Pandemic lockdown slogans

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The photographs below are of government lockdown slogans on signs in Chinese cities.  The first was taken by a former student of mine in Guangzhou, and the other two are from Weibo.

In the first photograph, the last line is so awkward that if seems ungrammatical and barely makes sense.  As shown in the following analysis, it's the result of a forced rhyme.

1., 2. (left, right)

Wǒ wèi kàng yì wú xiū, huàn lái bìngdú bàxiū.
Translation:  I never stop fighting the epidemic; in return, the virus will give up.
Rhyming words:  无休,罢休。(xīu)

Qǐng nín huí jiā shàng lóu, gòng bī bìngdú wú yǒu.
Translation:  Please [VHM:  you {respectful form}] go home and go upstairs, together forcing the virus to be friendless.
rhyming words:上楼(lóu)无友(yǒu)


Jīntiān dàochù luànpǎo, míngnián féntóu zhǎngcǎo.
Translation:If you run around everywhere today, grass will grow on your grave next year.
rhyming words:乱跑(pǎo)长草(cǎo)


Jīntiān shàngmén, míngnián shàngfén.
Translation:If you go visit people today, you will go to the grave next year.
rhyming words:门(mén)坟(fén)


Rúguǒ bùxiǎng zài fángjiān, nà jiù qǐng jìn tàipíngjiān.
Translation:If you don't want to stay in your room, you might as well go to the morgue.
rhyming words:房间,太平间。(jiān)

With this sort of arbitrary, extremist, martinetish attitude toward SARS-CoV-2, it's no wonder that the CCP authorities are imposing such ruthless lockdowns all over the PRC, nor that riots are erupting everywhere.

Selected readings


  1. eli fessler said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 7:09 pm

    I maintain a digital archive of worldwide COVID-related signage as a linguistic landscapes project at! For pictures you've taken yourself, or for the one taken by the student you know, could you submit these there (or ask the photographer to) if you get a chance? Thanks a ton!

  2. Victor Mair said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 8:08 pm

    @eli fessler

    Since ideally you need the explanations from here, why don't you just cite this post?

  3. A-chan! said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 8:38 pm

    here's how the hanzi in the first image read in Cantonese Jyutping (since as VHM said the image was taken in Guangzhou):

    1. ngo5 wai4 kong3 jik6 mou4 jau1 ,wun6 loi4 beng6 duk6 baa6 jau1 。
    2. cing2 nei5 wui4 gaa1 soeng5 lau4 ,gung6 bik1 beng6 duk6 mou4 jau5 。

    for all the other signs as well:

    3. gam1 tin1 dou3 cyu3 lyun6 paau2 ,ming4 tin1 fan4 tau4 coeng4 cou2 。
    4. gam1 tin1 soeng5 mun4 ,ming4 tin1 soeng5 fan4 。
    5. jyu4 gwo2 bat1 soeng2 zoi6 fong4 gaan1 ,naa5 zau6 cing2 zeon3 taai3 ping4 gaan1 。

  4. Victor Mair said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 8:53 pm

    Many thanks, A-chan!!

  5. wanda said,

    November 30, 2022 @ 3:25 pm

    Isn't #4 "ming nian" next year, not ming tian "tomorrow"?

  6. Victor Mair said,

    November 30, 2022 @ 9:39 pm


    Yes, also in #3. Fixed both now.

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