Chinese Traffic Police sponsored by McDonald’s

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ January 21st, 2012. Filed under: China, Photography.
Chinese Traffic Policeman under a McDonald's Umbrella

Chinese Traffic Policeman under a McDonald's Umbrella in Xi'an China

Chinese Traffic Police sponsored by McDonald’s?

It’s Chinese new year on Monday 23rd January 2012. And while I thought putting up a festival like photograph would be nice, I feel considering this past week this would be better.

It’s been a week of upheaval around the world as we witnessed the largest global internet protest in history against censorship of the internet.

Facts from behind the lens of this photograph:

  • Xi’an is one of the oldest cities in China with a history of 3,100 years.
  • Just outside Xi’an city lies the famous Terracotta army
  • The wall in the background is part of a city wall structure first built during the Tang Dynasty (617/618 -907)
  • The Xi’an city wall is made up of many fortifications and has been rebuilt three times including a major reconstruction and expansion during the 14th century Ming dynasty. In the 1980’s extensive restoration work was carried out on the wall.

The Story behind the photograph

Xi’an was the first mainland Chinese city I visited after leaving Tibet during the riots in 2008.

It was staggering to see the Chinese media in mainland China stating that there was only a minor disturbance in Lhasa, yet only a few days beforehand I had personally witnessed violent riots.

As such during a walk around Xi’an someone pointed out this humorous scene of a traffic policeman standing at an intersection under the shelter of a McDonald’s umbrella which read “I’m Lovin’it”.

A glimmer of humor during a turbulent time

Linking worldwide events together

On January 18th 2012 the world witnessed the largest protest in internet history.

Two U.S. bills were going before the senate, and if passed would give the U.S. government control to censor the internet via these very badly written laws.

The SOPA/PIPA bills have been pushed heavily, with further allegations of political funding by large multinational corporations within the film and music industry to speed up the process.

The information is online to read about both bills and the ensuing fight between technology firms and the film/music industries with Government standing in the middle and gaining financially.

If you’d like further information about this and what I did during this protest, along with many other sites such as Wikipedia and Google I’ve written a page about it here The SOPA/PIPA protests of January 2012.

Much like the great Chinese firewall that censors many free speech, personal and news media websites in China, passing such a law in the U.S. would have had a similar effect across the globe today.

If passed, photographs like this one could result in this website being shut down.

Why? Because there’s a corporate logo being shown. If the SOPA/PIPA laws were passed and a corporation objected to a website showing their logo they could effectively, and without due process, have a website shut down.

As people celebrate the forthcoming new year in China and in communities across the world, I look back on the tragedy’s of the past with a hope for the future. Lessons should be learned.

On Monday the 23rd it’s Chinese New Year. The year of the dragon. It was also when U.S. Senators were to return to discuss PIPA. But due to the mass online protests the bills have been suspended. While now there is a majority against SOPA, there is still a majority for PIPA. So, it’s not over yet.

How can people help? Reading up about both bills, and call a senator to voice an opinion. There’s a lot more information on the website

As you can see this photograph links many things together for me. From censorship, to government & corporate power to the unrestricted control over our freedom.

Vote to keep this photograph in the gallery?

Chinese Policeman under a McDonald's umbrella directing traffic in China

Chinese Policeman under a McDonald's umbrella directing traffic in China

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This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, documenting the story behind the picture 

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16 Great responses to Chinese Traffic Police sponsored by McDonald’s

  1. Adrianna Ye says:

    I have to use a proxy server to visit many sites from China. I’ve been watching you, well done for all your efforts, looks like it paid off =)

  2. jp yu says:

    Happy chinese new year straight from china dave… very sensible post about the great firewall here in the mainland..
    its difficult having limited access to other website, we have to pay extra amount every month for a VPN account..

    Well that is china and the screened information that circulate around this massive country

    be safe



  3. James says:

    I saw something similar recently. A local fire department with a “donated by” sign from a big company. Slowly the big companies are becoming our second governments.

  4. Ben says:


    As a reader of yours for quite some time I couldn’t help but look at this in another way.

    Do you think that by opposing something like these laws and mentioning things like corporate sponsorship you are in away also shooting yourself in the foot for possible sponsorship yourself?

    What if McDonald’s were to offer you free meals in every town you went to in exchanges for some good PR? Or to make it relevant to you case on the film industry, a movie studio that might want to make a film about your amazing journey?

    Are you not jeopardizing such potential sponsors by standing up for these laws?


    • Hello Ben,

      Glad to welcome a long-time reader.

      Firstly regarding McDonald’s I’m just using the umbrella in the photograph as an example and not linking them with anything to do with SOPA/PIPA.

      I also think McDonald’s are probably not interested in a travel oriented website in terms of everyday sponsorship. Certainly there are some ways we could explore the possibility, some maybe even a lot of fun and profitable.

      More to the point I would only accept sponsorship of any kind from a company or product I believed in. So it’s not as simple for me to just accept something just because it’s offered.

      In regards to publishing something like this damaging the possibility of a film of my journey? Again no. There are plenty of films out there that expose the film/music industry. And certainly I don’t believe every film/music company is supporting SOPA/PIPA.

      Moreover I see a film about this journey to be a blazing success and shatter all box office records which would certainly make and film studio very happy!

      Hope that answers your questions!

  5. I like blazing successes … especially when the burgers are flame-grilled; maybe the Chinese Police should approach Burger King for their next deal?

    But seriously, great pic and a pushing, timely post.

    I’ve seem this imagery across China – including Xian – on my travels as the USA continues to slides downhill with their global financiers (keeping the US economic-burden ticking to their advantage).

    As for the first poster: the world is governed by corporations … money and ego rule the world – especially in the 21st century. Democracy is a farce; Playschool.

    Regards – to those that continue outside the system (but, for how long) – MRP

    • Personally I’d prefer Burger King! Much like in Budapest when the tourist maps were all sponsored by BK! Not so good to find a touristy place, but easy to know where to eat authentic Hungarian Big K’s.

      Apologies about the mix up in first couple of comments. I approved them one at time in reverse order as the first was locked in spam.

      So, yea, even comments get lost in the system! At least they’re free speech made it out. Not sure about the rest of us though.

  6. Whoops … first poster may have been spam; not longer here. And yes, when in China, I use a VPN @ $US 10 = 50G / month; easy.

    Internet censorship draws us closer to 1984 & Brave New World prophecies.

  7. palawan martin says:

    Maybe it was a drive-thru Mcdonalds, ah i love Scottish food.

    What about that other US government bill Dave last November, which allows the US military to arrest anyone and detain them indefinitely on US soil.

    • You mean one of the many Home Land Security laws. So many now I don’t keep up. I’m guessing that’s part of why they write them like that.

      I’ve tried keeping up with last years UK anti-photo laws. And how journalists stood up to the home office and police. They won, barely, and also due to a change in government.

  8. hayadeen says:

    he seems taller than everyone else..

  9. hayadeen says:

    on the second thought..okayyy he was standing on platform or something..haha