Friday, May 09, 2008

Olympic Communications

Last year I had the opportunity to teach English to 40 police officers in Bao'an district. This was the entire foreign affairs department of the district's public security bureau. The training center's staff was instructed to teach from Olympic Security English by Wang Sheng'an. This is apparently the official handbook for China's police to learn English.

The small textbook covers topics ranging from lost tourists and missing property to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, I found it rather lacking.

The book is filled with out-dated English and rather dull dialogues. One of the major problems I found was that all the foreigners in the situations were extremely honest idiots--they easily broke down and confessed their crimes.

One of my favorites is the chapter on "How to Stop Illegal New Coverage". You can make your own judgments about press freedom. Here's the dialogue (pages 20-22):

Police: Excuse me, sir. Stop, please.
Reporter: Why?
Police: Are you gathering news here?
Reporter: Yes.
Police: About what?
Reporter: About Falungong.
Police: Show me your press card and reporter's permit.
Reporter: Here you are.
Police: What news are you permitted to cover?
Reporter: The Olympic Games.
Police: But Falungong has nothing to do with the games.
Reporter: What does that matter?
Police: It's beyond the permit.
Reporter: What permit?
Police: You're a sports reporter. You should only cover the games.
Reporter: But I'm interested in Falungong.
Police: It's beyond the limit of your coverage and illegal. As a foreign reporter in China, you should obey China law and do nothing against your status.
Reporter: Oh, I see. May I go now?
Police: No. Come with us (to the Administration Division of Entry and Exit of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau).
Reporter: What for?
Police: To clear up this matter.

Read part 2.
Part 3



Rocking Offkey said...

Do they really say to clean up this matter in the handbook? What do they suppose to "clean up"? revoke his reporter ID?

Matthew said...

Here's the line in Chinese. I'm not sure of a better translation right now. 把事情弄清楚。(ba shi qing nong qing chu. Matter clarify clear.) I think they're using '50s detective movies as models.