Being a communist country, there are plenty of “public service” signs and ads around. Not to mention that the Olympics are coming up and the government is anxious that the nation will look good under the scrutiny of the world.
There are signs to remind people to be civilized. (Ironically, China is one of the earliest civilizations. The last century of wars and political upheaval had, however, deeply wounded the nation and allowed the uglier side of humanity to surface.) The television broadcasts minutes-long commercials about how to be more courteous and friendly/ Billboards advertise the goal of internationalizing the cities by erecting more bilingual signage and so forth.
Which brings me to another observation. It appears that bilingual in China means simply to put the pronounciation in English. I was at the Beijing Botanical Garden, and noticed that the garbage cans would say either Ke Hui Shou or Bu Ke Hui Shou in English, along with the Chinese characters. Which I suppose is very useful to the elite group of Foreigners studying Chinese, who, while not taught to write Chinese, is well versed enough to know by pronounciation that these cans are meant for recyclable and non- recyclable respectively. Or figure that out with the help of their pocket dictionaries. Actually, isn’t that educating?
Going back to tv. Our friend’s house has cable and you can watch CNN, BBC and a lot of channels. However, be prepared for a lot of commercials – yup, commercials inserted whenever the big guys spot unappropriate contents.
Here’s an interesting sign that was on all the lugguage carts at the ShenZhen airport:
If the children are intelligent, China is intelligent.
If the children are rich, China is rich.
If the children are strong, China is strong.
If the children are advanced, China is advanced.
Now, I would think this is not a bad signage to display around. It may be propaganda, but it sure makes the children proud and eager, and make people value their children. I would say it makes a strong nation!