China Youth Daily’s Report on the North Korean Pavilion in Shanghai

North Korean Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo -- Photo and story by Zheng Pingping

Zheng Pingping[郑萍萍], “After 159 Years, North Korea Participates in its First World Expo [159年后,朝鲜首次参加世博会],” China Youth Daily [中国青年报], May 1, 2010.  Translation by Adam Cathcart.

4月30日,即将揭开大幕的世博园区里略安静,第一次参加世博会的朝鲜馆朴素亮相。“世博会是中国的喜事,我们把中国的喜事当成自己的喜事一样高兴。”世博会试运行期间,朝鲜馆负责人、朝鲜商业会议所副会长李成云几乎整天都站在馆门口,微笑迎接观众。这是自1851年英国伦敦举办第一届世博会以来,朝鲜第一次参加世博会。朝鲜馆成为很多中国游客的目标,高峰时期进入朝鲜馆,要排队半个小时左右。来上海参加世博一日游的常州市民李健,购买了一幅朝鲜的工艺画后,又回到入口,向佩戴着金日成头像的李成云询问画家的名字。  李成云对《中国青年报》记者说,朝中友谊历史久远,四五十岁的中国人都对《卖花姑娘》这样的朝鲜歌曲耳熟能详,所以要借世博会的机会,给上海市民、中国人民带来惊喜,给他们留下今日朝鲜的好印象。

On April 30, the eve of the curtain-raising ceremonies, a site within the World Park district sits slightly quietly, the simple debut of a North Korean pavilion at a World Expo.  Li Songyun [李成云], the Vice-Director of the DPRK’s Business Conference Office and the  North Korean responsible for the pavilion, stands its entrance almost everyday, a smile on his face welcoming the crowds.  “The World Expo is a happy occasion for China , and we are equally happy about this event as we would be about our own,” Li says.

[This year’s pavilion marks] the first North Korean participation in the World Expo dating from the event’s inception in London in 1851.   The North Korean pavilion has become the destination for many Chinese tourists, who, at peak times, need to queue [排队] for about half an hour.   Li Jian, visiting Shanghai on his first day on a trip from Changzhou, bought a North Korean oil canvas, and afterwords sought out Li Songyun, wearing a Kim Il Song pin, to ask him the name of the painter.    Li Songyun told China Youth Daily reporters that “DPRK-China friendship has a long history, and that Chinese in their 40s and 50s had heard songs from the [North Korean] film the “Flower Girl” so many times they could repeat them.  Therefore [he went on to say] the Expo provided an excellent opportunity to give a little surprise to the people of Shanghai and the Chinese people to leave them with a good impression of present-day DPRK.

“我们从没参加过这么大的世界盛会,我们开始也曾害怕、紧张,不知道该怎么办。这个过程中多了中国朋友的帮助。”因为是第一次参加世博会,朝鲜特别成立了世博会国家委会,多次遴选方案。最初的设计理念是平壤的城市开发,后来考虑到“可能过于注重硬件”,为了配合上海世博会“城市,让生活更美好”的主题,修改为“人民的乐园”。 朝鲜馆工作人员金银奎注意到,中国观众特别喜欢以展馆里的“主体思想塔”为背景拍照。他用流利的汉语介绍说,主体思想塔是为了纪念金日成诞辰70周年而在平壤修建的,塔高170米。和李成云一样,他也佩戴着一金日成头像的胸章,但是两者的图案不同。

Li Songyun said: “We have never before participated in such an immensely popular world event, [so] at first we were fearful, nervous, and didn’t know what we were going to do.  In this process, we were fortunate to receive much help from Chinese friends.”   Because it was their first time participating in the World Expo, North Korea set up a World Expo National Preparatory Committee and debated multiple proposals. The earliest design concept regarded Pyongyang’s urban development, but after consideration, this theme was considered as “possibly having an excess focus on hardware.”  In order to be more congruent with the Shanghai World Expo theme of “Better City, Better Life” theme, [the North Koreans] modified their plan and proposed a “people’s paradise.”

North Korean pavilion staff member Kim Yinkui noted that the Chinese audience particularly enjoys taking photos in front of the “Tower of Juche Ideology [主体思想塔].”  Using fluent Chinese, Kim introduced the Juche Tower by stating that it had been built to commemorate the 70th birthday of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, and was a tower 170 meters high.  Like Li Songyun, he [Kim] also wore a Kim Il Sung badge, but pictures on the two men’s pins were different.

几台电视机正在播放反映朝鲜人民生活的录像,即使没有发达国家的大LED、4D影院、IMAX等高科技手段,这些电视仍吸引了不少观众。位女观众甚至拉开随身携带的小马扎,坐在电视机前看了起来。电视里正在播放“朝鲜向往全社会知识分子化,向强盛大国”。 看到朝鲜人过年吃绿豆煎饼和年糕汤的视频,一位小朋友兴奋地喊“我也要吃”。而男性观众显然对朝鲜邮票更有兴趣。一套朝鲜纪念邮票售价20元人民币,而更多式样的邮票仅是展示品,不能出售。 李成云说:“中国以前也受到很深的压迫,但因为有党和政府的正确领导,我们看到中国正在创造奇迹。”告别时,他对记者说,希望你们多宣传朝鲜,多支持中朝友谊。

A television set plays reflections of North Korean people’s lives.  Even without the LED, 4D cinema, IMAX and other high-tech methods [seen in the pavilions] of large developed countries, this television still attracts a lot of viewers.  One woman in the audience carrying a small Magyar [presumably a chair], sat down in front of the television and began to read, while the TV broadcast that “North Korea pushes toward the intellectualization of the whole society, rushing towards [the realization of] a powerful nation.”

On one video, one can see North Korean people celebrating the New Year by eating bean pancakes and New Year’s soup, leading a little friend/child to shout excitedly, “I also want to eat.” But for the male audience, clearly North Korean stamps are more interesting, with commemorative stamps priced at 20 yuan.  More styles of stamps, however, stand as exhibits, and are not for sale.

Lee Songyun said: “In the past, China also suffered deep oppression, but, due to the party and government’s correct leadership, we see that China is truly creating a miracle.”  When it was time to go, he told reporters: “It is my hope that you all do much propaganda for North Korea, and lend support to Sino-North Korean  Friendship.”

5 thoughts on “China Youth Daily’s Report on the North Korean Pavilion in Shanghai

  1. It’s a good translation. I‘m going to link to it on my site. My criticism would be that 朝鲜 doesn’t translate as the misnomer “North Korea”, it should rightly be rendered as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPR Korea or DPRK.

    1. This is a very good point indeed. Something to think about in terms of finding the right balance between serving the Anglophone audience and being truthful to the original text. But Chaoxian itself isn’t “DPRK”… and until DPR Korea gets more standard (which perhaps it ought to be), maybe I will stick with North Korea. Anyway, more debate about this issue — as it deals with the rather important idea of how the DPRK is perceived in the West vs. as in China — would be helpful. Thanks again for the critique.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s