Changing China

Giant on the move

Adventures in Chinglish

August 2, 2008

Chinglish T-ShirtsWhatever happened to the exploding shrimp? Do you know the way to Racist Park?

The Beijing authorities have been working long and hard in the run-up to the Olympics to stamp out Chinglish — but examples still abound all round town of this unique mix of Mandarin and English.

It’s fun checking out the slogans on T-shirts to find the finest example of strangulated language.

Some Chinglish has even won the official stamp of approval.

Brokeback” — popularised from the movie “Brokeback Mountain” about two gay cowboys –  has passed the test with formal acceptance by Chinese scholars as Mandarin shorthand for gay.

But it would be hard to top the all-time favourite quintet of Chinglish entries picked by the U.S.-based Global Language Monitor:

– If you are stolen, call the police

– Airline Pulp (food served aboard airlines)

– The slippery are very crafty (slippery when wet)

– Do not climb the rocketry (rock wall)

– Deformed man toilet (handicapped restroom)

We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears open for more…

PHOTO: 21-year-old Beijing T-shirt seller Xinxin stands in her stall in the popular Huawei Shopping Centre in Beijing June 13, 2008. REUTERS/Gillian Murdoch


I am not at all sure whether Chinglish is destined to become the future global language.

Interestingly however nine British MP’s have nominated Esperanto for the Nobel Peace Prize 2008,

This seen at


Why don’t we use Esperanto at such international events, I wonder?

Posted by Bill Chapman | Report as abusive

On the bathroom door of the restaurant I was in last night, a sign read, “Crumbly, please take care.” Perhaps it meant the glass was fragile, or maybe they just get a mature clientele.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

There is a “Happy VD Clinic” in Taipei.

Hurray for Chinglish

Posted by Peter Titchener | Report as abusive

The article states: “Deformed man toilet (handicapped restroom)”.

Handicapped? Yuk! In the UK the term “handicapped” isn’t a whole lot better than “deformed man”.

Anyway, the feature is an “accessible toilet”. (“Disabled toilets” are toilets that are blocked, broken, vandalised, etc).

Restroom? I haven’t seen any beds in one yet but when I do, I’ll start calling them restrooms.

Silly colonials!

Posted by Jan Altus | Report as abusive

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