Seems like I'm not the only one confused about this, the country is coming up with slogans nobody understands.

Recently there have been a lot of signs put up with things like 中国前进 written on them, but the confusing part:


Say what?

Is this the same as 好球? Just 棋 and not 球? Good move?

  • You mention "the country" without being specific. It could be China, Taiwan, Singapore... – Tommie C. Jul 25 '14 at 11:42

Yes,好棋 means "a good move"; either in chess-style games or, by analogy, anything related to a contest of strategy (e.g. 普京毁了一步好棋, "Putin screwed up a (previous) good move".)

The phrase in question, 中国好棋, is a bit different. That originated from this poster, where it is the title of a poem:


The character has two meanings:

  1. adjective "good"
  2. verb "to like"

The latter meaning is the one intended in the phrase ``. So the phrase is saying "China likes chess" (or Go or generic board games). This can be inferred from the context provided by the poem, the visual emphasis on the character, and also because a subject (中国) precedes it and an object follows it.

The other possible meaning for the phrase is something along the lines of a "Chinese good move". That doesn't fit the poster's context (though you can interpret it as a pun), but the phrase can be used with that meaning too. For instance, Chinese chess prodigy 侯逸凡 (Hou Yifan) has talked about the awakening Chinese dragon making a 中国好棋 on the chessboard of the world.

For reference, the poster:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Yes! “中国好棋” means we obey the rules to keep the world peaceful, make the whole human beings happy, honest, all in all, make everything in harmony and good. – xqMogvKW Jul 22 '14 at 8:49
  • Can I have sickbag, please? – Mou某 Jul 22 '14 at 11:51


  • 中国: China
  • 前进: move/march forward
  • Possible usage: to cheer up the team of athlete representing China in an international sport competition


  • 中国: China
  • 好棋: "good chess"
  • Possible usage: usually used in games of chess for expressing one's feeling that certain move is a "good move"

棋, 球

  • 球: ball
  • 棋: chess


  • Possible usage
    • The quality of the ball is good
    • Used in ball games like football to express one's feeling that an action performed by a football player is of high quality (e.g. scoring)

In that case, it means GOOD MOVE. 好棋(hao3qi2). If you see something like 他好棋, it should be read as (hao4qi2), which means HE IS INTO CHESS.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.