Chasing Mirages

Archive for December, 2013

Possibly the worst Chinese name ever, but also the most fitting

by on Dec.11, 2013, under Quickies

According to this sign placed by the government agency in charge of permitting rare earth metal extraction, the name of the person in charge of this particular mining operation is 鐘賤林.  The first character, 鐘, is zhong1 in pinyin and means “clock”.  It’s not meaningful here because it’s a surname.  The second character, however, is very rarely seen in Chinese names because of its overwhelmingly negative meaning and connotation.  (jian4) means despicable or cheap, and is often used in the epithet “賤人” which means “slut” or just a real piece of shit.  The last character, 林 (lin2), means forest.  So this guy’s name means “despicable forest”.  Fitting for a government official responsible for supervising a rare earth mine.

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Dongjiang Expedition Part 5: Rare earth hell, continued

by on Dec.01, 2013, under Posts

Ganzhou (贛州) in southern Jiangxi (江西) is known as “The Kingdom of Rare Earth“.  It is also a place where the government has tried to cut production and curb illegal mining in recent years.  A useful rule in China is that you can tell what the most pressing issues are in any locality by looking at Communist party slogans.  The one in the picture above reads (approximately) “Illegal rare earth miners are destroyers of our children’s future”.  Another one, of which I was unable to take a picture, read “Illegal rare earth mining will result in immediate torching of all excavation equipment.”

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