Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Foreigner Arrested for Taking Photos.


Recommended Posts

Don't worry, it was in 1971

I just accidentally came across this article


on sina.com.cn. It seems to have been written by a couple of foreigners who were accused of trying to document the dark side of Chinese society after taking photos of old people sitting in a lane playing chess. All in Chinese, but I found it quite interesting reading.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Here's a partial (really poor) translation of the first two paragraphs. I only read it once and skimmed it without using my dictionary which is at home.. it's a pretty weak translation, but It gives you an idea of the incident some.

Arriving in Nanjing one bright sunny morning, my companion and I walked through the wooden doors(?) of a restaurant. _____ entered an alleyway near a new intersection. Under the ___ of a large courtyard, a few old men at the ___ were in the middle of a game of Chinese Chess. The everyday life of Chinese in small alleyways everyday life is (fengqing), for a westerner like myself, it's very fresh and makes me want to take a few pictures of the (minju). (Jiejing) and the Old men gathered for the picture. Just while I was enthusiastically taking a picture, several older men suddenly came over and noisily took hold [not sure here] of my camera. Soon, the surrounding area was filled with peolpe, with everyone ____ rebuking me "(?) your taking pictures of China's bad side [sorry i'm just guessing the meaning here from context.]." From within this group emereged one person who took us to the police station. The officer there grabbed my camera ____; I nervously cleared my throat (?ti dao le sang zi yan), afraid the officer would make us oppose our counterrevolutionary behavior or ____ [sorry, no idea.. no dictionary]... When he thankfully didn't open my camera, I let out my breath. [ i might be totally wrong! ha ha!]

The officer first asked me which country I was from. I replied, "Canada". "What country is that? Where is it?" I replied: in North America. He vigilantly rose, and said [?], "You're an American Imperialist [capitalist? something bad-ist]." I was shocked [?] and explained myself: "I'm not an American imperialist. I'm a Canadian. It's to the north of America and is a seperate independent nation. Have you heard of Doctor Bai Qiu En? [???I have no idea who that is.]? He's also a Canadian. The officer heard "Bai Qiu En" and his attitude cooled down some. "Are you one of Bai Qiu En's relatives?" Completely surprised, I answered, "I'm not his relative. I'm just from the same birthplace." He followed up asking, "You don't look like Bai Qiu En, you weren't sent from a foreign country to cause insurrection in China, were you?" It was best for me to deny it. The officer's attitude was becoming seriously and he said to me [sorry.. zhi ze wo shuo]: "First you never came to the chinese government branch to allow yourself to take pictures. This is illegal behavior. Second, you didn't take pictures of out beautiful rivers and mountains, you didn't go to [the places where we are imporving society?] to take pictures, you didn't take pictures of us arresting revolutionaries,... , but you instead entered China's backwards alleys and took pitures of China's dark side. [something about: you gotta show some lovin' to my country... ]

I'm tired of doing a poor translation... if people really want to get this article translated, let me know and I'll work on the translation and actually look up the words and phrases I don't know...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the Chinese article. I think it's a bunch of bamboo shoots. (Chinese B.S.) I was using that "Dr. Bethune" line on Chinese cops long ago when this writer was doing fang pi through kaidangku. Sina.com has a reputation for churning out this rubbish. It's still good practice for reading characters but take the content with a grain of salt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

didnt read the article, just some filling up the blanks on doufu's writing...

fengqing: could mean scenery, lifestyle if describing scenery, can be used on females to mean the feminine side. so a dumb guy who didnt know how to please women are deemed lack of fengqing or didnt understand fengqing.

minju: traditional chinese houses. different everywhere. if it's in beijing it usually means the 'sihe yuan', in mongolia it'll be the tent.

jiejing: street scenes. everyday life.

the person who brought them to the police station was probably some street council member. they had a street council or something(for political propaganda mainly, plus helping out in the neighbourhood) every neighbourhood.

no he didnt clear his throat. it means something like his balls are at his throat, very nervous. anti revolutionary behaviour, something not welcomed in the 70's, meaning intelligence, anti commie or anything thing to hinder the socialists development of china.

should be imperialists, the common description for usa and uk. usually implying someone out to take a piece of chinese land.

zhizhe woshuo: point his finger at me and spoke.

quite funny thou...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, Dr. Norman Bethune! Canada's only revolutionary martyr. He was in China during the Sino-Japan War and was saving people - he died when he had some sort of problem with a blood transfusion (wrong blood type? didn't have his blood type? I forget)

Well, at least a telephone didn't fall on his head like poor Lei Feng.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Telephone? Curse my hands. Telephone pole.

The story as I remember it was that Lao Zhang and Lei Feng were in the same army truck - and the truck his a telephone pole (or electricty pole - how many telephone poles were there in Lei Feng's day anyways) and the pole fell on Lei Feng's head and killed him.

And then all his army mates had smelly socks because they had gotten too used to Mr. Lei waking up early to wash them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


i think he probably did cos there are more and more files and pics of him released recently, not all positive reports though. he wasnt really a poor man's son as required for propaganda during the cultural revolution. ie., not the really 'solid' family background. he's not really that ascetic kinda person as required by the 'party' cos he had got himself a pretty watch and some other small booty, and i think he actually came from a family with some 'party influence', son of a rather powerful local 'gan'bu' or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
Well, at least a telephone didn't fall on his head like poor Lei Feng.

Wasn't Lei Feng run over by a car driven by some bloke named Lao Zhang? I see to remember a song about it. . .


lOl, its so funny, Roddy, the song u have heard is not the real story about leifeng, its only a joking,haha, the song's name is north-easterners r all leifeng, its kidding leifeng actually, bcoz u know leifeng is a north easterner... ( the whole song was sung in north eastern accent, and not exactly grammar standard )




多亏一个东北人, 送到医院缝五针












north-easterners r all alive leifeng

laozhang has driven a car to north eastern,

accident happened

the caused driver acted shamelessly,

and ran away.

luckily, there had a north easterner, sent him to hospital. he was sutured with five lines and got well.

laozhang treated this guy for dinner


its so pop last year bcoz somebody made a flash movie by it, and lots of people think the north eastern accent is funny.

i couldnt finish it, who will help?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...