"Chinese people don't eat this condom!"

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China's netizens are taking the recent diplomatic contretemps in Anchorage, Alaska in an extremely lighthearted spirit:

Photo: Weibo

(Source:  Weibo)

Apparently "Tiger" (for his ferocity) Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the Communist Party of China and the highest "Wolf Warrior" diplomat in the PRC, rebutting Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Alaska, said "Zhōngguó rén bù chī zhè yī tào 中国人不吃这一套!("The Chinese people will not allow themselves to be pushed around!" or "The Chinese people will not take this lying down!"). The next day, there were T-shirts for sale in China that said "Zhōngguó rén bù chī zhè yī tào 中国人不吃这一套!")  And somebody helpfully posted the translation on the Internet: "Chinese people don't eat this condom!"

Note:  ānquántào 安全套 ("condom" — lit. "safety / security sheath / cover // suite / set").

[Thanks to Perry Link]


  1. cameron said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 3:50 pm

    The cartoon bald eafles make sense, but what's up with the bunnies?

  2. Alison said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 4:02 pm

    I think it stems from Deng Xiaoping's 韬光养晦 (tāo guāng yǎng huì) comment, which in English is often translated to hide our strength, bide our time. When I lived in China some young party members explained it to me that Chinese were like rabbits, looking cute and friendly on the outside, but really a rabbit has sharp teeth and can be very fierce if it is threatened.

  3. cameron said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 5:00 pm

    Nasty big pointy teeth, eh?

  4. Krogerfoot said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 6:33 pm

    Do the T-shirts show Yang’s quote verbatim, and the translation on the Internet is a pun? Or is the second quote on the T-shirt different in some way that I can’t discern on this screen?

  5. Noel Hunt said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 8:51 pm

    I think it must be the most foul, cruel and bad-tempered rodent I ever set eyes on.

  6. Lucas V. said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 8:56 pm

    @cameron It's a clip from Year Hare Affair [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Hare_Affair], a Chinese webcomic/web series that allegorizes 20th century geopolitics from a Chinese perspective. The depiction of China as hares reflects the author's opinion that the People's Republic of China is traditionally not so aggressive in foreign policies, but can still pack a heavy punch when required.

  7. John Rohsenow said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 8:59 pm

    Another word for 'condom' is 避孕套 (Bìyùn tào), which also has the 'tao'/sheath part.

  8. alex said,

    March 20, 2021 @ 10:05 pm

    Its becoming a bad situation for white expats.

    the recent media narrative on attacks on asian americans are being played all over.

    Its going to lead to my white friends getting punched.

    During the 9 dash line issues many years ago my son when in 3rd grade even though Chinese was singled out and lectured in class Im an American. Teacher would ask him at only 7(skipped a grade) to stand up and she would say you think your better ….

    my friend has a young student who said they should nuke the UK

  9. Bathrobe said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 9:32 am

    @ Alex. Chinese are very brave when it comes to shouting…

  10. Bathrobe said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 9:35 am

    Especially when backed by a mob.

    “Wolf warriors”, indeed. Hiding behind the government ‘s skirts.

  11. Victor Mair said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 10:15 am

    The squabble in Anchorage was all planned out ahead of time by the Chinese side.

    Chinese mementos of the US-PRC meeting in Anchorage (went on sale the next day — I have seen photographs of them) — t-shirts, handbags, etc. — with these very words written on them:

    "Zhōngguó rén bù chī zhè yī tào 中国人不吃这一套!"

    They did not attempt a direct translation on the t-shirt itself. Instead, Yang Jiechi's ringing declaration was followed with these English words: "Stop interfering in China's internal affairs", which is not very helpful. After that comes, in Chinese only: "Měiguó méiyǒu zīgé jūgāolínxià tóng Zhōngguó shuōhuà 美国没有资格居高临下同中国说话" ("The U.S. is not qualified to speak condescendingly with China"). The translation of Yang Jiechi's immortal "Zhōngguó rén bù chī zhè yī tào 中国人不吃这一套!) as "Chinese people don't eat this condom!" was posted separately on the Internet.

  12. Mark Metcalf said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 10:45 am

    "For this reason, at the beginning be as still as a virgin, but when the enemy relaxes his guard, spring forth like a rabbit that has escaped from its cage. The enemy will not be able to put up any resistance."
    (Sunzi Bingfa, Chapter 11, Mair translation)

  13. Jake said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 12:12 pm

    @Victor: There's places online that will design a tshirt and ship it out the same day. I don't think it's too implausible that some people saw the chance to make a quick sale and jumped on the chance.

    @Bathrobe: "very brave when it comes to shouting … Hiding behind the government ‘s skirts" I'm not sure how familiar you are with the American people, but I've got some news for you about them, in particular the GWB years.

