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Mark Zuckerberg Delights Tsinghua Audience by Speaking Exclusively in Putonghua

Posted: 10/23/2014 2:31 pm

zuckerberg speaking chinese at tsinghuaMark Zuckerberg’s visit to Tsinghua University yesterday revealed some important announcements, but it wasn’t what he said so much as the way he said it that has delighted Chinese audiences.

The founder and CEO of Facebook spoke exclusively in Putonghua at a sit-down interview in front of Tsinghua students. For 29 minutes, Zuckerberg spoke fluent Chinese and smoothly answered questions despite having a hard English accent and with difficultly getting his tones correct.

Zuckerberg received a round of applause by beginning the talk with “大家好” (hello, everybody), and continued to astound the awestruck crowd by continuing in Chinese. The only English spoken during the talk was by the host when he introduced Zuckerberg.

zuckerberg speaking chinese at tsinghuaZuckerberg announced some of his plans, such as the hiring of about 20 Chinese nationals to work abroad, something that has happened annually for awhile. But Zuckerberg usually fielded much simpler questions, all pertaining to China.

When answering “Why did you learn Chinese?”, Zuckerberg said that his wife Priscilla Chan is Chinese, a statement that drew a large round of applause from the audience. He explained that her grandmother only speaks Chinese, and he wanted a way to converse with her.

Besides saying he wanted to learn more about Chinese culture, Zuckerberg said that Chinese is a difficult language to learn, and that he wanted a challenge. To this, the host said, ”Today, let’s all challenge Mark.”

zuckerberg speaking chinese at tsinghuaZuckerberg had earlier met Chen Jining, the principal of Tsinghua, had and held talks about cultivating talent and opportunities to work together. Zuckerberg has agreed to serve as an advisor at Tsinghua.

Zuckerberg has been learning Putonghua since at least 2010.

Here is video so you can hear Zuckerberg’s Putonghua for yourself:

Photos: screencaps from QQ


Photos of Dog Swirling in Washing Machine Meant to Incite Hong Kongers

Posted: 09/7/2014 3:13 pm

washing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensions

Jacky Lo is a Cantonese-speaking Facebook user who commonly uploads pictures of his fancy car, a nice bottle of wine, or a loose pile of rolled-up cash. However, Lo decided to one-up himself on August 12 when he uploaded pictures of a dog in a washing machine:

washing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensions

Lo’s comments attached to these photographs read:

Here’s a really fast way to help your dog take a bath: first, soak it, then wash it, afterwards get rid of the water, and there you go! All clean, without the hassle!

Even though the picture gallery suggests that this small dog survived his ordeal with pictures depicting a wet dog at its tail end, Lo confirms to a Facebook friend that the dog has indeed died.

Bad Canto provided a translation of this conversation:

washing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensions

Agnes: Is the dog dead?

Lo: Yes! You wanna see it?

Agnes: OK! You’ll certainly get famous!

Lo: Whatever. I’ve nothing to be scared of.

Agnes: DON’T delete anything from your Facebook!!! Including THIS album!

Lo: I don’t care what you guys are going to do! Do I look like I’m afraid of you guys?

Agnes: That means you don’t think animal cruelty is a problem?

Lo: I don’t even think human cruelty is a problem, not to mention cats and dogs!

This conversation took place just as the pictures started to go viral on the Hong Kong internet. Lo’s next Facebook update came on September 1 when he wrote a rant about the radicalisation of Hong Kong youth.

Here is the translation, again provided by Bad Canto:

jacky lo rant

There are so many young and radical Hongkongers who treat Chinese badly. I only want to question your mindset: To all noble Hongkongers, where did you ancestors come from? If your ancestors came from China, could I interpret that “the ancestors of Hongkongers are Mainlanders. Therefore, Mainlanders are the ancestors of Hongkongers!” You are Chinese. We are of the same race and speak the same language. Our differences are just government systems, law enforcement, and law. I hope you can understand the relationship between people and the government. Don’t blame the Chinese people simply because you hate the Communist Party. You must think rationally!

On September 4, Lo made wrote another rant about Hongkongers, perhaps stemming from the attention his “dog in a washing machine” photographs were getting. Again, from Bad Canto:

jacky lo rant

The intelligence of young Hongkongers drives me nuts.  They listen to commands of the reactionaries and completely lose their rationality. They have become running dogs of the politics and have no independent thinking. They are so silly to say “Everybody hates Chinese!” Haha, duke, from where did you learn your history lessons? Among the 1 million Hongkongers, how many of them were indigenous residents? (* 1M Hongkongers refers to the population of pre-WW2 Hong Kong). If your ancestor didn’t come from China, could it be that your are the products of the Japanese during WW2? Young Hongkongers are doomed by anti-China politicians!

Before we conflate all of these different elements into a single generalisation, we should remember that Lo likely enjoys the bad attention he receives. As a troll of the highest level, Lo appears to have gotten his standing through his wealth and family. Speaking out against him is something he seems to crave.

If Lo isn’t at all “afraid of you guys”, then he won’t mind talking to the SPCA.

Here’s Lo, followed by more pictures from the August 12 photo album:

jacky lowashing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensions

washing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensionswashing machine dog animal abuse hk mainland tensions

[h/t Bad Canto]


Photos: Bad Canto, Facebook


Facebook may find a way to enter China

Posted: 04/20/2011 11:26 am

One of the downsides of living up here is the slow and heavily-censored internet. Unless you have a VPN, sites like Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook are all blocked. LinkedIn and Google/Gmail also have their moments.

The blocking of social networking sites began around the time of the riots in Urumqi in 2009. Those holed up in Zhongnanhai figured Twitter was a key tool leading to the revolt in Tehran that year, and it was too risky to hand that tool to the angry masses in Xinjiang. China has been proven correct on its fears: this year Facebook and Twitter have both been key communications and information tools in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Syria.

Facebook probably never intended itself to be a political tool, but it certainly makes a good one. That aside, it remains focused on growing the already largest social network in the world, and China remains a big black hole. China has more people online than any other country, yet is an area that Facebook has been unable to penetrate due to restrictions on its service here and hot local social networking sites such as Ren Ren Wang and Kaixing Wang, not to mention Sina Weibo (which is more akin to Twitter).

But it won’t give up. Mark Zuckerberg, who has a Chinese girlfriend and is learning Putonghua, toured China last year and met with executives of Baidu, China’s leading search engine. That could have been a catalyst for this deal (courtesy of Bloomberg):

Facebook Inc. has signed an agreement with Baidu Inc. to set up a social-networking website in China, reported, citing unidentified employees at the Chinese search-engine company.

The agreement followed several meetings between Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Baidu CEO Robin Li, reported on its website today. The China website won’t be integrated with Facebook’s international service, and the start date is not confirmed, according to the report.

Some analysts have already said, if this new site is not integrated with Facebook’s global network, they’ll have a hard time competing with the established players (mentioned above).

Where does that leave us? Well, considering the Jasmine Revolutions and high inflation in China, the authentic Facebook won’t be made available here anytime soon. And if you can read Chinese, chances are your Chinese friends are already on Renren or Kaixin. So for your typical expatriate who wants to use a social network, the options are learn to read Chinese or use a VPN.

And on that note, if you need VPN advice, check out our earlier article on the topic.

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