Word of the Week: National Treasure

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.

国宝 (guóbǎo): national treasure

In online political discourse, “national treasure” is a code word for the homonym 国保, is an abbreviation for the Domestic Security Department (国内安全保卫支队, DSD). The DSD is a branch of the police force within the Ministry of Public Security specializing in intelligence, infiltration, and dealing with political dissidents, human rights activists, petitioners, religious groups, as well as “subversive” activities in the cultural, educational, and economic domains. It is a massive, secretive, and omnipotent security apparatus within the giant police machine of the P.R.C.

Sometimes “panda” (熊猫 xióngmāo) is used as a code word for the DSD, since the panda is China’s national treasure.