Inked to compete

Inked to compete
Former England captain David Beckham shows his tattoo to students at Peking University during a visit to Beijing in last year.

China's national football team once again failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup this summer.

But fanatic Chinese fans who have stayed up all night-eyes glued to star-studded stadia in Brazil-have seen one sight that's very familiar.

Many top players like to show off their masculinity with tattoos in Chinese characters.

Their inked beliefs on their necks, arms-or wherever-can be entertaining or even a little bizarre for Chinese spectators cheering in front of TVs on the other side of the Earth.

Some of these are broken Chinese sentences that are difficult to understand at first sight. Some have mistakes ranging from grammatical errors to incorrect strokes.

"Tattoos written in Chinese characters have been popular in the Western world for many years because many Westerners have a strong curiosity about this remote land," says Wang Qingyuan, who leads the China Association of Tattoo Artists.

"And their funny mistakes have occurred for an equally long time."

According to Wang, encouraging slogans and Chinese proverbs are among the most popular, but he explains that literal translations lead to the errors.

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