Word of the Week: Movie Star
影帝 (yǐngdì): movie star
Nickname for former prime minister Wen Jiabao, a nod to his many “performances” in photo opportunities with ordinary people, especially at disaster zones. His charisma and expressions of concern for the downtrodden made Wen extremely popular. However, critics perceived his words and actions as disingenuous, designed to conceal the repressive nature of the Party.
In 2010, democracy activist Yu Jie published the book China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao (中国影帝温家宝), literally China’s Movie Star: Wen Jiabao. Yu was detained in Hong Kong before publication. He fled to the U.S. in January 2012 under threat of being “buried alive.”
After the April 2013 Sichuan earthquake, Wen’s successor, Li Keqiang, was photographed eating instant noodles in a tent and viewing the damage with local officials. Now he is China’s “movie star.”
See also I’m late.
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.