The IQ of a CCTV Host

This is one of the funniest video I’ve watched lately.  No, it’s not a clip from Monty Python.  It’s just a CCTV interview.  Yes, I’m not mistaken.  It’s CCTV.  And no, there is no comedian involved.  It’s an interview with a Nobel Price winner Samuel Ting (or Ding Zhaozhong in PINYIN).  Soon after the program was aired, the China blogosphere was flooded with comments condemning the poor performance of the CCTV host Qu Xiangdong.  Many Chinese netizens were wondering why CCTV couldn’t pick a more intelligent host to interview someone of Samuel Ting’s calibre.  Samuel Ting was obviously bored by this idiot.  As you know, anything could happen when a genius gets bored.

This is a LINK to the Youku video.  (Sorry, I don’t know how to embed a Youku clip.) Please note how Ting managed to break every taboo in the book and there was nothing Qu could do about it.  It’s just brilliant.

The interview is conducted in Mandarin, of course.  But fortunately there is an English translation via chinaSMACK.  Thanks to Fauna for such a wonderful post.

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript:

In the first section of the video, Samuel Ting talked about the subjects he was good at in school and his choice between studying science or history:

CCTV: At the time, which subject were you more interested in, in your heart?

Ting: At least for me, what a middle school student is more interested in is what subject he can get very good grades in without studying a lot. No one get zero points and is still interested.

Ting: For Chinese history, I often got full marks. And I did not have to work very hard. Physics, chemistry, math, my grades were also not bad. What I was not so good at was called…”Three Principles of the People” and the like… [politics]

CCTV: Then at that time, why did you not choose history?

Ting: Because I had a kind of feeling that it would be very difficult to find the truth, because with the change of each dynasty and each period in China, the first thing they did was to rewrite history.

The second half of the interview was the funniest part:

CCTV: You are Ding Zhaozhong, Your younger brother is called Ding Zhaohua, and your youngest brother is called Ding Zhaomin–

Ting: (interrupting) Younger sister.

CCTV: Younger sister. If there were another one, would the name be Ding Zhaozu?

Ting: (without hestiation) No, the name would be Ding Zhaoguo.

Ting: …Because there was no “Guo”, we ran to Taiwan ….

[Let me spell it out a bit clearer for those who still don’t get it.  Through asking for the names of Ting and his siblings (Zhaozhong, Zhaohua, Zhaomin) and suggesting a possible name for Ting’s 4th sibling (Zhaozu), Qu wanted to direct the audience’s attention to the expression Zhonghua Minzu, which means “Chinese identity”.  But when Samuel Ting replied that it should be Zhaoguo, he changed the expression into Zhonghua Minguo, which means Taiwan.  And then by saying, “Because there was no ‘Guo’, we ran to Taiwan”, Ting made a double meaning joke.  The expression literary meant: “because we did not have this fourth child name ‘Guo’, we went to Taiwan”.  The implication was: “since Chiang Kai-shek lost Mainland China, we went with him to Taiwan”.]

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8 Responses to The IQ of a CCTV Host

  1. anonymous says:

    do you REALLY need to spell out “zhonghuamingguo” for your readership? Or are they really that depraved?

  2. anonymous says:


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  4. C.A. Yeung says:

    Is that you, Ferin?

    Most of my readers are non-Chinese who do not speak the language. That’s why they are reading an English language website. So what is so “depraved” about that?

    You can’t do PINYIN either. So what does it make you?

  5. Ned Kelly says:

    And why can’t our bloody ignorant commenter CAPITALISE the first letter in his sentence? The most likely explanation is that he studied Chinglish under appallingly ignorant Communist drones.

  6. Ned Kelly says:

    Oh wait, I should translate my above comment into Chinglish for him:

    “Why he is bad english, big letter outside, science on the China english under correct thought can be inconvenient.”

  7. anonymous says:

    last i checked, im not writing to anyone particularly respectable here. so sometimes i dont feel like reaching for the shift key.

    Most of my readers are non-Chinese who do not speak the language

    then what do they care for some obscure nation a few thousand miles away from their homes? pretty sad when people practically give themselves aneurysms trolling about some subject they never wanted to understand in the first place.

  8. C.A. Yeung says:

    Ferin asks, “then what do they care for some obscure nation a few thousand miles away from their homes? pretty sad when people practically give themselves aneurysms trolling about some subject they never wanted to understand in the first place.”

    I don’t know who you’re referring to. Many of my readers are from the business communities here. They may not speak a word of Chinese. But they are trading frequently with China. So I do think that they have a right to care.

    If you are referring to Ned and a few other ex- (or ex-ex-) expatriates here, then you are mistaken. Ned and others have probably lived longer in China then you do. They also understand more about what is really like living in China. Some of them (such as Ned) have done more to promote intercultural communications, civil rights and rule of law in China then you have given them credit for. In short, they are not trolling about. I am not sure about you.

    As for me, I don’t have to defend myself. My track record here and at various other blogs speak for themselves.

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