With France showing the world how to 罢工 bàgōng, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the options in Chinese (and China.) The expressions to consider include:
罢工、bàgōng; 罢课 bàkè (stop work/study)
罢工 is probably the most common here I think (You have sit-downs; people sitting refusing to work over pay and/or conditions), but also 游行. 示威 on the other hand has a ring of challenge about it. You don't get much 示威 in China, particularly in respect of the government. The kind of protest you do see include complaints about how workers are treated (being laid off), how groups such as farmers are suffering (getting a raw deal), people getting evicted. Open defiance of the government is rare but you do see conflict with police about the way they go about their business. And of course you have protests by netizens on a wide range of issues. On campus you see quite a bit in the way of 'peaceful protest' on issues like treatment of migrant workers - I think this is 游行 rather than 示威.
Anybody suggest ways in which each of the above expressions are applied in China?
Comment on the difference between 游行 and 示威?
toianwDecember 22, 2010, 06:03 PM
Aha. I like a good protest.
As lujiaojie says 游行 is one type of of 示威. 示威 is a much broader term. As the characters in 游行 suggest, this one generally involves walking (as in a protest march) though I think it could also refer to marching to commemorate something. If you believe the media, the vast majority of 游行-ing in China seems to be in the form of the trusty 反日游行。
I think you might be right about 示威 being used more for news stories happening outside China and could involve more aggressive/confrontational techniques (though not necessarily).
Another one for your collection, that I came across recently whilst reading about the student protests in the UK, is 抗议. Seems to be used mainly as a verb or combining with other things to make a noun (抗议示威, 抗议活动，抗议人群). The demonstrators were referred to as either 示威者 or 抗议者。
In a recent class at my school, we talked about protests and demonstrations and my students told me there were no protests in China. I think they're somewhat naive. In fact, there appear to be quite a number. Up until 2005, the ministry of Information published figures for "mass incidents" ( 群体性事件). The total for that year was somewhere around 60,000 (though nobody seems quite sure what exactly counts as a "mass incident"). It seems the vast majority of them occur in pretty remote locations over disputes with/distrust of local government or local businesses.
Interesting topic. Maybe there's a CPod lesson in this.
哈哈，反日游行，没问题。 (I mean that ironically.)
Yeah, it's an interesting area. There is a lot to learn about subtle differences between different form of protest, I am just scratching the surface.
Thanks for those other terms - I will put them in my 'collection'. :)
There are many forms of protest. Some are just out of sight of the foreigner. Recently I was grateful when my Chinese colleagues stood up to the bosses and refused to pay the proposed increase in transport charges at a new campus. The bosses backed down, and instead of the (huge) increases, the charges were cancelled - we all now travel for free. Teachers that is. The students are still hit with 8 rmb per trip, but now they are mobilizing...
[My dictionary]. I will jump in immediately and say that I don't fully understand this 人 - well I guess pre-emptiveness is generally the product of human action (any ideas?)
Here's a real live 语 that I do understand ..
丝语 (the silky words spoken by one lover to another). :)
I heard that last night at a student Christmas party - I should put it on 'Heard it on the Street'. I post it here because it is not in my dictionary ..
Alot of the expressions like 先发制人 (and its counterpart 后发制人) emerged in a military or strategic type context, so its best to approach understanding their composition from that perspective. You asked about 人 - here it means something like 'others' or maybe the more specific 'opponent', and combined with 制人 means to 'control others'. Here 发 means to set into action, and 先 (or 后) indicates the temporal nature of the strategy or action. So the base meaning is to control or dominate others from taking initiative (and the counterpart is to wait for others to act and then counter, also often considered the wise strategy).
人 often has the meaning of 'others' (set in opposition to the self) in expressions, 助人为wei2乐 - treat helping others as a form of pleasure, 损人利己, harm others and aid oneself, etc.
I assume 班廷筠 is your Chinese name?? Sometime you should give us a run-down. I am deeply interested in names (and where people come from, their 家乡.)
Thnks a lot for your usual thorough explanation - a true 中国通。
I am learning a little about 象棋 but purely for the language and culture; I don't really have an interest in playing for its own sake. But I haven't got as far as 先发制人. I am still learning to be fluent in naming and describing moves (in a physical sense, not strategic).
