Word of the Week: Wall Nation

The  comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens or 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.

qiángguó 墙国

Xi Jinping's hope for wall nationhood. (Source: @democracy8964)

Xi Jinping’s hope for wall nationhood. (Source: @democracy8964)

Reference to the Great Firewall; visual pun on “mighty nation” (qiángguó 强国).

There is much talk in China about rising up after years of foreign aggression to become a “mighty nation.” While might conjures power on the global stage, the pun “wall nation” alludes to the Great Firewall, the digital barrier between China and the rest of the world.

Maoyudaodeshijie (@矛与盾的世界): The unternet, the unconnected wall nation. (December 18, 2015)

互不联网,非主流墙国。[Chinese]

“Mighty nation” and “wall nation” are only distinguishable in writing, as the characters “mighty” (qiáng 强) and “wall” (qiáng 墙) are pronounced identically. This puts a potentially different spin on the Cyberspace Administration of China’s 2015 anthem to internet sovereignty, “Mighty Internet Nation.”

Can’t get enough of subversive Chinese netspeak? Check out “Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang,” our ebook of dozens of new terms and classic catchphrases, presented in a new, image-rich format. Available for pay-what-you-want (including nothing). All proceeds support CDT.