China Digital Space

Truth of the universe

From China Digital Space

Jump to: navigation, search

宇宙真理 (yǔzhòu zhēnlǐ): truth of the universe

The Truth of the Universe Masturbation Team, from left to right: Xi Jinping, Jiang Zemin, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Hu Jintao. (Artist: Badiucao 巴丢草)
“What We Believe In” (Artist: Hexie Farm 蟹农场)
Tongue-in-cheek reference to China’s political system. The phrase “truth of the universe” first appeared in the PLA Daily in the May 22, 2013 article “Where Is Confidence in the Chinese Dream?” (中国梦的自信在哪里), written by the paper’s assistant chief editor, Sun Linping:
Faced with today's complex and variable international environment, the task of formidable and complicated domestic reform and development, and the real trials and dangers confronting the Party, serious strengthening of our single-minded cooperation in building faith in the Chinese dream first requires holding fast to our belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics and sincere faith that “the doctrine in which we trust is none other than the truth of the universe.”
面对当今复杂多变的国际环境、艰巨复杂的国内改革发展任务、党所面临的严峻考验和危险,极大地增强同心共筑中国梦的自信,首要的是始终同心坚守中国特色社会主义信仰,笃信“我们信仰的主义,乃是宇宙的真理”。[Chinese]

“Truth of the universe” gained cultural currency as it stood in contrast to Fudan University professor Su Changhe’s declaration in the May 28 edition of the Guangming Daily, “Western Democracy Must Be Demoted from Universal Idea to Local Theory” (需将西方民主从普世知识降级为地方理论):

Western democracy is already showing signs of decay. This should put on guard those developing countries still searching for a path to building a political system... We must pull apart the language of Western democracy. To have a truly free spirit and an independent national character, we must first take the idea of democracy promoted by a minority of Western countries and demote it from universal to local.
西方民主已有退化迹象,应为那些仍然在摸索政治制度建设道路的发展中国家所警惕……要从西式民主话语体系中解套,真正具有自由之精神,独立之国格,首先需要将少数西方国家宣扬的民主知识从普世知识降级为地方知识。[Chinese]

Netizen “Chenli701” summed up the reasoning of the state press: “We have the truth of the universe. Isn't everything else just local theory? (我们都有宇宙真理了,其他还不是地方理论). These two contradictory pieces of propaganda gave rise to the often sardonic use of “truth of the universe” in online discussions of China’s political system.

In 2016, during a turbulent U.S. election season that had captured the attention of both state media and netizens, some used the phrase when commenting on the campaigns of Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Replying to a Global Times op-ed on how the campaigns exposed the fading value of American-style democracy (see also Global Times' English language version of the article), "Big V" Weibo user LiWan (@李玩) sardonically said, "The Yankees' demise is imminent, while the truth of the universe will never falter." (美国佬灭亡指日可待,宇宙的真理别无分号.) Also on Weibo, user TianlongShanshangRen (@天隆山上人) used the phrase less sarcastically to differentiate the situation in China from the chaos in the U.S. After musing that America's "problematic" system had delivered them two "problematic candidates," he claimed that China's system of consultative democracy gave rise to far more qualified leaders: "We have the truth of the universe, while the Americans have no guiding ideology—how can their leaders be more capable!?" (我们拥有宇宙真理,美国连个指导思想都没有,哪有资格跟我们比啊.)

Over at Zhihu, an anonymous user explained how he scoured the forum's English-language counterpart Quora in effort to understand how Donald Trump could possibly manage to gain so many supporters. "There was no discussion of why people support Hillary, nor was there any criticism of Trump's policy. In the answers there were only heaps of praise, as if Trump is some part of the truth of the universe, and no explanation for supporting him is needed." (这些答案除了变着花样骂川普之外,并没有提供什么有效的信息。既没有讨论支持希拉里的理由,也没有针对川普政策的批评.)

Views
Personal tools
Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon
Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon eBook
Support CDT - Buy a Grass Mud Horse T-shirt!