Word of the Week: Soy Sauce Committee Members

Editor’s Note: The Word of the Week comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

If you are interested in participating in this project by submitting and/or translating terms, please contact the CDT editors at CDT [at] chinadigitaltimes [dot] net.

酱油委员 (jiàngyóu wěiyuán): soy sauce committee members

Derived from the phrase “get soy sauce”: One who is “getting soy sauce” is just a spectator, listening without making substantive comments or contributions.

Many Chinese citizens have complained that the structure and bloated size of the National People’s Congress (around 3,000 members) render most of its members powerless. Many proposals are supported by over 99% of the votes cast.

During the 2011 Two Sessions, people dubbed committee members who did nothing beside apply their rubber stamp “soy sauce representatives.” This video references “soy sauce representatives” who either do nothing or who “just sit around on the toilet waiting for inspiration to come to them.”

Man on dais: Representative Liu Xiang, what proposals do you have for this year's Two Sessions? Liu Xiang: I dunno, I'm just passing by to get soy sauce.