CCTV evaluates Syria

CCTV Facebook post on Syria

Ironically, Chinese has no exact translation for the term “irony quotes”, though they are used occasionally (notably in reference to Taiwan’s government in exile).

If you want to watch the full video, it’s here:

Several things here:

a) CCTV’s English-language Facebook page continues its transformation into Russia Today. Even as little as a year ago, you could never expect sarcasm in their posts. (Also, the endless stream of hypnodogs and twirling ladies on tv talent shows.)

b) The Chinese haven’t actually been very vocal on Syria, so it’s nice to get an idea of how the authorities really feel about things via their foreign language social media. (Learn English to know China!)

c) “It has not worked the way it was supposed to.” This one sentence is interesting for two different reasons. Firstly, because by changing “was” to “is”, CCTV’s social media manager makes the Americans sound far more arrogant and clueless than Obama’s actual statement did. Secondly, because it’s a sort of through-the-looking-glass version of Victor Chernomyrdin’s famous statement on the Yeltsin era: “We hoped for the best, but things turned out as usual.” (Officially the most Russian sentence ever uttered.) Taken together, the two pretty much sum up the difference between the optimistic American attitude to politics (let’s make a plan and the default assumption is that it will work) and the pessimistic Russian attitude (if we’re very lucky this won’t be a complete fuck-up).


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