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Looks aren’t everything

Perhaps more than any other written language, Chinese can be visually appealing. But beautiful characters may communicate thoughts that are not so lovely. People at the Max Planck Institute found that out the hard way. They published a special report on China and wanted a dramatic set of Chinese characters to make the cover of the report stand out. They selected symbols from a Chinese literary work that they thought looked nice. Someone should have told them the characters were from a strip club advertisement that said, “Young housewives having figures that will turn you on.”

Reference Links

Chinese ‘classical poem’ was brothel ad – Science journal mistakenly uses flyer for Macau brothel to illustrate report on China

February 2009’s Reader’s Digest (p.105)


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