Word of the Week: Sparta

The CDT Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is 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. The Word of the Week features Lexicon entries old, new and timely. 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.

“This is the 18th Party Congress!!!”

斯巴达 (Sībādá): Sparta

The Chinese transliteration of “Sparta” sounds nearly the same as the abbreviation for the “18th Party Congress” (十八大 Shíbā dà). During this decennial leadership transition, all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee will retire, including Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

Netizens have turned to the term “Sparta” as the government steps up its censorship efforts in anticipation of the transition.

Beijing has implemented a number of rather Spartan policies in anticipation of the Congress, including restricting the sale of kitchen knives and having cabbies remove or disable the rear window cranks in their taxis.