Changing China

Giant on the move

‘Shout fewer slogans and do more practical things!’

August 10, 2008

One world, one dream sloganSlogans, mottos, concepts, call them what you will, but the 2008 Beijing Olympics does not lack for pithy phrases.

Slogans, or kouhao, often sit better in the Chinese language where they are made up of fewer characters than the more cumbersome English translations.

It is a rich tradition and a potted history of Communist China could be written in the popular slogans of times. From “Serve the people” of the revolution of the 1940s, through “A hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend” in the more open period of the late 1950s to the “Dare to think, dare to act” of the Great Leap Forward.

“To rebel is justified” was daubed on walls when the Cultural Revolution was unleashed in 1966 and ”Smash the Gang of Four” signalled the end of the 10-year dominance of those later labelled ultra-leftists.

With such a tradition, there was little chance the “New Beijing, Great Olympics” motto that attended Beijing’s bid to host the Games would survive its success. Indeed, after considering 210,000 suggestions from around the world, the Beijing Office for the Solicitation of Mottos for the 2008 Olympic Games plumped for “One world, one dream”.

That should perhaps just be considered the headline motto because there is also the concept of the Beijing Games, “Green Olympics, High-Tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”.

In addition, any athletes falling foul of the doping authorities will have cause to remember the local Olympic Committee’s code: “Seriously banning, strictly examining and severely punishing”.

My particular favourite is the volunteer programme’s clunky “The smile of the volunteers is Beijing’s best name card” — a quote from the Games’ organiser-in-chief Liu Qi.

Has anybody got any other favourites, sporting or otherwise, from another Olympics or another country? That is always assuming you are not an advocate of the saying that grew popular in China in the early years of this decade, “Shout fewer slogans and do more practical things.”

PHOTO: A Chinese girl holding an umbrella walks in a garden with flowers positioned to form the slogan One World, One Dream for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin


“One World, one dream”

An excellent public relations slogan, but what does it mean?

Behind the scenes as well however the Beijing Olympics has appointed an Esperanto translator and CRI now broadcast in Esperanto.

For evidence please see


I’m going to get a T-shirt made with that line about shouting fewer slogans…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

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