Word of the Week: The King Who Pacified the West

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.

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平西王 (píngxīwáng): The King Who Pacified the West

Pingxiwang.jpgThis is a nickname for Bo Xilai, the former Politburo member and Party Secretary of Chongqing who was removed from his posts in March and April 2012 after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, attempted to defect to the United States and his wife, Gu Kailai, became the subject of a murder investigation.

The “West” in Bo’s nickname refers to the western city of Chongqing, where Bo was Party Secretary. Under Bo’s ambitious initiatives, Chongqing was given the nickname of Tomato (Xīhóngshì 西红柿), which sounds like “red city of the West.” Many of Bo’s initiatives, like the promotion of “red” Maoist songs, attempted to hearken back to an earlier era and appease leftists who felt that China’s reforms had betrayed its communist ideology.

The historical “King Who Pacified the West,” Wu Sangui, betrayed the Ming Dynasty to usher in the Qing – only to betray the Qing later in his life.