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July 26, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9464

Chinese Government Translation Of Leader Xi Jinping's Speech Marking CCP's 100th Anniversary Toned Down – Even Omitted – His Harsh Statements To Present A Softer Image Of Him Abroad

July 26, 2021
China | Special Dispatch No. 9464

On July 1, 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech at Tiananmen Square marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The lengthy speech included aggressive, inflammatory statements.

In the official translation of the speech released by the Chinese government, Xi's statements were toned down, in an attempt to present a softer image of him to foreign audiences. The official English version did not convey the harsh sentiments that Xi expressed to the party and to the Chinese public.

MEMRI has examined and retranslated these segments of Xi's speech, comparing them with the Mandarin original and the official English translation and adding annotation.

The differences appear minor but they are actually significant. Xi was addressing an domestic audience, while the official translations were for foreign consumption. In order to understand how harsh Xi's speech actually was, the original Mandarin version must be examined, along with the deliberate mistranslation and the correct translation.

The CCP has several officially approved translation departments and institutions, such as the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the CCP, the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, the Translation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, numerous foreign languages universities, and more. Thus, official CCP English translations are usually quite accurate.

Below, MEMRI will show paragraphs 4, 32, 37, and 46 of Xi's original statements in Mandarin followed by:

  • the official CCP English translation of these statements;

  • the MEMRI analysis of this official translation;

  • the correct translation of these statements.[1] 

The relevant parts of the statements in both languages are emphasized.


(Source: Chinadaily.com.cn)

Paragraph 4 Of Xi's Speech: Two "Centenary Goals" – 1921 And 1949

Mandarin original: 里,我代表党和人民庄宣告,经过全党全国各族人民持续奋斗,我们实现第一个百年斗目,在中大地上全面建成了小康社会,史性地解决了绝对贫问题,正在意气风发向着全面建成社会主义现代化国的第二个百年斗目是中民族的大光荣!是中国人民的大光荣!是中国共党的大光荣!

Official CCP translation: "On this special occasion, it is my honor to declare on behalf of the Party and the people that through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. This is a great and glorious accomplishment for the Chinese nation, for the Chinese people, and for the Communist Party of China!"

Annotation: The two "centenary goals" are: a) to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects in China by 2021, the centenary of the CCP; and b) to build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects by 2049, the centenary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

MEMRI translation: "On this special occasion, it is my honor to declare on behalf of the Party and the people that through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects on the land of China [by 2021, the centenary of the Communist Party of China]. This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects [by 2049, the centenary of the People's Republic of China]. This is a great and glorious accomplishment for the Chinese nation, for the Chinese people, and for the Communist Party of China!"

Paragraph 32 Of Xi's Speech: No "Insolent Lecturing" To "Dictate" To Us

Mandarin original: 民族有在5000多年史演中形成的灿烂文明,中国共有百年践和70多年经验们积极学文明的一切有益成果,迎一切有益的建和善意的批,但我们绝不接受“教师爷”般指气使的教!中国共党和中国人民将在自己选择的道路上昂首步走下去,把中国步的命运牢牢掌握在自己手中!

Official CCP translation: "The Chinese nation has fostered a splendid civilization over more than 5,000 years of history. The Party has also acquired a wealth of experience through its endeavors over the past 100 years and during more than 70 years of governance. At the same time, we are also eager to learn what lessons we can from the achievements of other cultures, and welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. We will not, however, accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us. The Party and the Chinese people will keep moving confidently forward in broad strides along the path that we have chosen for ourselves, and we will make sure the destiny of China's development and progress remains firmly in our own hands.:

Annotation: The translation of the emphasized phrases is a little awkward, and the context of these phrases was not accurately presented in the official CCP version; these words are stronger in Mandarin than the official translation implies.

MEMRI translation: "The Chinese nation has fostered a splendid civilization over more than 5,000 years of history. The Party has also acquired a wealth of experience through its endeavors over the past 100 years and during more than 70 years of governance. At the same time, we are always active in learning from and drawing on all useful achievements of human civilization, and welcome all helpful suggestions and well-intentioned criticism. We will never, however, accept insolent lecturing from those who feel they have the right to dictate to us. The Party and the Chinese people will keep moving confidently forward in broad strides along the path that we have chosen for ourselves, and we will make sure the destiny of China's development and progress remains firmly in our own hands."

Paragraph 37 Of Xi's Speech: "We Will Never Allow Any Foreign Force To Bully, Oppress, Or Enslave Us; Anyone Who Would Attempt To Do So Will Bash Their Heads And Spill Blood On The Great Wall Of Steel Built From The Flesh And Blood Of Over 1.4 Billion Chinese People"

Original in Mandarin. 中国人民是崇尚正、不畏暴的人民,中民族是具有烈民族自豪感和自信心的民族。中国人民从来没有欺迫、奴役其他国家人民,去没有,在没有,将来也不会有。,中国人民也不允任何外来力欺迫、奴役我妄想这样干,必将在14亿多中国人民用血肉筑成的钢铁长城面前碰得破血流!

Official CCP translation: "We Chinese are a people who uphold justice and are not intimidated by threats of force. As a nation, we have a strong sense of pride and confidence. We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will. By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people."

Annotation: This paragraph is the most militant and memorable of Xi's lengthy speech, so it is arguably the most important. The official English translation tones down the harsh meaning that is clearly understood in China: a) The word "subjugate" does not reflect the special tragic connotation in CCP narrative discourse that the word used by Xi reflects – which is accurately translated as "enslave." b) Even more important are the two most notable phrases in Xi's strongest statement, which is directed at the U.S. without explicitly naming it: "bash heads and spill blood" " against the sacrifice of the Chinese people's "flesh and blood.' Such emotive, colloquial language is very rare in formal CCP speech. Xi was sending a direct and personal message to both the CCP and the Chinese public, and it was toned down in the official translation for foreign audiences.

MEMRI translation: "We Chinese are a people who uphold justice and are not intimidated by threats of force. As a nation, we have a strong sense of pride and confidence. We have never bullied, oppressed, or enslaved the people of any other country, and we never will. By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or enslave us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will bash their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of over 1.4 billion Chinese people."

Paragraph 46 of Xi's Speech: We Must Take Resolute Action To Smash Any Attempt Toward 'Taiwan independence'

Mandarin original: 解决台湾问题实现祖国完全一,是中国共党矢志不渝的史任,是全体中儿女的共同愿望。要持一个中国原九二共,推祖国和平程。包括两岸同胞在内的所有中儿女,要和衷共团结向前,粉碎任何台独图谋,共民族复美好未来。任何人都不要低估中国人民捍国家主土完整的决心、定意志、能力!

Official CCP translation: "Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward "Taiwan independence," and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Annotation: The key terms omitted from the official translation are "smash," "firm," "strong," and "formidable." Xi wanted to send these strong signals to the CCP and the Chinese people, and they received the most applause from the audience of CCP members.

MEMRI translation: "Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification is an historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to smash any attempt toward "Taiwan independence," and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the firm resolve, the strong will, and the formidable capacity of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

 

[1] Language.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202107/02/WS60de676ca310efa1bd65f4fe.html, July 2, 2021.

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