On the day that my thoughts turned to Tiananmen Square, in the sense of the vast public space near the Forbidden City and which is so central to China, comes word (in English, too) of an eyebrow-raising news story. It certainly prompts questions as to whether some Chinese people are lost in the new awakening occurring there. Or possibly, is a new push for privacy and freedom emerging?
It involves a former college professor, who in Mandarin would be addressed as “jiao shou.” But as my wife reminded me, some in China have taken to chat rooms to describe this instructor as “jiao shou.”
The pronunciation is the same. The Chinese characters are different. When these other Chinese characters are used, people are calling the person a “shouting animal” – essentially, a wild animal.
I’ll stick to Tiananmen Square and one of the more intriguing possibilities that I thought would never happen – that other public squares are larger in square meters than the symbolic center, or heart, of the People’s Republic of China.