Treasonous slogan a typo: Forbidden City

15:25, May 17, 2011      

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Forbidden City authorities finally apologized Monday for the latest in a series of humiliating gaffes: a silk banner presented to city police proclaiming the need to "undermine the motherland."

A typo in the praise slogan from the Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, botched up the intended message of "safeguarding" with "undermining."

No museum leaders were to blame in any way for the latest snafu, said publicity officer Chang Lingxing.

All the wording was done by the museum's security department, he said, "and the deputy director might have had no time to examine the banner."

The museum's deputy curator Ji Tianbin and other officials handed two silk banners to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on Friday in praise of their cracking of the now-notorious May 9 Forbidden City curio theft case.

When the photos were posted on the police website, Web users immediately noticed – undermine – instead of – safeguard.

"The Forbidden City first lost exhibits, then lost face," a Web user commented. The phrase immediately went viral as Chinese media organizations such as Caijing online quoted it in headlines.

Forbidden City authorities responded that they had consulted "experts" about the wording of the banner and that their Chinese knowledge was "impeccable."

In an increasingly entertaining defense, one anonymous Forbidden City official explained to the Beijing-based Legal Mirror on Saturday that "" was not a typo, but the intended choice of word based on "expert" opinions.

"The meaning of this character is the same as in the phrase ‘It is easy to shake a mountain, but difficult to shake the Chinese armed forces,'" the unnamed official reportedly said.

The official defense prompted a fresh round of Internet hilarity.

"Aren't they a bunch of rebels?" one forum user asked.

With the defense nosediving, a public apology was published on the museum's official microblog Monday morning.

The museum security department ordered the banners. No official examined them "due to lack of time," the apology's careful wording explained.

"However, the security department then defended their mistake and argued irrationally. It has been criticized by the leader," the apology continued.

The apology prompted a third wave of Internet humor, being reposted more than 30,000 times as of Monday afternoon and receiving more than 14,000 comments.

"Glory belongs to the leader and all liability to the subordinates," was one typical Web user comment. "Well done!"

"Isn't the person presenting the banner the deputy curator?" another comment asked.

A corrected banner had been sent to the police, said Chang Lingxing.

Source: Global Times
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