- By Isaac Stone FishIsaac Stone Fish is FP's Asia editor. A Mandarin speaker, he lived in China for seven years before moving to Washington, D.C. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC, the BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, and PRI, among others.
As pundits debate whether or not Xi Jinping will follow in the footsteps of current President Hu Jintao, we at FP would like to point out something he does share with his predecessor: a dangerously enticing name for Anglophone headline writers to abuse.
Xi, visiting the United States this week, will likely be appointed this fall as China’s next President. Journalists, let us be the first to sound the warning: avoid the temptation (that we have already succumbed to several times) of a Xi headline pun!
From the FP editorial staff, here’s a list of ten Xi headlines NOT to use:
1. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea: "Xi’s Gotta Have It."
2. A profile of his teenage years: "Xi was only 16."
3. His second visit to Iowa: "There Xi Goes Again."
4. His portrayal in Chinese state media: "Isn’t Xi Lovely?" (Or "Xi Will Be Loved.")
5. A Chinese Gorbachev: "Xi Change."
6. Bizarre policy choices: "Xi Moves in Mysterious Ways."
7. A definitive chronicle of his speeches: "That’s What Xi Said."
8. His meeting with Henry Kissinger: "The Old Man and the Xi."
9. On a conflict with the current head of the disciplinary committee: "He Said Xi Said."
10. His stylish sartorial choices: "Ain’t Nothing But a Xi Thing."
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please let us know any suggestions you have for other Xi headlines that should be banned- either write them in the comments section or send them to me via twitter: @isaacstonefish. Whoever comes up with the worst Xi headline pun will win a free copy of the book "Becoming China’s Bitch."
Update: After careful consideration, we at FP have decided that the worst headline pun imaginable is China announces new high speed train line: "Xi’s Got a Ticket to Ride." Thanks to twitter user @james_s_evans for his submission! Honorable mention to @christophercherry for his China Daily all-purpose headline: "Every Little Thing Xi Does is Magic." We look forward to future contests if Shanghai Party Secretary Yu, Standing Committee Member He, or Director of the United Front Work Department Du become trending topics.