Home Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! Now China Knows We’re Stupid

Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! Now China Knows We’re Stupid

China, which has dozens of official languages, is now mocking Americans for being impressed by knowledge of just one.  

“U.S. media wowed after Mark Zuckerberg conducts Tsinghua University Q&A in Chinese,” reads a South Morning China Post headline about the Facebook CEO’s Wednesday speaking engagement. “Judging by the reaction in the U.S. press, a reader would be forgiven for thinking this was the first time an American had spoken a foreign language,” James Griffiths goes on to write. 

The story points to a handful of America’s hyperbolic headlines responding to the 30-minute Q&A video Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page

  • Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin, Blows Everyone’s Mind—Wired
  • Of Course Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Fluent MandarinMashable
  • Mark Zuckerberg nails a Q&A in Chinese like it’s no big dealSilicon Valley Business Journal

Mandarin, or Putonghua as it is known in China, is the official language of the mainland, and the one Zuckerberg spoke in his Q&A. What the China Post story isn’t so gauche as to point out is that there are 298 living languages in various states of use throughout China’s territories. Many citizens speak at least two, and more than a few also know English. 


What’s more, even though his audience was thrilled with Zuckerberg’s efforts, local reports differed from the U.S. media’s description of his alleged mastery. 

“Zuckerberg’s Mandarin pronunciation was far from fluent, but he was able to maintain intelligible conversation and the students responded with warm cheers for his effort and laughed at his humor,” China Daily reported

Like wearing a tie every day in 2009 and killing everything he ate in 2011, learning Mandarin is the year-long goal Zuckerberg set for himself in 2010. It’s also the one he said previously he failed to accomplish, but now it seems he continued his effort well past that ambitious single-year deadline. Certainly it helps that he’s got Priscilla Chan, his Chinese-American wife, as an in-house practice partner. 

See also: China Will Change The Way All Software Is Bought And Sold

Perhaps Zuckerberg’s goal in 2014 is assuring China it remains superior to its debtor, the United States. While the U.S. invades Afghanistan, China owns its mineral rights. They’ve got a super awesome high-speed train to Tibet. We have Amtrak. While U.S. space agencies send launch probes and corporate satellites, China’s goal is Mars. They own our manufacturing, of course. 

Maybe best of all: in China, Facebook is banned. 

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