Word of the Week: Five Times Better

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.

“China’s human rights are the best.”

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.

好五倍 (hǎo wǔ bèi): a good five times better than

This comes from a statement made by Sha Zukang when he was the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations:

I have openly remarked that the human rights situation in China today is better than that in the United States. The population of China is five times larger than the population of the United States. If you look at it just in terms of comparing the populations, one would expect China’s problems to be at least five times greater than those of the U.S. in order for our human rights situations to be the same. But the reality is that our human rights situation is better than that of the U.S.—this shows that China’s human rights situation is a good five times better than that of the U.S.… America has highly politicized the concept of human rights to serve the nation’s political aims. They have used human rights issues as a tool; this way of doing things goes against the will of the people.

沙祖康说,“我公开讲过,中国今天的人权状况就比美国的人权状况要好,中国人口比美国多五倍,如果按照人口比例来讲,我们问题至少应该比美国多五倍,那才说明我们人权状况和美国一样。但现实是,我们目前人权状况比美国的好,说明中国人权至少比美国好五倍。我在大会上讲这话引起会场上哄堂大笑,大家都鼓掌,也可以看出美国不得人心,他们把人权问题高度政治化,为本国政治服务,把人权问题作为工具,做法很不得人心。”

Netizens latched onto the phrase “a good five times better than” and used it to parody Sha’s fuzzy logic.