In 象棋 is 车 still pronounced ju1? I heard that somewhere...its interesting, alot of my classmates still use that pronunciation (its an older pronunciation) for 车 generally when reading aloud literary Chinese, as it helps preserve rhyme in poetry, and has a more classical feel to it.
班廷筠 is indeed my name, it was given to me last year by my Chinese language teacher here at Harvard, her graduate research was in ancient history, and she said she chose 班 for the Han general 班超 and 廷筠 as an older-feeling name (she generally went for a classical feel with the whole name)...there was a poet 温庭筠, though although the sound is the same, its a different 廷/庭. Generally, I find people that like literature and old culture also like my name, and people who don't sometimes dislike it. I had to endure one girl I met trying to explain to me why its a weird name and I should change it. Annoying, but I like the classical old feel to it, and honestly I tend to enjoy the company of those who have the same impression, so its a decent friendship litmus test. ;)
Thanks for the compliment, but I wouldn't claim to be a 中国通, as my knowledge is pretty limited in scope. I understand Chinese politics, history, and language fairly well, but with only 2 months spent traveling in China total, I'm pretty clueless about alot of realities of life there.
'In 象棋 is 车 pronounced ju1?'
I am learning with my tutor, a young man in his late 20s who doesn't even like 象棋 (he's no militarist - this is all my idea). We use contemporary pronunciations. But as I am sure you are aware there is no standard game, apart from conventions used for competition. There is a fair degree of variety in the board and the pieces. I would not be surprised if there was variation in pronunciation depending on how keen your sense of history is.
Thanks for the explanation of your name. I understand your annoyance when someone tries to persuade you to change it. Our daughter changed hers at one stage - her first name was 'full of meaning' and a clever transliteration of her English given name, but this was lost on Chinese people. She eventually adopted a common sounding Chinese name, but this time there is a clever pun associated with her profession (again this is lost on the Chinese who don't know what she does.)
I chose my own name - I get occasional compliments from older educated Chinese because although rare it is a Chinese name, and people love柏树. Actually that is why I chose it; I also love柏树.
I may be your complement in some ways - my knowledge of politics, history, and language is still shallow, but I love observing everyday life her. And I have seen quite a bit more of China than most Chinese people I meet - not that I can claim to know more (most people have a lot of book knowledge of their country) but experience counts for something.
My 'research' projects are fairly unambitious - this semester I collected details on all of my students about their hometown - I am writing something that will include observations on the mobility of Chinese students. And closer to home my project is to walk right across my city on the old railway line (with my camera), a cross-section of life here. The longer term project is to follow a metro line as a comparison - but that is just an idea at present.
hiewhongliangDecember 27, 2010, 10:22 AM
Looking purely at the constituent characters, 示威 (示:show ; 威:power) would be closer to "demonstration". I would pick something like 抗议 (抗:defy; 议:opinion) if I am looking for the equivalent to "protest".
Eg the sentence "I protest against this new rule" we can say 我抗议这新规则. I think if we use 示威 it would have a significant "public demonstration" meaning.
However, common usage in different places may prove me wrong. I welcome any differing opinions.
Thanks for that. Looking back I think I was thinking of the noun 'protest' rather than the verb when I wrote the English translations in my original post (should have made that clear), and there is a subtle difference from my experience. So I may be closer to you than you thought. Protest is rather similar to demonstration, but in my mind the demonstration would need to be a group activity. What do you think? A protest can be staged by an individual - actually Lujiaojie gives us the example 绝食示威.
toianw also came up with 抗议, a verb - thanks for reinforcing that.
And I agree that we are not going to get the subtle differences in usage from dictionaries, and possibly there is variation from place to place.
I think I have four terms at least now to work with..
Hey bodawei, 抗议 can also be used as a noun, eg. 我对这规则有强烈的抗议。
What I am saying is that most of the forms we can use for "protest" are action descriptions: 示威/demonstration,rally; 罢工/strike, stop-work; etc. 抗议 is the only one that has the flavour of expression a person's belief/opinion/feeling. So in situations where we have to go beyond the action to the person's intent, 抗议 will do while 示威 etc will not.
Again my caveat - I am basing my use of the terms on their constituent characters. Actual common usage have this nasty habit of not conforming to my well-laid-out reasoning and rules!