In the Loop

In the Loop: March 11, 2009 Archive

Chinese Foreign Ministry 'Phrase of the Day'

Posted at 11:30 AM on March 11, 2009 by Jeff Horwich (1 Comments)

Spokesman Ma, offering color commentary
(photo from his official Foreign Ministry page)
Page A8 of my Wall Street Journal this morning: Two stories related to China, one all-purpose comment from the Foreign Ministry spokesman that apparently works great for any situation the country wants to quickly and cleverly dismiss.

Spokesman Ma Zhaoxu
on U.S.-China disagreement over maritime boundaries for military vessels:

"The U.S. claims are gravely in contravention of the facts and confuse black and white, and are totally unacceptable to China."

...aaaaand responding to this week's harsh criticism by the Dalai Lama over Tibet:

"The Dalai group confuses black and white and spreads rumors."

In other words, China would like to point out that, seriously, we could fix a lot of the world's disagreements if we would just get our blacks and our whites straight, and stop confusing them.

Black is black, white is white -- what is so hard about that? China can tell the difference. All the rest of us need to start paying more attention to dark things, and light things, and the ways in which they are not the same.

Maybe Spokesman Ma just had that particular idiom on the brain. What'll it be tomorrow? Some nominations for future catch-all phrases to help the Chinese Foreign Ministry get through those pesky press conferences:

* "baby with the bathwater"
* "A stitch in time saves nine"
* "to beat the band"
* "Riddle me this, riddle me that"

More?

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