Talking about China: how translation gets in the way of understanding and cooperation
In my view, the PRC party-state's officially mandated wordings or formulations (提法) such as "Gang of Four" 四人幫, "Three Represents" 三個代表, and "Strike Hard" 嚴打 are largely responsible for whatever exotic flavor some foreigners might perceive from such "party-speak." Moreover, up through the 1980s the PRC government was more honest and less misleading in its official English translations of such formal titles as "State Chairman" 國家主席 for the official head of state. (State Chairperson would be less gendered, but the fact remains that in the history of the CCP and PRC no woman has yet made it into the all-important Standing Committee 常委 that is essentially a black box and makes all its important decisions behind closed doors.) It was only during the 1990s and subsequent decades that this title 國家主席 was misleadingly translated by PRC media as *"President"; "president" is actually 總統 in Chinese and refers to an official who is directly elected in a genuinely free and fair election, such as Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shuibian, Ma Yingjeou, and Tsai Yingwen in Taiwan. So I am actually opposed to referring to State Chairman Xi Jinping (or General Secretary Xi Jinping 習近平總書記, his other genuine title,) as *"President Xi Jinping," as if he were a popularly elected head of state rather than the autocratic strongman in a single-party Leninist authoritarian regime that he actually is. However awful most of Mao Zedong's policies were, especially during the Great Leap Famine and and the Cultural Revolution, at least Mao Zedong was honest enough to refer to himself as "Chairman Mao" instead of "President Mao." PRC heads of state after Deng Xiaoping have been far less honest in this regard.