On August 24th an airplane of a national Chinese carrier came down well short of the runway while attempting a night landing in Yichun airport, northeast China. 42 people were killed, 54 injured. China makes an inquiry about this unfortunate event, and some heads will be cut. But this is not the topic of this post.

Keith Bradsher reports at the New York Times that “China’s top leaders have given aviation regulators a clear mandate to make safety their top priority and told the chief executives of the nation’s airlines that they would be held personally responsible for any crashes, Mr. Harbison [chairman of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation in Sydney, E.S.] said.”

So, any crash whatsoever is the personal responsibility of the chief executives of the nation’s airlines. The word that made me raise my eyebrow is “ANY” that appears at the beginning of the sentence. Suppose that a mechanic did something which is against regulations, or a pilot played PacMan during flight, even though he knows it is against regulations, or a pilot had a heart attack during flight. Any crash is the personal responsibility of the carrier’s CEO, period.

Suppose that you are a CEO of a national carrier. What will be the effect of this governmental announcement on your performance? And how will this announcement change the quality of people who choose to be CEO’s? Did policymakers in China thought of these issues? Or maybe there is difference in language, and the meaning of “any” in Chinese is different than in English or Hebrew?