Word of the Week: Fifty Cents

Editor’s Note: The 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.

Grass-mud horse shown on the fifty-cent bill.

五毛 (wǔ máo): fifty cents

Netizens first coined the term “Fifty Cent Party” to refer to undercover Internet commentators who were paid by the government to sway public opinion (“fifty cents” is a reference to the alleged pay received per post). Now the term is used to describe anyone who actively and publicly posts opinions online that defend or support government policy. As such, the so-called Fifty Cent Party has become the object of much scorn. See this post by Han Han, this comical account of the birth of a fifty center, and this satirical “training manual” for Fifty Cent Party members.