The Nanfang / Blog

Chinese-Speaking Laowai Embarrasses Newspaper by Debunking Propaganda Story

Posted: 12/23/2014 4:55 am

Let this be a lesson for any state news outlets that want to drum up favorable coverage by using innocent foreigners in propaganda stories: choose a foreigner that does not speak Chinese or have a huge vocabulary of Chinese curse words.

Chongqing Evening News, a major newspaper in the city, discovered this the hard way. On December 19, the paper published a photo essay called “The Story of the Reception Bench at the Police Station,” a piece that documented some of the drug addicts, drunks, derelicts and various other people who had to wait on the police station’s bench. One such person was a foreigner who had some housing issue. The photo essay showed a police officer, who had apparently passed English Level Eight in China, helping the foreigner in English on September 8.

In a detailed description, it said: “Police officer Wan Pitao is using English to help a foreign student in Shapingba District … Wan Pitao graduated from Sichuan Foreign Languages University and is the only police officer who passed the Level Eight English Test.”

Little did the newspaper know, but the foreigner in the piece reads and speaks Chinese and said the story was inaccurate. He took to Weibo to rebuff the story, claiming the police officer in the photo didn’t speak English, nor did he solve his problem, nor did he give his permission for his photo to be used.

The foreigner, known on Weibo as @boogjohn小觉, has been living in China for nine years. He said he used Chinese to communicate with the officer and wasn’t aware a photographer was there taking his picture. In addition, the officer was unable to help him solve his problem immediately, adding it dragged on into the next day.

The original post, which has been deleted from the user’s account but is still circulating as a screen grab, was filled with colloquial Chinese and local Chongqing curses. Some online user even said, “Teach me Chinese. I think you must have passed Level Eight Chinese,” reported Nandu.

The foreigner wrote again on December 21:

Stop, alright? I am just a happy person. How come a post like this goes viral on the Internet? I don’t have any intentions. But some Chinese media are quite stupid too by doing such useless things. Everyone loves to paste gold on one’s face, but I am just very straight forward.

Within just a few days, boogjohn小觉 got 67,000 followers.

So far, no word from the local police station.



New “Red Song” Called “Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng” Goes Viral in China

Posted: 11/25/2014 3:22 pm

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaThe passing of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976 was supposed to end China’s cult of personality around a central, all-powerful leader. Each leader since Mao has been successively weaker, according to popular opinion, but that trend may have come to a close. Current President Xi Jinping has a charisma and knack for getting attention that hasn’t been seen since Deng Xiaoping. He’s already affectionately referred to as “Xi Dada” while his famous and glamorous wife Peng Liyuan has people online in China swooning.

The latest tribute to the Chinese leader has spread on the Chinese internet faster than re-gifted mooncakes. A group of Henan musicians have created a video for a song called Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng that has already been viewed more than 20 million times. It has been online a mere five days.

Lyricist Song Zhigang was inspired to write the song while watching CCTV on November 16, and calls the work “a true expression of my innermost feelings”.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaThe popularity and subject matter of Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng is similar to a “red song”, which are ultra-patriotic songs that originated during China’s Revolutionary Era. Usually praising the Chinese Communist Party or serving as a call to arms to protect the motherland, red songs aren’t usually about any a single person except for those that praise Chairman Mao.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president china

Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng shares the qualities of a red song by promoting national harmony and establishing an ideal figurehead, namely Xi. Furthermore, the first lyric of this song is very similar to a lyric from the red song Red Asia, but substitutes “Mao Zedong” with “Uncle Xi”.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaHere are the lyrics, translated from Chinese:

Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng

Out of China has appeared Uncle Xi
a man willing to fight tigers of any size
and is not afraid of anything
Whenever I dream, I hope he appears!
China also has a Mummy Peng
who is given only the most beautiful flowers
may she be blessed, may she have good fortune
happiness for the family, country, and the entire world!

Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
this kind of love is like a legend
Mummy Peng loves Uncle Xi
of all the love in the world, it is the greatest love of all

Men must learn to be like Uncle Xi
Women must learn to be like Mummy Peng
and take after them and love each other
with a warmth that can warm ten thousand families!
Men must learn to be like Uncle Xi
Women must learn to be like Mummy Peng
and take after them and love each other
those in love are those that can win the world

(children rap breakdown)
There is a love called Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
when they are together, he is always smiling and happily looking upon her
There is a love called Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
Hand in hand, her smile is the most beautiful flower of all

Here is the Youku version, which has 1.5 million hits:

This news report quotes some of the positive comments about the vidoe. “Honestly, I was moved to tears by watching it. Their love is very moving and warm,” one said. Another: I love Mummy Peng most of all. She is dignified and beautiful, and it is very easy for me to say that she is the perfect model of what I want my girlfriend to be!!”

