There is a heated debate going on regarding the lack of Chinese characters on China’s official Olympics uniforms in contrast with those on German’s sportswear.
Personally, I see no point in not printing Chinese text on China’s official uniforms. But for this post, I will purposely play the role of a “CCP apologist” and try to put these things in positive terms. 😉 Besides, I will explain two frequently used Chinese phrases and hopefully cast some light on a particular aspect of the Chinese culture.
In the Chinese culture, it is a top priority to go out one’s way to make the guests comfortable. It is a high praise indeed if one could be said to make the guests feel at home (宾至如归). Beijing, along with many other efforts, has tried very hard to teach many of its residents English in anticipation of the need to give guides to some hopelessly lost foreigners. (Some of such efforts in China, not necessarily related to the Olympics per se, have produced rather amusing results.) Seriously , it would be unfair to simply dismiss such excises as just a propagandist attempt at image polishing. As such, it is perhaps easier to understand the English only design of the Chinese uniforms.
On the other hand, it is also expected for the guests to follow the practices and respect the values of the host (入乡随俗). There is a comparable saying in English, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The fact that German uniforms have prominent Chinese writings will certainly endear those wearing them to the Chinese viewers. The actual Chinese words on the font of the German T-shirt, “Thanks Beijing!”, will definitely be appreciated as the marking of a gracious guest.
And now, here are some graphics and photos I found of Chinese and Germany uniforms.