Confessions Of A Propagandist

Chris O’Brien, of Beijing Newspeak blog, writes in Forbes about his life as a polisher:

Sometimes, I left the language in all its stilted glory to ensure no one would get the false impression that “officialspeak” was in danger of morphing into something more natural. After all, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of a senior official’s attempts to emphasize his commitment to the people through abstractions and tedious repetition, like in this catchy paragraph:

“The senior Party official urged local officials to pay attention to the life of people and try to improve the life of the people, so as to build closer ties between the Party and the people. He urged local officials to be serious in resolving protruding problems that have brought losses to the interests of the people.”

It was often impossible to improve the copy anyway, particularly when it came to the statements released by the diplomatic desk, which were routinely drier than a rehab clinic. These reports on talks between China and other countries were all designed to say, in the vaguest terms, exactly the same thing: absolutely nothing.

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