Not the Number of the Beast


As far as I know, Xinbei does not have a doorway to hell. I might even go so far that Changzhou as whole doesn’t possess any sulfur-frothing access points to the underworld. Demons will not possess you and force you to projectile vomit split pea soup on people, as one might see in a classic film The Exorcist. Of course I am being a tad bit sarcastic here. But then again, am I? Over at the Xinbei Wanda, there is a convenience store called 666. If you go in there, you will not hear Iron Maiden or Slayer or Cattle Decapitation blaring from loud speakers. Nobody will be headbanging. Nobody will be jamming out on their air guitar. You will just a find a very bored shopkeeper staring at their mobile phone.

So, some Westerners might wonder. Why 666? Why is it okay to put this number all over China? Why do Chinese people use it on QQ? The answer is obvious: China is not a majority Christian country, and automatically assuming the number is evil for everybody around the world is just what the late, great language scholar Edward W. Said would label as a facet of “cultural imperialism.”

In China, a string of sixes is actually considered lucky.This is partly due the number six, by itself, is considered lucky. If you have Chinese friends on Wechat, they may even reply to a “Moments” post by simply typing 666 or 6666 or 666666666666. They are not trying to damn you to hell. They actually liked what you had to say, and that’s the way of showing their approval.

And when it comes to these things, it’s just best not to tell Chinese people that things like this are offensive in your home country. Skip that discussion entirely. You are not in your home country. Your are actually in somebody else’s home country, and asking them to change is a bit rude when you are a guest. And, China is so big, you will be having this conversation nonstop. It’s about as absurd as a Chinese person going to America and laughing at all the men they see wearing green baseball hats — and then asking their new American friends to stop wearing such things. (Wearing a green hat in China means your wife is cheating on you.) So, why bother? And really, there are more important things to worry about.