However, other commentators are less open with their praise. These comments were found on Youku:

Don’t know why, but when I hear this song, I feel embarrassed.

Never heard about propaganda studies? Don’t know about the theory of agenda implementation and the theory of cultivation? Become a member of the media; please read up on it.


Heard this yesterday, think that the people (who made this) are sick, and should be locked up.

Crazy; taken too many drugs.

All of a sudden, I feel it’s a bit like the adoration people used to do old China

Hahahaha, lmao. As I listened to this, I laughed just as much I felt embarrassed.

Hahaha. I have a phobia of becoming embarrassed, so I don’t dare to click on the video.

The overwhelming response to the song means there are already rumors that Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng will be performed during the most important show of the year, the Spring Festival Gala. Singer Yu Runze said that CCTV hasn’t contacted them yet, but hopes they will “come find us”.

The personal relationship between Xi and Peng has been in the news lately.

On November 10 during the APEC summit, tiger-releasing Russian President Vladimir Putin was shown on live television wrapping a coat around the shoulders of Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan. Any mention of this romantic gesture in the Chinese media was later censored, raising speculation it harms the image of the marriage between President Xi and his wife.

Perhaps to dissuade any doubts of marital disharmony, the following week saw Chinese news media publish the important news that President Xi helped his wife walk through a door on board a ship. Netizens called President Xi is a “gentleman” who is faithful to his wife.


Photos: screenshots from Youku


Lots of Crying and Complaining: How Occupy Protests are Covered in China

Posted: 10/23/2014 9:00 am
hk occupy central talks

The student leaders are seen to the left. There should be five of them if you count.

The Occupy protests in Hong Kong have been well-covered by Mainland media, although the coverage is obviously been selective. That means people Mainland still aren’t clear about who is protesting, or why.

One way to know would have been be to watch the televised discussion two nights ago that featured the movement’s student leaders and the Hong Kong government. As it were, and as expected, mainland news media covered the talks but didn’t quote the students a single time, or even give their names.

hk occupy central talks

But the Occupy movement does have a face on the mainland news: an unhappy and disgruntled one. Stories regularly highlight how the “average Hong Kong resident” is upset with the protests and want them to end. Mainland TV coverage has focused upon the people impacted by the demonstrations — people who tend to speak in Putonghua, a language not normally used in Hong Kong (at least not well).

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralIn one video (below), Miss Zhang said the Occupy protesters had destabilized the city:

We need to work and live
Children need to go to school
You’ve made it so that children can’t even go to school
Working is not convenient
There are even some places where stores have closed
Having closed, many workers aren’t able to go to work
If they can’t work, they can’t make a salary
What do you say? (Does Occupy Central) have a big impact?

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralMrs Yu complains that her rights have been infringed upon:

The situation for my daughter have become like this
When my daughter goes to school, there aren’t any teachers there to teach her
She is the only one sitting in the classroom
When she returns (home), she is very, very sad
This has stripped us of our rights

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralAnd then we have Eric, a long-time resident of Hong Kong who represents the laowai:

Most of the people I know in Hong Kong do not like what is going on
They want a peaceful Hong Kong, with gradual progress like we have been having, stability, harmony… that’s what we want

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralEric then reads from a book:

Hold(ing) HK hostage is not peaceful
Block(ing the) streets is not democracy
obstruction is violence (in law, in fact)
Blame(ing) police for their violence is hypocracy, because they are the ones causing the problem.

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy centralThis woman is one of the few Hong Kong residents caught on camera speaking in Cantonese. Here she is arguing with a person who is not seen or heard:

Nothing you do has any use
Is this for the benefit of Hong Kong residents? No!
It’s just become more chaotic
making more problems
And made this society less harmonious

complaining angry crying hong kong resident occupy central

But if there is one face that represents the Occupy protests on mainland television, it would be this woman. Here, she’s seen crying when speaking of the chaos that has inflicted the city:

It’s a contradicting and tearing apart of the (Hong Kong people)
and it’s getting bigger
I think that it’s getting bigger
and has made our Hong Kong into a chaotic place
I am terribly saddened by this
Honestly, very saddened
I have lived in Hong Kong for ten years
I feel that the peace we had before was so much better
It’s that they’ve been infiltrated by foreign powers
and caused disorder
I’ve lived in Mongkok for a long time now
Reporter: You live in Mongkok?

