Word of the Week: Stiff Fish

僵鱼 (Jiāng Yú): Stiff Fish

Jiang Yu in 2009. (Chinese Embassy in France)

Jiang Yu in 2009. (Chinese Embassy in France)

Derogatory nickname for Jiang Yu (姜瑜 Jiāng Yú), former spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and a deputy commissioner of MOFA’s Office of the Commissioner in Hong Kong since 2012.

Since the names of government officials often become sensitive words, netizens invent homonyms to sidestep censorship.

During her tenure as MOFA spokesperson, Jiang Yu dealt with questions regarding territorial disputes with Japan, tensions on the Korean peninsula, and Liu Xiaobo‘s Nobel Peace Prize:

We are against anyone making an issue out of Liu Xiaobo and interfering in China’s internal affairs and judicial authority… We will not change because of interference by a few clowns; we will not change our path. We will stick to the path of ruling the country by law and its national conditions. [Source]

我们坚决反对任何人借刘晓波问题做文章,干涉中国内政和司法主权……我们不会受一些反华小丑的干扰。我们会继续坚持依法治国,继续坚持走符合中国国情的发展道路。[Source]

Jiang famously warned reporters asking why the police had aggressively stopped them from covering attempts at Jasmine Revolution-inspired protests, “Don’t use the law as a shield.”

Sinostand posted a “best-of” collection of Jiang Yu quotations in April 2011.

See also Bird Anus.

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.