Moody's vs. Confucius and Mencius

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Cartoon by Atu:

(source: Facebook, Instagram)

Lettering on top left panel:

Mùdí jiāng Xiānggǎng xìnyòng píngjí xiàtiáo wéi "fùmiàn"
"Moody's downgrades Hong Kong's credit rating to 'negative'"

qiángliè qiǎnzé, jiānjué fǎnduì, èyì mǒhēi, biéyǒu yòngxīn
"Strongly condemn, firmly oppose, malicious smearing, ulterior motives"

Lettering on bottom left panel:

dàn Kǒngzǐ píngjí, Mèngzǐ píngjí shàngtiáo Xiānggǎng wéi jiǎjiǎ!
But Confucius’s (ca. 551-479 BC) rating and Mencius’s (372-289 BC) rating on Hong Kong were raised to AA!

dàolù zìxìn, lǐlùn zìxìn, zhìdù zìxìn, wénhuà zìxìn
"Have self-confidence in one's way, in one's theories, in one's institutions, and in one's culture."

China was stunned and irate when Moody's gave its negative assessment of the PRC economy and has been firing off one angry tirade after another.

Selected readings

N.B.:  I have checked with a dozen or so  Chinese language instructors, dictionaries, and online audio sources to ensure the accuracy of the pronunciations.  Since there are some differences of opinion among the various authorities, what appears above can only be thought of as a consensus view.  Ditto for the syntax.

[Thanks to Jing Hu, Mark Metcalf, and James Fanell]


  1. JPL said,

    December 9, 2023 @ 6:06 pm

    Let me guess: as with panel 2 (green), the tirades never address the economic issues and reasons for Moody's assessment. Argument can be a productive process.

  2. Kingfisher said,

    December 9, 2023 @ 9:59 pm

    I believe the announcer in the third panel is saying that "Confucius and Mencius have upgraded Hong Kong's rating to AA!" in a spoof of the idea that "The West says Hong Kong is doing bad, but China knows that actually Hong Kong is doing great." Along the lines of saying "The EU has downgraded Greece's credit rating… But Socrates and Plato give Greece the thumbs-up!"

  3. Coby said,

    December 10, 2023 @ 1:46 pm

    Yesterday I watched a football match (soccer game) involving Manchester United on Peacock. The subtitles of the commentary invariably had all the players' names — however exotic — spelled correctly (the program is trained to do so), but "Manchester" was consistently transcribed as "Mencius".

  4. Mark Metcalf said,

    December 10, 2023 @ 5:26 pm

    I wasn't previously aware of it, but the "道路自信,理論自信,制度自信,文化自信" crawling across the bottom of the 2nd screen are "the 4 confidences" 四个自信 as defined by Xi Jinping – specifically "confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics".

    Per Wiki: "According to an official translation –
    "Confidence in its path" is confidence in the direction of development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and confidence in its future; "confidence in its theory" is confidence in the scientific nature… of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics; "confidence in its system" is confidence in the advanced and superior nature of the system of Chinese socialism; "confidence in its culture" is a full affirmation of the value of China's own culture and a faith in its vitality. These four form an organic whole; they provide a complete conceptual system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

    Guess that demonstrates why we shouldn't fall behind in our Xi Jinping Thought reading assignments.

  5. Victor Mair said,

    December 12, 2023 @ 8:18 am

    RFI: Moody’s Under Fire [from the PRC government] after Negative Rating of China

    Radio France Internationale (RFI) recently reported that ratings firm Moody’s faced a barrage of criticism from China after it changed the country’s credit rating outlook to negative. This rating outlook change resulted in a series of similar changes in Moody’s outlook for China’s state-owned banks, insurance companies, and enterprises, including 22 Chinese local government financing vehicles that have issued international bonds. Moody’s also changed the outlook on the credit ratings of China’s two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, to negative. In the meantime it downgraded its outlook on a number of other companies as well, including the operator of Hong Kong’s subway system.

    Chinese government ministries and officials criticized Moody’s move in various public statements and official media articles, saying that China was “disappointed” and believed that Moody’s rating methodology was “flawed” and that its concerns were “unwarranted.” China’s Ministry of Finance issued a long article rebutting

    Moody’s rating decision, saying that China’s economy is continuing to recover and that the country’s fiscal revenue has maintained a restorative, positive growth rate.

    Eric Chan, the Hong Kong government’s second-ranking figure and Chief Secretary for Administration, said that Moody’s decision to downgrade Hong Kong’s credit rating outlook is being used by Western countries, led by the United States, to discredit Hong Kong and the Mainland. He said in a radio interview that Moody’s “only purpose” in its rating decision on Hong Kong was to suppress the development of the Mainland through Hong Kong.

    Source: RFI, December 8, 2023
    Briefings | | December 11, 2023 | Economy/Resources US-China Relations

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