It’s so loud there every night
How can I sleep?

The woman went on to clarify what she meant about “foreign powers”:

I think that it must be foreign powers
who are making moves in the background, turning Hong Kong into this (mess)
Reporter: Why?
I honestly think this
because I have a friend who took their money
so that he would participate in Occupy Central
I asked him (where the money came from)
He said he boss received their money
and then his boss told him to go to “Occupy Central”
He said that if he didn’t go
He would lose his job as a result
For standing two days, he was awarded 2,500 yuan

The videos are seen below:

Photo: Sohu, Xinhua, screencaps from Ku6, iFeng


Premier Li Keqiang Blogs on New English Language State Council Website

Posted: 10/8/2014 5:09 pm

state council website

state council websiteBeijing is looking to improve its relations with the outside world by launching a new version of its English website for the State Council amid global attention on how the government is handling unrest in Hong Kong.

The new website arrived this morning, reports China Daily. The meticulously-designed official website, at, offers a number of services to foreigners. For instance, the top-ranked service on the website allows users to learn guidelines and download forms so that they can start investing in the country.

Visitors can also learn more about the Party Secretary of the State Council, Premier Li Keqiang, and what he thinks on specific topics.

The site currently has a story called “Hopes high for Premier’s visit”, which outlines all the nice things German dignitaries have to say about Li.

state council website

In the story “Premier welcomes experts”, Li talks to foreigners about some of their visa issues:

I know that it takes quite a long time for foreign experts to get a permanent permit to live in China. The Chinese government has decided to cut that government power, and give more power to the market and society … You won’t need to worry, if you want to live in the country for a long time, so that you will be able to focus more on helping China’s modernization.

And yet, no details or specifics are given to clarify why expats shouldn’t need to worry in procuring a green card. Of the 633,000 expats living in China in 2012, only 1,202 were awarded a permanent residence card — that’s 0.19 percent of the total expat population.

But hey, now that it’s easier than ever to access government information, do you have something you want to tell the Premier of China? Maybe you want to share your difficult experience in getting a green card, or give some friendly advice on political reform? Now you can send the Premier an e-mail.


Photos: China Daily, screenshots from


Six Year Old Girl Shames Wuhan University Students For Being Lazy

Posted: 09/17/2014 10:52 am

cafeteria child laborerThat’s a picture of a six year-old girl who is picking up dirty dishes at a cafeteria in Wuhan, Hubei Province. As shocking as it is to see such a young person working, most of the online commentary in China is focused on the laziness of the school’s freshmen students, who don’t clean up after themselves.

These pictures were taken at Huazhong Normal University. The girl is the daughter of a stall operator that sells barbecue goose in the cafeteria. The People’s Daily Online says the girl comes out to bus tables when her father is too busy working.

cafeteria child laborer

The girl isn’t the only person cleaning up. There are a number of cleaners at the cafeteria who are responsible for busing tables and washing dishes, but there’s simply too much to be done. As a result, the university is trying to encourage students to collect their own dirty dishes and used cutlery, but students haven’t bothered.

cafeteria child laborer

Their behavior may change now that these photos have surfaced, though. The young girl is shaming the students in to taking action. One Weibo user said, “First year university freshmen, male and female, take this opportunity to learn good habits.” Another said, “Taking back used dishes to the service counter is a sort of friendship, a love that you show to the dining hall of the school.”

Other comments focused upon the school’s inability to hire enough cleaners and that people don’t normally collect their own dishes in China. But the majority believe the girl has shamed the students.

China’s primary school system begins for students aged six or seven

cafeteria child laborer

The sign at the area where dishes are to be bused reads:

We thank all students who voluntarily return their dishes
Warmly thank you for this simple service.

Photos: People’s Daily Online



Deng Xiaoping TV Show Renews Debate on Mao Zedong and Gang of Four

Posted: 08/11/2014 9:15 am

The grandiose efforts of China Central Television to “faithfully” present the struggles of the late Deng Xiaoping from 1976 to 1984 has resulted in some controversy following the airing of just two episodes of the high-profile, RMB 120-million TV show on August 8.

Released ahead of Deng’s 110th birthday on August 22, the show, called “Deng Xiaoping in Historical Transition”, boasts a star-studded cast and an “authentic depiction” of historical events, particularly the leadership struggles after 1976, reported ifeng.

