Chinese vocabulary notes (February + March 2023)

In this edition: Wuhan retired workers protest, new trend of middle-aged people leaving first-tier cities, Chinese spy balloon, perfectionism, pregnancy and “Red Roulette”.

Wuhan Retired Workers Protest Medical Insurance Reform

At the beginning of February, retired workers in Wuhan gathered in front of the Wuhan Municipal Government to protest against the health insurance reform implemented that same month. Chinese Journalist in exile 王志安 explains the background of the reform. He discusses why so many people oppose it, and if their reasons for opposition are valid. Last but not least, he has some ideas of his own on how to successfully reform medical insurance in China.

As always a clear and highly informative “insider perspective” on current affairs in China.

Level indication: HSK 5 / 6 (with Chinese / English subtitles)

国际歌 guójìgē Internationale
国歌 guógē National anthem
退休工 tuìxiū gōng retiree
上街抗议 shàng jiē kàngyì take to the streets to protest
个人医保账户 gèrén yībǎozhànghù Individual Health Insurance Account
统筹账户 tǒngchóu zhànghù pooled account
医保制度 yībǎo zhìdù medical insurance system
医疗保障体系 yīliáo bǎo zhàng tǐxì medical security system
存折 cúnzhé passbook, savings
医保卡 yībǎo kǎ medicare card
医保改革 yībǎo gǎigé health care reform
门诊 ménzhěn outpatient prescription
不报销的 bù bàoxiāo not reimbursed
住院率 zhùyuàn lǜ hospitalization rate

Middle-aged leaving first-tier cities

A new trend in China: more and more middle-aged people choose to leave the large 1-tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen for a simpler (and more affordable?) life in smaller cities. What is a “small city” in China anyway? According to 2017 statistics, China has about 102 cities with over 1 million people living in the urban area.

Level indication: HSK 5

中年人逃离北上广 Zhōng nián rén táolí běishàng guǎng middle-aged people flee Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou
一线城市 yīxiàn chéngshì tier 1 cities
百万富翁 bǎi​wàn​fù​wēng millionaire
繁重的工作 fánzhòng de gōngzuò tedious work
焦虑的生活 jiāolǜ de shēnghuó anxious life
教育基金 jiàoyù jījīn Education fund (financial resources for their children’s future education)
养老金 yǎnglǎo jīn pension
令人厌倦 lìng rén yànjuàn tiresome

What is it like to be pregnant in China?

What is it like to be pregnant in China? This is the kind of question you can’t Google. Eileen discusses with new mom Jane, her experience in going through a recent pregnancy in Mainland China.

Level indication: HSK 4 / 5

孕妇 yùnfù pregnant woman
怀孕 huáiyùn pregnant
兔唇 tùchún harelip
做产检 zuò chǎnjiǎn prenatal checkup
B超 B chāo ultrasound
生产 shēngchǎn birth
哺乳 bǔrǔ breast-feeding
宫缩频繁 gōngsuō pínfán frequent contractions
住院 zhùyuàn hospitalized
入院手续 rùyuàn shǒuxù hospital admission procedures
头胎 tóu tāi firstborn
羊水破了 yángshuǐ pòle amniotic fluid broke
晕血 yùnxiě fainting blood
剖腹产 pōufùchǎn caesarean section

Chinese spy balloon

Already forgot about “the Chinese spy balloon”? I thought the incident remarkable enough to include it in my notes. Lots of unusual vocabulary to cover here. Blinken’s visit to China was postponed after Chinese balloons entered U.S. airspace.

Level indication: HSK 5 / 6

侵犯美国领空 Qīnfàn měiguó lǐngkōng surveillance balloon
气球 qìqiú balloon
监视气球 jiānshì qìqiú civil meteorological research airship
民用气象研究飞艇 mínyòng qìxiàng yánjiū fēitǐng civil meteorological research airship
喷气式战斗机 pēnqì shì zhàndòujī jet fighter
击落 jíluò to shoot down
如出一辙 rúchūyīzhé exactly the same

Are you a perfectionist? Intermediate Chinese Podcast – Taiwanese Mandarin Podcast

What is your relation to perfectionism? Abby discusses 7 signs of perfectionism and gives her personal take on the topic. As for the seven signs: 1. Being Highly Critical; 2. Having Unrealistic Standards; 3. Focusing Only on Results; 4. Feeling Depressed by Unmet Goals; 5. Fear of Failure; 6. Procrastination; 7. Low Self-Esteem. What I like about Abby’s podcast: she speaks not too slow, not too fast, covers topics she’s genuinely interested in and is authentic.

Level indication: HSK 4/ 5

完美主义 wánměi zhǔyì perfectionism
完美主义的人 wánměi zhǔyì de rén perfectionist
完美主义者 wánměi zhǔyì zhě perfectionist
对自己的要求很高 duì zìjǐ de yāoqiú hěn gāo have high demands on themselves
完美的状态 wánměi de zhuàngtài perfect condition
对自己很严厉 duì zìjǐ hěn yánlì be tough on yourself

Interview with Desmond Shum, the author of “Red roulette”《红色轮盘》

I’m currently reading the book “Red Roulette: An Insider’s Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today’s China” by Desmond Shum. One of the most interesting books on contemporary Chinese politics I’ve read so far, because the author isn’t an academic or western “China expert”, but someone who as an entrepreneur had access to some of the most powerful people in Beijing. On YouTube you can find several English and Chinese interviews with Desmond Shum who was born in Shanghai and (partly) raised in Hongkong. The interviews in his native language are the most informative. In this conversation with 自由亚洲电台, he shares some of his insights and experiences.

Desmond Shum, who was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, developed the largest air cargo logistics facility in China, the Beijing Airport Cargo Terminal. He also led the development of the Bulgari Hotel in Beijing. In addition, starting in the early 2000s, he was an early pioneer of philanthropy in China, gifting extensively both domestically and internationally. Desmond holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, and is a graduate of the joint-EMBA program of Northwestern University (US) and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

About the author (Source: Amazon)

Level indication: HSK 5 / 6 (with Chinese subtitles)

红色轮盘 hóngsè lún pán red roulette
太太帮 tàitài bāng “mrs. gang” (the network of powerful cadres’ wifes)
秘书帮 mìshū bāng “secretary gang”
权贵 quánguì rich and powerful
红色血脉 hóngsè xuèmài red blood (descendants of the first communists who took part in the long march and founded China)
白手套 bái shǒutào white glove (person who manages business deals in service of the Chinese party elite)
执行项目 zhíxíng xiàngmù to execute a project
表现欲 biǎoxiànyù expressiveness
异于常人的记忆力 yì yú chángrén de jìyìlì extraordinary memory
随心所欲 suíxīnsuǒyù to do whatever you want

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