Chinese state media mocks government officialese

Updated 11 January 2013
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Chinese state media mocks government officialese

BEIJING: Chinese state media turned on the government’s own use of language yesterday, mocking a list of “repulsive” official cliches submitted by social media users.
The public shaming of bureaucrat-speak — hosted on the microblog of the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily — came after China’s new leaders slammed the culture of long speeches and meetings and urged better governance.
“No speech is not ‘important’, no applause is not ‘warm’,” the People’s Daily said on its Twitter-like Weibo account, as it poked fun at officialese and invited followers to share the phrases they found most irritating.
“No leader is not ‘highly valued’, no visit is not ‘friendly’, no accomplishment is not ‘satisfactory’, no achievements are not ‘tremendous’,” it continued.
Commenters ridiculed officials’ tendency to give non-answers and criticized tiresome terms thrown around in meetings that dragged on.
“The most common one is ‘relevant department’. When it’s good news there’s a specific department, when it’s bad news it’s a ‘relevant department’,” wrote a user named Suzhiqiang.
“The most annoying official-speak is, ‘Next I would like to add a few words’... then half an hour later he is still talking’,” said another called Arnold. A user named Romeo provided a template for meetings: “Vigorously do this... Thoroughly do that... Don’t do this... Raise high... Speed up... Push forward... Persevere... Guarantee...”
But in turn others derided the effort to put down the officialese.
A poster using the handle “One Who Probes” pointed out: “These official phrases, cliches, empty words, lies, didn’t we learn them all from certain newspapers?”
There were around 4,300 submissions as of late Thursday, and a list of comments compiled by a local newspaper was reposted by several outlets, including the state news agency Xinhua. The publicity around the forum complemented official warnings sounded by the ruling party’s new leadership under Xi Jinping, installed in November. His first remarks as party chief — a plain-spoken 20-minute address — contained little of the Communist terminology or references to socialist figures that filled the speeches of his predecessor Hu Jintao.
A few weeks later state media reported the new top brass as urging party officials to put an end to “pointless” meetings, speeches and other time-wasting events.
One user named Dalizhangxiaofan posted: “If officials aren’t allowed to speak in cliches and officialese, what else will they have to say?”


Prince William visits Jordan’s Roman ruins at Jerash

Updated 9 min 32 sec ago
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Prince William visits Jordan’s Roman ruins at Jerash

AMMAN: Britain’s Prince William visited the Roman ruins of Jerash in northern Jordan on Monday, accompanied by his host Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah as part of a historic Middle East tour.
The two princes met children from Jordan and neighboring war-torn Syria during their visit to the site, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Amman.
The visit to Jordan by the second in line to the British throne has been billed as a chance to bond with Hussein, a fellow graduate of Britain’s Royal Sandhurst Military Academy.
William was also due to meet British troops based in the kingdom, before heading across the River Jordan to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The Duke of Cambridge and the heir to the Jordanian throne strolled along Jerash’s Colonnaded Street, a paved promenade lined with towering columns.
They also visited the Temple of Artemis, built on an elevated part of the site in honor of the goddess believed to protect the city, which was at its most prosperous in the third century.
When they reached the ancient site’s theater they were greeted by Syrian and Jordanian school children in traditional dress, who gave a performance including music and poetry.
The show was organized by the Makany Center, a UNESCO-backed program providing health and education to both Syrian and Jordanian pupils.
Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country’s seven-year war which was sparked by peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.
Amman estimates the actual number is closer to 1.3 million people and says it has spent more than $10 billion (8.5 billion euros) hosting them.
William paid tribute in a speech on Sunday to “the way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees,” even as Jordan said the same day that it would be unable to host any new wave of asylum seekers.
His Middle East tour will see William become the first British royal to pay official visits to both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
William, who is president of the Football Association, was flying into Jordan as England thrashed Panama 6-1 in the World Cup on Sunday, but he caught a recording of the match on television at his host’s home.