The show drew rare, high-level cooperation between the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee and the Central Work and Organization Department. The two chief advisors to the show were also two ministerial-level officials – Leng Rong, head of the Central Work and Organization Department, and Wang Dongming, Party chief of Deng’s hometown in Sichuan, according to Ta Kung Pao.

What underscored the show’s promotional campaigns, however, was its so-called “de-sensitization” of some historical figures, including Hua Guofeng, Mao’s successor after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), and Hu Yaobang, the reform-minded former Party chief, said Ta Kung Pao. The appearances of the two figures will be a first in the history of China’s television and movie history, according to the TV show’s director Wu Ziniu, reported Shanghai newspaper Oriental Morning Post.

Deng Xiaoping (center) played by Chinese actor Ma Shaohua

But Hua Guofeng’s debut was met with online criticism for his remarks that the arrest of the Gang of Four was deployed by Chairman Mao while he was still alive.

Weibo user不大不小的白 called the line sheer “fabrication”. He said, “the show is afraid of attacking chairman Mao. But at the same time, it wants to ‘polish’ this coup. So, what to do? Fabrication. This is why the show incorporated the line that ‘arresting the Gang of Four was deployed by Chairman Mao while he was still alive’…” The post was re-posted 4,361 times, and liked by 1,020 users by Sunday night.

Some went even further, proposing a national investigation. 忧国忧民王余杰, a verified Weibo user and a delegate to the National People’s Congress (China’s parliament) wrote, “I suggest that we investigate the show ‘Deng Xiaoping in Historical Transition’. The first episode aired on CCTV blasted out a piece of explosive information. Hua Guofeng said, ‘arresting the Gang of Four was deployed by Chairman Mao while he was alive’ and ‘the Gang of Four plans to launch a coup on October 10 (in 1976)’. I suggest the central government launch an immediate investigation (to verify the information). If false, we should stop airing the show immediately to avoid feeding the West an excuse to attack us”.

According to Ezra Vogul’s book, “Deng Xiaoping and The Transformation of China”, Hua’s remarks were not unfounded, nor were they groundless. After the arrest of the Gang of Four, its followers (or the radicals) knew that Mao tried to ensure a place for the gang among the top Party leadership. In order to satiate the followers, Hua collected materials that “spelled out the crimes of the gang and, in three batches of materials he had distributed, made the case their arrest was consistent with Mao’s views,” Vogel wrote.

Despite some viewers’ criticism, Deng’s family gave the show a thumbs-up and said, “This is the Laoyezi (old man in English, referring to Deng) we remember in our hearts”, according to the show’s producer Gao Chengsheng.

Although there have been attempts to brush off the sensitive subjects, Ye Kuangzheng, a Chinese scholar, noted in an interview with ifeng that the show was “an improvement”. The opening scene of the show showed Xidan’s Democracy wall in Beijing and Hu Yaobang, two sensitive subjects in the Party’s history that influenced the 1989 student pro-democracy movement.

Those efforts to skirt Party taboos, according to Gongshi Net, were intended to convey a more serious message when the aftershocks of the reform and opening up incited some public indignation, such as the widening wealth gap, rampant corruption and the Party’s entrenched interest groups. In an article for the Gongshi Net, Cai Fanghua wrote that the show signalled the Party’s resolution to tackle hurdles and opposing forces. He wrote, “no matter how strong the opposing force is, or what hurdles the future might have, Deng and former leaders’ reform and opening up strategy will be implemented without any hesitation”.

Photos: CCTV; CFP


“My Little Apple” Viral Dance Video Becomes Military Recruitment Tool

Posted: 07/30/2014 11:05 am

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistmentIn case you haven’t heard the song or seen the video yet (and you probably have), My Little Apple is a music video from the film ”Old Boys: The Ferocious Dragon Crosses the River” by the Chopstick Brothers that has gone viral in China (you can watch it below).

The song itself is pedestrian ditty in which an apple is used as a metaphor to symbolize one’s feelings towards a lover, but the song shines as a vehicle to showcase absurd comedy that is de rigeur in China in the absence of any insightful satire.

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistment

However, the song’s true mass appeal lies in the emulation of its dance that, let’s face it, concentrates movements away from the hips and into the upper body, appealing to dancing grannies in public squares all around the country (here are examples of tribute videos).

