Only the Communist Party can save the earth

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Movie ticket for "Liúlàng dìqiú 流浪地球" ("Wandering earth"):


The line at the bottom of the ticket reads:

zhǐyǒu gòngchǎndǎng kěyǐ jiù dìqiú


"Only the Communist Party can save the earth"

From a Chinese graduate student:

The line at bottom shows the degree to which the theaters are desperate to survive under the tension between imaginative works and political sensitivity, almost a perfect analogy to the “smoking is harmful to your health” notices in every cigarette commercial.

But "Liúlàng dìqiú 流浪地球" ("Wandering earth")  is said to be a great sci-fi movie. I’m very interested in Liu Cixin’s works. He is a Hugo Award winner!  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend.


"Ken Liu reinvents Chinese characters" (12/5/16)

"Ball ball 你" (10/4/17) — third comment from bottom

"Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth battles horde of rampaging online pirates", South China Morning Post (2/11/19):  China’s latest blockbuster The Wandering Earth is making megabucks at the box office but is fighting a bigger threat than a looming explosion of the sun – a voracious piracy industry that is eating into its ticket takings.

[h.t. Geoff Wade; thanks to Qing Liao]


  1. Neil Dolinger said,

    February 12, 2019 @ 6:31 pm

    I hope this movie is brought to the US. I have read all of Liu Cixin's work that has been translated into English, and it is uniformly entertaining and thought provoking.

  2. TITANIUM said,

    February 12, 2019 @ 6:43 pm

    When bad things happen to earth, US look for a new earth, China save the old one. Different culture, different solutions.

  3. j2h said,

    February 12, 2019 @ 6:51 pm

    @Neil Dolinger – apparently it's showing with subtitles in the (now Chinese-owned) AMC chain in the US

  4. Victor Mair said,

    February 12, 2019 @ 7:09 pm

    It's showing at several places in the Philadelphia area right now. Some of my students have gone to see the film and reported back to me that theaters are mobbed by people (especially Chinese students!) wanting to see it.

  5. Chas Belov said,

    February 13, 2019 @ 1:35 am

    @Neil Dolinger: It's playing in the San Francisco Bay Area right now. I might just check it out. Thank you for raising it.

  6. John Swindle said,

    February 13, 2019 @ 4:01 am

    Saving the earth would be a good idea. Is the implication that only the Party is able to save the earth or that only the Party is allowed to do so?

  7. Ctx said,

    February 13, 2019 @ 10:12 am

    Actually the line was made by some boring buyer. 淘票票 allows VIP customers to print their own words at the bottom of the tickets.
    See details here:

  8. Andrea Lee said,

    February 13, 2019 @ 8:41 pm

    Agree with Ctx.
    It started to spread in Fb as well.
    Check for ""

    Here is a good example of fake news creation…

  9. Tom Gewecke said,

    February 14, 2019 @ 7:07 pm

    Does anyone know how many characters one needs to be able to recognize in order to read Wandering Earth in the originsl?

  10. Victor Mair said,

    February 15, 2019 @ 9:55 am

    @Tom Gewecke:

    You could know 3,000 characters and still not be able to understand it; you could know 6,000 characters and still not be able to understand it. What matters is how many words you know, and whether you have a good grasp of Mandarin grammar, syntax, idiomatic usage, and so forth. Memorizing characters is not much help for reading and listening.

  11. Victor Mair said,

    February 15, 2019 @ 9:56 am

    From a colleague in China:


    I haven't seen 流浪地球 ("The Wandering Earth") yet, but read several articles on that movie.

    Here is one I found quite interesting (it's like a history of Chinese science fiction during the past century).

    Another article 《流浪地球》中究竟有没有坚持党的领导 ("Is there an insistence on the Party's leadership in 'The Wandering Earth'?") in which the author analyzes the details implying the existence of CPC has mysteriously disappeared unfortunately.

    I wonder if Yueyang 岳阳,a city in Hunan 湖南,is more politically oriented due to its revolutionary legacy, but that kind of slogan sounds more like ridicule than praise.


  12. Tom Gewecke said,

    February 15, 2019 @ 10:12 am

    @Victor Thanks for that comment, you are right of course regarding understanding it. But I was mainly curious about the number of distinct characters found in this kind of literature. 2000? 4000? More?

    Also I was wondering if anyone has seen an analysis/critique of the author's Chinese writing style.

  13. Tom Gewecke said,

    February 15, 2019 @ 6:36 pm

    Regarding the number of characters question, i found this discussion which may be of interest

  14. Jeroen said,

    February 18, 2019 @ 12:00 am

    It's a fun (action-packed, visually exciting) movie to watch – the emphasis is more on the environment (look at the disasters that are going to take place if we don't take care of the earth – a message that resonates strongly with today's Chinese youth), rather than on anything political.

  15. Phil H said,

    February 18, 2019 @ 10:16 pm

    I highly recommend it. Chinese script writers still haven’t got the knack of incorporating characterization organically into the story as American scripts do at their best. There is still a lot of “here be tragic backstory flashback, therefore pathos!” But that aside, this movie is really engaging in its effects, story, and acting.

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