Word of the Week: Vulgar

Sweeping “vulgar” content from the Internet.

低俗 (dīsú): vulgar

In January of 2009, China announced a crackdown on “vulgar” websites. The campaign identified many leading Internet companies, including Google and Baidu, for failing to comply with government censorship directives. While the language of the official campaign directive focused on erotic, violent, and drug-related content, netizens suspected that the crackdown was fundamentally aimed at eradicating politically sensitive content and launched an online protestHan Han, one of China’s most popular bloggers, wrote a post titled “From Now On, I’m a Vulgar Person” in defiance of the crackdown.

The government has since launched similar Internet censorship and anti-vulgarity campaigns.

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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  and political correctness.