We saw a huge outpouring of spoof videos during the last dance phenomenon to hit China, Gangnam Style, and it looks like everyone wants in on this latest Chinese internet meme, up to and including the Ministry of Defense. While the Ministry features enlisted service personnel dancing in its video, it also features things the other videos don’t: namely military jets and rockets.

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistment

As reported by China Daily, this video was made by the Ministry of Defense and serves as a recruitment tool. While you listen to a song with lyrics about how love is like an apple, the Ministry of Defense urges viewers to take up arms and charge to the front lines in order to defeat China’s enemies all while featuring military personnel taking the time out of their busy schedules to line dance on camera.

Here’s the video:

And if watching the visual spectacle isn’t enough for you, here is a translation of the text that appears onscreen along with notes when they appear in the song so that you can sing along in English if you’d like:

My Little Apple (text by Ministry of Defense)

Because youth have dreams
A bright light enchants with its glow
Because youth have dreams
Signifies that there is an extraordinary significance
Each person, each youth, all have a dream
and have wonderful rights and privileges

Graduation is when youth set sail again
As they reap a life without regret
Do you still remember flying the Nine Heavens as a child?
Do you have the impulse to travel the five seas?

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistment

Do you still remember when good men carried meter-long swords

and stood with pride as they kept their oaths?
Come, and join the military
We will never abandon our invitation to the youth

There is no greater glory than to enlist in the military

Because a dream perseveres
It signifies that it is more valuable
Because a dream perseveres
it can reap lofty goals
Each youth has their own dream
Each dream has its shining glory

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistment

Pursuing a dream is life’s never-ending subject
Playing a strong tone will get rid of mediocre sounds
Do you still remember the first time you saw the flag being raised?
How moved you were when you saw the parade?

Do you still remember when in defending the homeland when you were younger,

punishing evil and eliminating traitors with a steel will?
Run to the army and become a soldier!
Let each peaceful sun set and rise become warmer

my little apple dance video internet meme propaganda military enlistment

Pick up a pen, join the military
Fulfill your dreams in an army barrack

Use the opportunity of your youth
and stimulate your life!

For your dreams, charge and break through enemy lines!

Homeland! I am coming!

If you don’t have enough little apples in your life by now, here’s the original version:

Photos: Screenshots from Sohu, Youtube


Only in China: SWAT-Themed Wedding Photos

Posted: 07/27/2014 2:52 pm

swat police wedding photos chongqing propagandaApparently 29 year-old Chongqing SWAT police officer Hou Weiling was not able to take leave of 24 hours from his job in order to get proper wedding photos. So what’s there to do but bring his blushing bride to his job and take wedding photos there?

The elaborate photo shoot shows the couple on a firing range, working as a sniper unit, and on police vehicles.

As Global Times profoundly points out, “Who says tough men can’t be romantic?”

swat police wedding photos chongqing propagandaswat police wedding photos chongqing propagandaswat police wedding photos chongqing propagandaswat police wedding photos chongqing propagandaswat police wedding photos chongqing propaganda

And then there’s this following photograph which neatly subverts Andy Lau’s career-defining 1990 film A Moment of Romance:

swat police wedding photos chongqing propaganda

Photos: Qpic


Mayors Swim Across Pearl River To Prove It’s Clean

Posted: 07/14/2014 6:05 pm

crossing pearl riverCity mayors were first among 2,000 swimmers to swim across the Pearl River while proclaiming water safety a top local priority, reports South Capital. The swim took place on Sunday afternoon in Guangzhou from the central north gate to Star Ocean Music Hall, a distance of about 800 meters.

Guangzhou mayor Chen Jianhua, Foshan acting mayor Lu Yi and other governing dignitaries were in the first group to traverse the river. More than 2,000 from Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing, and Qingyuan eventually joined them.

Government officials emphasized the importance of maintaining clean water while admitting current pollution levels are not that great, pledging to continue to clean up the environment. The Guangzhou mayor said the environment can be cleaned up if everyone works together.

NewsGD reported the swim was held to prove that the once polluted river is now clean.

Photos: China Daily


The People’s Daily Posts “Must Learn” Bible Stories Online

Posted: 06/30/2014 1:20 pm

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe facts, first: China is an atheist state as governed by Communist Party members who are not officially not permitted to have any religious beliefs. Religions that are practiced in China are done so without the support or endorsement of the CCP. While China is home to many people of various spiritual beliefs, it’s usually something that is done privately. Religion is something that is not usually discussed in television, film or on Weibo.

