HONG KONG — Anyone who spends any length of time in a Chinese city comes to the recognize the character 拆. Pronounced "chai," it means "demolish," "destroy" or "tear down."
It's the character sprayed on all buildings that are condemned to be razed.
Today, two giant 拆 characters appeared on the exterior of the Chinese embassy in DC.
Evidently the work of some prankster graffiti artist, photos of the graffiti spread widely on the Chinese internet today — which so happens to be the first day of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the US and China.
"Snowden's revelation of secret surveillance activities annoyed China, so China decided to tear its embassy?" wrote one.
Others joked that since the characters were not circled, as they usually, the demolition job would not be done professionally.
Nobody's spoken up to claim the graffiti yet.
Whatever its intended meaning, it will hardly help put Chinese officials in a good mood as they enter into crucial dialogue with the US over cybersecurity, trade, and Obama's "pivot" toward Asia.