On October 10, the New York Times reported on the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Chinese writer Mo Yan (莫言). As might be expected for positive coverage of this momentous event by a respected American newspaper, In China, a Writer Finds a Deep Well has quickly been translated, re-packaged and served up to the masses in the October 13, 2012 print edition of Cankao Xiaoxi (参考消息) as 美报细述莫言作品特点.
Cankao Xiaoxi is a respected and influential Chinese-language digest of the world press with a long history, and in many cities across China it sells out every day before noon. Virtually no English is used and little or no content is added. But references deemed unbecoming to China’s image are often “airbrushed.” It targets working-class men over 30, many of whom still prefer to get their daily news fix from the state-run TV or newspapers.
As usual in my pieces on Cankao Xiaoxi, I run the original English copy immediately below. For the benefit of English speakers who cannot read the Chinese version published and distributed throughout China, I cross out the English words that were deleted when the article was translated into Chinese, and indicate any added copy (normally just for readability’s sake) by putting it [in brackets]. This way one can better see how Cankao’s editors “package” foreign copy for domestic consumption.
If you'd like to see what Cankao Xiaoxi cut when it published its version of the NYT piece, click here.