zhu xi ni de rizi bu duo le" which transliterates as "Hu Chairman your days not many", Chinese and English being similar in syntax.

What Wang said would commonly be understood in Chinese, as well as English, as "your days are numbered" in the same way the days of the lame duck Bush presidency are "numbered".

The Secret Service translation seems to be oddly just a little more threatening than the phrase would normally be rendered. Claiming that Wang said "Your time is running out" isn't translation, it's literary license.

I'll even break it down: "Hu (his name) Zhu Xi (Chairman) ni de (your) rizi (days) bu (not) duo le (many)".

"Your time is running out" isn't even close.

Read the full WaPo article on the charges against Wang for some, well, interesting and trite legalese pseudo-reasoning:

During yesterday's court hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George argued that Wang's statements were not protected by the First Amendment.

"She was yelling at the president," George said. "You can't walk into a theater and yell 'Fire!' The First Amendment does not permit her to engage in criminal conduct.

She was yelling at the president, which is ostensibly criminal. However, the charges were brought against Wang based on what she said in Chinese. President Bush is barely articulate in English. I doubt he speaks Chinese.

[Read whole post at link on top]


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