And yet, this weekend saw this post from none other than the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

The post reads: Save this (to your bookmarks)! 16 must-learn classic Western stories: 1. Pandora’s Box 2. Noah’s Ark 3. Ivory Tower 4. (The Story of) Waterloo 5. Crocodile Tears 6. Judas’ Kiss 7. Garden of Eden 8. The Forbidden Fruit 9. Domino 10. The Sword of Damocles 11. Muse 12. Riddle of the Sphinx 13. Pygmallion 14. Aegis’ Cow 15. Achilles’ Heel 16. Uncle Sam
…of these 16 famous classic Western stories, how many do you know? Learn from the screenshots (below)!

The Weibo account of the People’s Daily believes these Western stories are essential reading for all of its subscribers. Among the items are four Bible stories from the Old Testament.

So, without further ado, see if your Western knowledge compares to a People’s Daily reader! The following are translations of the People’s Daily post by The Nanfang:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Noah’s Ark

Originates from the “Holy Bible”. The Lord was very sad from the sins that mankind had committed, and so decided to use a flood to anhilitate mankind. Noah was a righteous man. The Lord decided to let him live, and so commanded him to build a boat in order to escape the disaster. After forty nights of flooding, all life (on Earth) was engulfed by the flood except for Noah and his family as well as some of the animals. This story is one of savior during a disaster.

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe Kiss of Judas

Judas was one of Jesus Christ’s 12 trusted disciples as told in the Bible. Even though Jesus had won the popular support of the people after giving his gospel, He had become the target of hatred from the old priests of the Hebrew religion. They used 30 coins to buy Judas’ loyalty, and needed his help to positively identify Jesus. When they arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane to capture Jesus, Judas pretended to greet Jesus by embracing and kissing him. Jesus was then arrested, and was later crucified on the cross. People use “the kiss of Judas” as a way to describe shameful acts of betrayal.

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe Garden of Eden

Originates from the Holy Bible. The Lord made a garden on a bountiful plain in the east. In this garden were fruit trees and every type of bird and animal. The Lord made the first man, Adam, act as a protector to this garden. In order to alleviate his loneliness, the Lord took a rib from Adam’s body in order to create a companion for him: Eve, the first woman. The two lived a carefree life without worry. People now use the Garden of Eden to describe a paradise for humanity.

The Forbidden Fruit

The Forbidden Fruit is a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam and Eve that though they were allowed to eat fruit from any tree in the garden, they weren’t allowed to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Afterwards, Eve was lured by the Devil (as the serpent) and ate the Forbidden Fruit together with Adam, ignoring the commands of the Lord. From then on, they understood the difference between good and evil, could distinguish truth from lies, but would know shame. The Lord drove them away from the Garden of Eden. And so the Forbidden Fruit is used to describe something that is forbidden but sought after.

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Bonus story: Uncle Sam

The nickname of the USA was created in 1812 during the war between the US and England. At that time, an honest and capable meat packer businessman in New York was warmly regarded as “Uncle Sam” by everyone. This man served as the mandatory food inspector for the armies in New York and New Jersey, and would place a seal upon every barrel of meat and wine received by the armies. People discovered that every barrel of meat would have the markings “E.A.–U.S.“ on it. E.A. was the name of a military fire contractor, while U.S. is an acronym of the United States (of America). Coincidentally, “Uncle Sam” and “United States” share the same contraction, and so people started referring to the United States as “Uncle Sam”. US citizens use Uncle Sam as as way to personify the honesty, reliability, and durability that epitomizes the patriotism that the American people are so proud of. In 1961, the US Congress officially recognized “Uncle Sam” as a symbol of the American people.

The lessons have received mixed feedback from netizens. Some people welcomed the chance to learn more about foreign cultures, while others were suspicious and questioned the need to learn these “must-learn” Western stories:

[laugh.emo] I have heard the story of Uncle Sam from a teacher who told it to us. The teacher was a big boy that loved to joke around. At the time I thought he was still joking. Afterwards, I still love all that kidding around, and didn’t think that it was something real!

Increase my knowledge

Learn a little more everyday [transfer.emo]

Knowledge will change your fate.

With these, I can become like a learned scholar!

(Learn) a story every day, can do them all in succession within 16 days, thank you.

Why must we know these?

Increase my position (by learning these)!

Would I die if I didn’t know these?

Perhaps any suspicions of the west’s cultural infiltration through Bible stories can be dispelled by the support of the Global Times, which also thought the idea of learning Bible stories was “essential” and important enough to share with its Weibo subscribers as well:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Photos: People’s Daily, Global Times

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