PHOTO BY HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP. Edited by VICE. For illustrative purposes only.
In China, red banners are a common sight in many localities. They are used for various purposes — broadcasting state propaganda, announcing celebrations, or simply serving friendly reminders to residents in the neighbourhood.
As the coronavirus continues its rampage across China and the rest of the world, these signature red banners now feature surprisingly (some say hilariously) aggressive slogans about virus prevention. Some are direct and to-the-point, while others are kept light-hearted and humorous. There are also those bordering on threatening and abusive. But the best part of all these slogans? They rhyme.
Of course, these won’t have the same ring to them when translated in English, but they’re pretty striking all the same.
“Don’t visit your relatives, don’t visit your friends, don’t walk around needlessly.” Photo shared by a user on Weibo.
“Wearing a face mask is better than using a breathing tube, lying around at home is better than in the ICU.” Photo shared by CCTV-13 on Weibo.
“Came back and was stunned by the slogan in my neighbourhood. Northeastern dialect is hardcore like that,” said a Weibo user as she shared a photo of a conspicuous red banner with the chilling message: “Use a face mask to cover your nose, rather than a white cloth to cover your body.”
“Use a face mask to cover your nose, rather than a white cloth to cover your body.” Photo from Weibo.
“At this time, everyone you meet on the streets are ghosts who want to take your life.” Photo shared by a user on Weibo.
This banner in Suining City, Sichuan province reads: “Today you visit relatives or friends, next year only a dog remains in your house.” Photo shared by a user on Weibo.
“Now, Invitations for meals are all Hongmen Banquets.” The Hongmen Banquet was a historical feast between two rival armies in ancient China which involved an assassination attempt. In modern times, the term “Hongmen Banquet” refers to an event that appears harmless but is in fact treacherous. Photo shared by CCTV-13 on Weibo.
“If you bring the virus back to your village you’re failing your son, if you infect your parents, you have no conscience.” Photo shared by CCTV-13 on Weibo.
“Those who are gathering outside are a shameless bunch, those who play mahjong together are desperados.” Photo shared by CCTV-13 on Weibo.
“This year you visit people, next year you visit graves.” Photo shared by a user on Weibo.
“Avoid meal gatherings now so you can still eat in the future, don’t visit your relatives now so you can still have family in the future.” Photo shared by the Voice of China on Weibo.
“Those who go out will have their legs broken, those who rebut will lose their teeth.” Photo shared by a user on Weibo.
People are also sharing WeChat sticker packs that contain hilarious slogans related to the coronavirus.
This one reads: “Today you’re full from eating exotic wildlife, tomorrow you rest well on the hospital bed.” Image shared by Qingdao Lifestyle Magazine on Weibo.
“Face mask or breathing tube, you choose one,” reads this sticker with a face mask photoshopped onto it. Image shared by Qingdao Lifestyle Magazine on Weibo.