BRI NEWS US-initiated trade conflict inspires a wave of indignant Chinese poetry


US-initiated trade conflict inspires a wave of indignant Chinese poetry

Global Times

05:32, August 14, 2018


Both Chinese and US national flags fly on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in November 2017. (Photo: VCG)

As trade tensions simmer between China and the US, Chinese poetry enthusiasts are so angry about the aggressive US policies that they have spontaneously written hundreds of poems charged with patriotism.

They write poetry to criticize US protectionism as "hegemonic" and "reckless," and condemn the "capricious" policies of US President Donald Trump.

There has even been a poetry writing contest on this subject held by a folk poetry association, where poets battle Trump's tariffs with an arsenal of verse, offering a mix of biting humor, concern and hope. 

Most of the poets write undaunted, valiant and tough verse to show their determination to fight to the end.

The farmer once warned in pain,

How can you warm a vicious snake in your bosom!

Now we emptied our pockets to help you appease a storm,

And yet you opened your bloody mouth to us and increased the tariffs.

You use Taiwan as a pawn against us,

And envy our Belt and Road initiative and our high-speed train.

Noisy as the sparrows and crows are in the West,

China will fly to its goal like a giant crane. 

(By Yang Xiaoru)

Some contributors blame the current US protectionist policies on Trump's own rash decisions, and bash his confrontational approach to China: 

After becoming president he turned old and crazy,

The White House witnesses his hair go gray.

Trade deficits and unilateralism continue, 

Trump's words cannot be trusted. 


The wealthy man becomes a bandit,

The president is a profiteer,

He has been playing with fire. 

(By Hutufei Hututu)

According to an editor of a leading State-run poetry aggregation website, who declined to be named, the editorial team has been making efforts to filter out intemperate remarks or content that contradicts China's official attitude to this dispute.

The editorial team also filters out serious personal insults to Trump, although less serious attacks have been frequent. Classical protest

Typing key words such as "Sino-US trade war poems" into an internet search engine pulls up hundreds of results online, ranging from quatrains, seven-character octaves and couplets to the qu form - a type of classical Chinese poetry based upon the tunes of songs. 

Huang Yusheng, a member of the Jiangxi Writers Association, recently penned a poem entitled "On the China-US Trade Conflict," which lashes out at the US protectionist tariffs on Chinese goods:

Trump turns into superman when he wears a red pantsuit,

He swung 301 sticks and beats them wildly against China,

His anger was dispelled: felt the pain? You deserve it because you are the only one in the world who disobeys.

But China returns tai chi push hands back,

The sticks all fell on the Pacific.

Trump rests his arms on the hips: 

Wait for my aircraft carrier to bring you to your knees.

Huang uses comic book imagery to portray Trump, which in his words not only "taunts Trump's arrogance, but also satirizes American hegemony."

Li Tao, a professor of Chinese literature at the Southwest Medical University, commented that the metaphor used in the poem was vivid and accurate, achieving a spicy but humorous effect by using irony.     

"Using the term 'tai chi push hands' - a metaphor with Chinese characteristics - is a good way to refer to China's tenacious and flexile response to US toughness and brutality," Li continued.

Huang's poem was written in early April, but he admitted that the trade friction fermented much faster than he imagined, and he believes "it is far from the time when the US throws its hardest punch."

"It is obvious that the US, under the leadership of a 72-year-old toddler, continually curbs China's development in the long run, and we definitely cannot let him go through with it," Huang said.

"We need voices from all sectors to reflect our confidence and determination to be victorious. The voice of the poet cannot be absent," Huang said.

"The majority of the Chinese public has not yet realized the seriousness of the matter. It is a critical moment that determines whether we can smoothly step toward stable prosperity. It is about individual interests. We have to work together to survive successfully, which may otherwise be very dangerous for our country," Huang told the Global Times.

Poetry contest 

"Poems about Sino-US trade ties" is a special column on the official online message board of the Chinese Poetry Society, featuring more than 50 works. 

In a similar vein, the Sanmenxia Couplets Society, based in Henan Province, held a couplets competition on the subject in April and received more than 100 submissions. 

The society president Fang Juliu told the Global Times that they initially held the event in the hope that everyone could have a more sober understanding of the Sino-US trade dispute and build a common belief in safeguarding national interests. 

"We believe that the couplets can offer a new lens to see the current affair, and it seems to be resonating deeply at this particular moment," he said.

Zhang Xiangxue, the judge of the competition, confirmed to the Global Times the most of contributions set the tone of patriotism in the competition, while pro-US verse or people favoring capitulation were rarely seen. He also confirms that he would disapprove content opposing Chinese economic and political interests.

"If the trade tensions escalate, we will consider continuing this kind of cultural competition to pull together our voices and express our concerns over this domestically and internationally crucial issue," Zhang said.

Patriotic tradition

Chinese poetry lovers have long had a tradition of writing patriotic poems at critical junctures in history and  at national life-or-death moments. For example, many patriotic poems were written during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

These days, retired civil servants, teachers and doctors who care about the current political situation have become the mainstay of this kind of poetry.

"A simple but appealing style of writing is the key characteristic of this kind of poem," Li Tao told the Global Times. "They need to be colloquial and rhythmic for broader appeal."

"Similar to the poems that appeared during the war in 1940s, these provocative works are not necessarily the best in artistic value, but they are normally in a sharp, straightforward and ambitious writing style which can more quickly resonate with the masses who are truly affected by the trade friction at the moment," Li added.

Excerpts of trade war poetry


A red sun rises in the high mountain,

A giant dragon dances in the deep sea,

Obstacles may occur in the great Chinese dream of rejuvenation,

But one can overcome them by staying true to the original aspiration.

Cooperate, reciprocate and achieve mutual benefits,

Assist others through the Belt and Road initiative.

The American Jaguar may prey on weak animals,

but it will envy us who have friends everywhere.

By Xiujiang Yiye

China-US Trade War

Chinese people tell China's story 

and the wolf is agitated.Even Allah can see

that the wolf is waving the baton.

Allah gives it a stare,

and the wolf sends out missiles.

The missiles raged through

Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

By Hongfen Caomu

On the China-US Trade War

The harmonious global village,

is haunted by Uncle Sam like a ghost.

Preying on the weak,

it rides directly into people's backyards.

It cannot bear sharing,

And dreams of taking everything alone.

Whenever a neighbor rises in power,

It will threaten with devil's claws.

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