Anatomy of the CCTV News

UPDATE: It appears the original source of this post is an internal self-parody written by the CCTV News people themselves in 2002. It was translated in part by the China Digital Times in 2007, and is now being passed around again in text form in 2010. The text we’ve translated below includes a few things that were not part of the original, as well as parts that were in the original but went untranslated by CDT in 2007. (Thanks to Joel Martinsen of Danwei for clarifying this).

The following is a translation of this, a joke that’s being passed around and was sent along to me by ChinaGeeks contributor Andy Yee. It is a satirical guide to that outlines the contents of 《新闻联播》, CCTV’s primary news program.

As the original is composed with perfect parallel structure, I have attempted to maintain at least a semblance of parallelism in the translation. However, this makes some notation necessary, so please refer to the footnotes if you don’t understand what something means.


Plot Structure
1. First ten minutes: the nation’s leaders are very busy, if they aren’t abroad then they’re in the countryside ((In the countryside visiting and/or helping the common people)).
2. Middle ten minutes: Everyone in the nation is very happy, if they aren’t becoming rich then they’re having great harvests.
3. Last ten minutes: Other countries are all very savage, if there aren’t bombings then there is rebellion.

Story Content
There are no meetings that are not grand;
There are no closings ((of meetings/ceremonies)) that aren’t victories;
There are no speeches that are not important;
There is no applause that is not enthusiastic;
There is no leader who is not significant;
There are no visits that are not cordial;
There is no receiving ((of guests)) that is not personal ((i.e., leaders are always there to personally welcome all those who call on them));
There is no progress that is not smooth;

There are no endings that are not satisfactory;
There are no accomplishments that are not huge;
There is no work that is not solid;
There is no productivity that is not outstanding;
There are no resolutions ((i.e., laws)) that do not pass;
There are no hearts that are not stimulated ((i.e. all the people are excited and passionate));
There are no teams that are not united;
The masses are always satisfied ((This line also breaks with the parallel structure in the original piece));

There are no leaders who are not smiling;
There are no problems that are not resolved;
There are no small events that do not attract worldwide attention;
All visitors are ones this station just received ((This line also breaks with the parallel structure in the original piece));
There is no opposition that is not intense;
There is no negotiation that is not principled;
There is no accomplishment that does not exceed its quota;
There is no Sino-Japanese relationship that is not friendly;

There is no Sino-American relationship that is not cooperative;
There is no completion ((of construction, etc.)) that does not happen early;
There are no holidays that are not happy and auspicious;
There is no route that is not correct;
There is no policy that is not wise;
There are no women who are not liberated;
There are no living standards that are not met ((i.e. there is no one in the country living in poverty));
There is no sacrifice that is not solemn and stirring.

Feeling of the masses after watching:
Living in China is truly joyful; life in foreign countries is too horrible!

Netizen Comments

Collected from a variety of sources including the post linked above, this and this.

“Really too spot-on! Generally on CCTV News the people of our country are very happy while people from other countries live in an abyss of suffering.”

“In truth, I’ve never watched CCTV News.”

“Lord! Too accurate!”

“Hypocritical CCAV ((CCAV is a joke play on CCTV, as “AV” is Chinese slang for pornography (“Adult Video”) ))”

“Adding on: […] harmony is absolute.”

Many netizens also commented that the post, or parts of it, was old, but hey, it’s new to us!

0 thoughts on “Anatomy of the CCTV News”

  1. Great stuff. Life imitates art imitates life. CCTV are the masters of self-satirisation, even if they don’t know it.

    They give us a good laugh from time to time, but on balance I wish their paymasters would just grow up and cut the BS propaganda.


  2. But they do know it, stuart: the middle section of this is an expanded version of a parody song done up by the CCTV news commentary division for their 2002 annual in-house party. There’s a video on Youtube (which I’d link to but it seems to have gotten my previous comment spam filtered). CDT did a translation of that clip in 2007 or so under the title “Self-mockery of CCTV broadcasters and employees.”


  3. Hey, there’s this hot new trend, have you heard of it? The grass-mud-horse? It’s a play on words – hilarious! You think it’s been translated before?


  4. I liked the translation, parallelisms are difficult. And it’s an amusing parallel with the Mao years as well, where foreign news also consisted mostly of disaster reports.


  5. As usual, jdmartinsen is extremely helpful and more knowledgeable than I. The CDT original is here. However, what CDT translated and we translated are obviously somewhat different as there is only a little overlap between them. Either way, it appears that this has been translated before, although not in its entirety.

    Anyway, the fact that it originally came from CCTV news people themselves is pretty interesting!

    @ Harland and Paul: Zing! Yes, we will be covering the “Grass Mud Horse” phenomenon sometime next year.


  6. 这算什么,大陆网站这些视频多的是。多的都没人看了。外国人思想觉悟有点落后了。

    comments from youtube viewer :P


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