This is now the kind of thing one tweets, not blogs about, but I have to share it here anyway. The People’s Daily has published a piece on China’s “mahjong culture” that made me laugh out loud. It makes the argument that it deserves to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, while it also makes the argument later on that mahjong can incite illegal gambling.
Take a look at the snippets below. Was it written by an intern? Is it a case of bad translation? What is this?
Together with Beijing opera, traditional Chinese painting and medicine, Mahjong is known as the quintessence of Chinese culture, and its application for the world heritage again caused high attention of outside world.
In the eyes of many people, playing mahjong means idle and doing no decent work. In fact, it is somewhat biased to view and understand mahjong in this way. Mahjong has a long history in China and is loved by numerous Chinese people. Now, it has been transmitted to other countries, with many blond foreigners participating in the mahjong competition….
[I]f the relationship between Mahjong and the “gambling” habit cannot be clearly cut off, the application cannot be justified. Therefore, the application is reasonable provided the public should be advocated to return to healthy, scientific, and friendly Mahjong culture by getting rid of gambling.
Blond foreigners? You may want to read it all because it just gets funnier and funnier. (What is “scientific mahjong culture?”)
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.