2008: China’s Character Test In ‘Messy’ Year (Updated)

“Each year, China’s intellectuals get together and come up with one Chinese character that sums up the entire 12 months. Last year, it was zhang, which means “prices go up”. This year, the character is luan (乱): ‘messy’.” From the Telegraph:

This was supposed to be China’s golden year, when the Middle Kingdom would take its place on the world stage with a triumphant Olympic display. It has not turned out like that. Olympic glory has been overshadowed by riots in Tibet, an earthquake in Sichuan that killed more than 88,000 people, and a crisis over toxic baby milk in which at least 300,000 infants were taken ill and six died.

On Thursday, when China celebrates the 30th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s ground-breaking economic reforms, it does so in the shadow of a global economic catastrophe that is biting heavily at home.

According to a leading government think tank, at least 40 million Chinese are going to lose their jobs because of the global recession. Tang Min, the deputy head of the China Development Research Foundation, says that figure is just among migrant workers – the peasants who moved from the countryside to the sweatshops of the east coast.

Update: The “character test” has been revealed to have been a spoof by blogger Hecaitou, and the Telegraph has rewritten the original story.

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