    @alex: "Its going to lead to my white friends getting punched" Let's hope they come out of it at least as well as that lady in SF the other day.

  14. Victor Mair said,

    March 21, 2021 @ 12:49 pm

    These were not custom made t-shirts and handbags. I've even seen the online order forms.

  15. Victor Mair said,

    March 22, 2021 @ 6:33 am

    Here are five different names for condoms / prophylactics, the first four for males, the last one for females, all of which end with the syllable tào 套 ("sheath"):

    bìyùn tào, bǎoxiǎn tào, ānquántào, yīnjīng tào; bìyùn tào

    避孕套, 保险套, 安全套, 阴茎套; 避孕套

    lit., "avoid-pregnancy sheath, insurance sheath, safety sheath, yin-stalk (i.e., penis) sheath; avoid-pregnancy sheath"

  16. Viseguy said,

    March 22, 2021 @ 11:01 pm

    @Noel Hunt: Those aren't rodents in the cartoon, they're lagomorphs. And, having had free-range rabbits roam the house for well night three decades, I can say that they're the least foul, cruel or bad-tempered creatures you'd ever be likely to encounter. Though they do like paper — for chewing, not spewing.

  17. AntC said,

    March 23, 2021 @ 2:03 am

    "The Chinese people will …"

    How is Yang assessing what the Chinese people will or won't? On the Mainland, there is no realistic mechanism for them to express their will. In Hong Kong and in Taiwan (especially with the elections early last year), overwhelmingly the people expressed no wish to be treated as "China's internal affairs".

    wrt HK, China is party to an agreement to "preserve its systems, freedoms, and way of life" for at least 50 years from 1997 — with the agreement explicitly to be administered with the UK, not purely internally to China.

  18. AntC said,

    March 23, 2021 @ 4:09 am

    Heh heh A paroxysm of animalistic name-calling.

    [A critic of PRC is] a "little thug," a "crazed hyena," and an "ideological troll" with an "anti-Chinese" stance.

    The [Chinese] embassy also stated that the time for "lamb-like" Chinese diplomats is over. It claimed that Beijing's "wolf warrior" approach is necessary to defend its international image against "mad dogs" from other countries.

  19. Victor Mair said,

    March 23, 2021 @ 11:05 am

    See for yourself.

    Chinese wolf warrior diplomats' tough language proudly touted on official PRC media:

    "T-shirts and phone cases featuring Chinese diplomats' strong words see hot sales after Alaska talks", Global Times 09:10, March 22, 2021


  20. AntC said,

    April 1, 2021 @ 10:30 pm


    (This doesn't seem to be an April's Fool, although 'the embassy staff' seem to have made fools of themselves.)

    "Recent news reports have described state media’s use of foreigners inside China to write or blog stories that counter western “smears”, and this week CGTN published one such account supposedly by a French journalist who had lived in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, for seven years.

    "On Thursday the French publication Le Monde revealed that Beaumond [the alleged blogger] did not exist. The outlet said there was no record of a journalist of that name having worked in France."

  21. David C. said,

    April 2, 2021 @ 9:26 pm

    Thanks AntC. I had a good laugh reading the article and the linked tweets. What passes for official diplomacy is turning ever more farcical by the day.

    I also skimmed the offending CGTN article in question and thought the quality of the French used was too idiomatic and too flawless to be written by the usual Chinese staff who work in state media. The ideas expressed, though, read like they did come from the usual Chinese staff.

    An investigation by Le Figaro revealed that the article was supposedly written by a woman in France under a pseudonym: https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/les-confidences-de-la-plume-mystere-au-service-de-la-chine-20210402

  22. David C. said,

    April 2, 2021 @ 10:47 pm

    Reading the CGTN article more closely, some of the mistakes were too glaring for a native speaker to make. The tone reads too much like it came from a textbook in a Chinese foreign language course. Possibly someone with a better grasp of French had cleaned up some of the grammar after it was first drafted. What is intriguing is that there's bits in there that do not completely conform to the political orthodoxy, such as calling Xinjiang a province (rather than an autonomous region – even more suspicious given that was how it was first introduced in the article) and saying that signs are in Mandarin and a Turkic language (which sounds like something a Westerner would say – the Chinese would simply say "Chinese").

    "D'où viennent ces nouveaux pasionarias…" – an odd choice of vocabulary, as if someone tried to look up a more sophisticated translation for 激进分子. Pasionaria is in any case feminine, so nouveaux should read nouvelles instead.

    "J'ai vu des Han manger des restaurants ouïghours et vice-versa" – may be simply careless proofreading, but seems too obvious of an error to be missed.

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