This photograph was sent to me by a colleague:
The slogan on the banner reads:
Nǎpà Huáxià quán shì fén, yěyào shā guāng Rìběn rén; nǎpà Zhōngguó bù zhǎng cǎo….
("Even if the whole of China is covered with tombs, [we] must kill all Japanese; even if no grass grows in China….")
Since this slogan is all over the web, it is easy to determine that the missing clause is
yěyào shōufù Diàoyúdǎo
("we must recover Diaoyudao [the Senkakus]").
Thus, the complete banner would read:
Nǎpà Huáxià quán shì fén, yěyào shā guāng Rìběn rén; nǎpà Zhōngguó bù zhǎng cǎo, yěyào shōufù Diàoyúdǎo
哪怕华夏全是坟，也要杀光日本人; 哪怕中国不长草, 也要收复钓鱼岛
("Even if the whole of China is covered with tombs, [we] must kill all Japanese; even if no grass grows in China, we must recover Diaoyudao [the Senkakus]").
Aside from the blood-curdling sentiments expressed, I was struck by a number of linguistic features of the slogan. First of all, you will note that the couplets quaintly rhyme, and each line consists of seven syllables, so this is basically a heptasyllabic quatrain, which has roots that go far back in Chinese literary history. Furthermore, each line is divided by a caesura thus: 4-3. This too is a traditional type of prosody. The high degree of parallelism evident in the slogan is likewise typical of Chinese poetry. Also noteworthy is the use of Huáxià 华夏, an archaic, ethnically charged term, as a synonym for Zhōngguó 中国 ("Middle Kingdom; China"). What stands out most starkly, however, is the grammatical pattern employed:
nǎpà X 哪怕X… yěyào Y 也要Y…
("why fear X –> do not fear X; even if X… also must Y –> nevertheless / still must / have to Y…)
In some iterations of the slogan, the second nǎpà 哪怕 is replaced by nìngkě 宁可 ("would rather"), but the meaning remains the same.
When I teach Chinese languages, be they Mandarin or Classical Chinese or some other variety, I always emphasize such grammatical patterns as the key to mastering the structure of the language.
Although the government may be tolerating, sanctioning, or even promoting the proliferation of this slogan on the streets, there is some indication that internet censors are trying to limit its use, since many of the thousands of sites carrying this slogan that were yielded by a Google search have recently been scrubbed.
Is this a call for genocide?
I'm not sure what the significance is, but this particular photograph was taken outside of what appears to be an Audi dealership. Perhaps the staff members who are standing outside with their hands raised are trying to tell the mobs that have been going around smashing and burning Japanese automobile showrooms that they are patriotic Chinese who sell German cars. Incidentally, although the picture is too small to tell for sure, it seems that they are smiling and most have their raised hands clenched in a fist. The fellow in a white shirt near the middle adopts a martial arts pose, the better to attack the Japanese, I suppose.
Just as I was about to make this post, I found this photograph:
And lots of other instances of the display of this slogan. Thus, although the sentiments expressed may be extreme, they are by no means isolated. Indeed, for this slogan to have spread so widely without government intervention insures a high degree of organization and coordination from responsible units (dānwèi 单位).
[A tip of the hat to June Teufel Dreyer]