Mere end 20.000 journalister rammer Beijing for at dække Kina i almindelighed og OL i særdeleshed. Mange af de udlændinge, der har boet fast i Kina og Beijing i årevis, sidder derfor lige nu og klasker sig selv i panden over de tåbeligheder, som laves af journalister, der ikke ved mere om Kina end hvad der stod i deres in-flight magasin, som de brugte fire minutter på at læse under flyveturen til Beijing, og derfor i øjeblikket gylpes ud i tv-indslag og avisartikler over hele kloden.
Please do not write “Beijing is a city of stark contrasts” and refrain from using any variation thereof — “a city of startling juxtapositions,” or (needless to say) “a city of yin and yang.” Not that it isn’t a city of, um, rather pronounced differences; it’s just too damned lazy an observation to make. A special enjoinder to photographers: please resist the temptation to position yourself in a hutong with a decrepit but charming tile-roofed courtyard home in the foreground and a shiny, hyper-modern steel-and-glass skyscraper rising behind. No using Blade Runner comparisons for Beijing. You’ll want to save those for Shanghai, believe me.
The bureaus of reputable western papers here in China have a rule against quoting taxi drivers. But since Beijing’s cabbies are so fabulously colorful, you will be permitted one exception. Make it a good one. Helpful hint: That story about efforts by our city’s cabbies to learn English phrases? That one’s been written several thousand times so please, anything but that one.
No writing “There is an ancient Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.’” There isn’t such a curse. No writing “the Chinese word for crisis includes the character for opportunity and the character for danger.” That it may be true doesn’t reduce my aggravation each time I see it in print. In fact, just to be safe, avoid anything involving “an ancient Chinese saying.” This will save you, anyhow, from having to Google for choice quotes from Sun Tzu or Confucius’s Analects.