Hong Kong protest slogan

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The main slogan of the Hong Kong protesters is "faan2 sung3 Zung1 反送中" ("against being sent to China; against extradition to China").  The sung3 Zung1 送中" ("extradition to China") part of the slogan is echoed by the expression sung3zung1 送終 ("attend upon a dying relative; mourning; pay one's last respects; bury one's parent").  Consequently, when the protesters shout "faan2 sung3 Zung1 反送中" ("against being sent to China; against extradition to China"), they are also simultaneously and paranomastically exclaiming that they are against the death [of Hong Kong] (faan2 sung3zung1 反送終).

Readings

"Cantonese protest slogans" (10/26/14)

"'Cantonese' song" (10/24/14)

"The umbrella in Hong Kong" (10/19/14)

"Translating the Umbrella Revolution" (10/3/14)

"The backstory to seven of the most popular protest slogans in Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement" (10/23/14)

[Thanks to Abraham Chan, Zeyao Wu, and Tong Wang]



6 Comments

  1. AntC said,

    June 20, 2019 @ 5:57 pm

    In an attempt to figure out whether these phrases are in putonghua or Cantonese, I tried running them through Google Translate. Unfortunately that's not even telling me whether it's traditional script or simplified (although its phonetics agree with Prof Mair's).

    反送中 – 'reverse delivery', weirdly no mention of China despite the 中
    送終 – 'end of delivery'
    反送終 – 'reverse delivery'

    GT doesn't offer Cantonese. Would these slogans be recognised for what they are on the mainland?

  2. Tom said,

    June 21, 2019 @ 1:14 am

    @AntC: they are rendered in Cantonese here on Language Log but would be understood by Mandarin speakers too, in writing.
    You can see the simplified-form version translated from Mandarin to English on the mainland online dictionary Nciku here: https://dict.naver.com/linedict/zhendict/#/cnen/entry/f0770bae8aaa4881882a7883983e27d8

    "1v. [临终照料] be with … in his/her last moments
    2v. [安排丧事] make funeral arrangements"

    Meanwhile, Google Translate gives it as "bury a parent".

  3. Michael Watts said,

    June 21, 2019 @ 4:43 am

    Would these slogans be recognised for what they are on the mainland?

    送终 doesn't appear to present any problems. When I type "song z" into Google Pinyin Input, it's a prominent suggestion. ABC glosses it as "pay one's last respects", and the Mandarin-Mandarin Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian glosses it as 照料临终的长辈;也指为长辈亲属操办丧失 [to care for an elderly person on their deathbed; also indicates kin making funeral arrangements for an elderly person].

    送中 is going to be obvious given the context. 反 "oppose" is also not a problem.

    I find the equation of 终 "final" with 中 "China" pretty cute; you could view that as a statement about the likely odds of getting out of China once extradited there. But that's probably just me.

  4. Michael Watts said,

    June 21, 2019 @ 4:49 am

    Oh,

    weirdly no mention of China despite the 中

    中 is the abbreviation for China (中国), but it's also an incredibly common ordinary word with meanings in the semantic space "middle; medium; inside". (This is why people sometimes refer to the "Middle Kingdom".) "China" is not the most common meaning of the character by a long shot.

  5. Michael Watts said,

    June 21, 2019 @ 5:40 am

    correcting an earlier typo: the Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian gloss of 送终 refers to 丧事, funeral arrangements, not 丧失, losing.

  6. Victor Mair said,

    June 24, 2019 @ 6:34 am

    "Memes, cartoons and caustic Cantonese: the language of Hong Kong's protests", Jerome Taylor, Elaine Yu, AFP (6/24/19) — with five must-see photographs and excellent text.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/memes-cartoons-caustic-cantonese-language-hong-kongs-protests-072418530.html

    With five must-see photographs and excellent text.

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