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Chinese netizens are using English to mock China’s political climate

As China's once-in-a-decade Communist Party congress wraps up this week, journalists and activists alike have noted how party leaders have gingerly avoided any discussion of  corruption there.

(WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Even after a recent New York Times article revealed that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's family controls assets worth $2.7 billion, officials did not take questions from reporters on the matter of wealth among leaders’ families, the Washington Post's William Wan reported. Wan continued:

Reporters inevitably tried to ask about recent corruption scandals and the lack of enforcement and strong anti-corruption regulations in China, which allows leaders and their relatives to profit off their political connections. In most cases, the questions were not answered.

Now, netizens in China have apparently begun mocking the lack of openness there by mashing up English words into a list of new "terms," which has been circulating on Facebook and on Sina Weibo, a massive Chinese micro-blogging site.

Screenshot: Facebook
Screenshot: Facebook

"The intentional mis-spellings of the English terms are used as satires to describe the political culture in China," writes Oiwan Lam, a media researcher in Hong Kong.

Lam has a full rundown of the terms and what they mean at Global Voices, but following are a few of the (cleaner) highlights.

Freedamn - Freedom with Chinese Characteristics.

Smilence - Smile without saying anything [A facial expression of self-censorship]

Togayther - Homosexual rights to get together [marry].

Democrazy - Crazy desire [for democracy].

Innernet - Chinese internet [which is for internal connection].

Wall-e - The Great Fire Wall [Internet censorship. When a person is walled, it means his/her access to a certain Web site has been denied by the Great Fire Wall.]

Propoorty - a property market that leads to poverty.

Earlier, we wrote about Chinese Internet users venting their frustrations about Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech during the opening session of the congress.

One quote in particular, "Neither will we follow the old path of closed door and ossified politics, nor will we take to the evil way of changing our flags and banners," set off a rash of complaints from Weibo users.

It's an impressive level of online outspokenness in a country where the government is known to both heavily censor certain sites or to shut them down entirely during big moments like the Party Congress.

Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to a full list of phrases and definitions at Global Post. The publication was Global Voices.



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Max Fisher · November 14, 2012

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