In the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Chinese authorities are trying to crack down on "Chinglish" a mangled version of English that is often seen on notices and used by taxi drivers.
One example being this billboard sign:
"Shangri-La is in you mind, but your Buffalo is not."
The Chinese are conscious of the fact that around 500,000 foreign visitors will come to Beijing next year, and the Chinese want to give a good impression.
Liu Yang, head of the "Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program" for the city government, said that 6,500 "standardised" English language signs were put up last year on Beijing roads.
However, it is evident that the private sector is not following the rules.
Liu told journalists:
"We will pass the message on to authorities in the advertising sector. If English translation is needed it must be subject to the standards set forth in the regulations.
In the future when we set up new signs in public places in English, we hope all these standards will be followed to avoid more additional mistakes."
Liu said Beijing taxi drivers have to pass an English test to keep their licenses. However, as I can attest having been in Beijing a few weeks ago not all of the drivers have such a great command of English.
Liu is quoted as saying:
"The taxi training courses are not working effectively, and there is a problem of taxi drivers missing classes. Taxi drivers need to get their licenses renewed every year, and an English test is now part of that exam. But the exam is not so difficult.
Some taxi drivers do speak some English, and that's a big change from the past.
But the overall level still needs to improve. Some taxi drivers speak no English; they understand no English."
However, there is nothing to stop the foreign guest trying to learn Chinese.