Word of the Week: Dinner Party

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.

Gòngcāndǎng 共餐党

The Dinner Party at work. (Source: Qiwen Lu)

The Dinner Party at work. (Source: Qiwen Lu)

Nickname for the Communist Party (Gòngchǎndǎng 共产党) alluding to the banqueting officials often put on the taxpayer’s tab; literally “shared meal party.”

Chinese Communist Party officials have become notorious for their propensity to excess. In 2013, the Xinhua-affiliated magazine Ban Yue Tan reported on the problem, interviewing a mayor of a city in central China who said he wined and dined four to five times a day, or more than 1,500 times in a year. Calling the the Dinner Party alludes to gluttonous corruption while simultaneously throwing censors off the trail of sensitive discussion online.

Yonghu531zbw37q1 (@用户531zbw37q1): Is it so easy to eat the Dinner Party‘s meals? Unless you have a political background, the bloodsuckers will always be watching you, so that when you slip up they can turn you into a corpse! (September 14, 2015)

共餐党的饭那么容易吃吗?除非你有政治背景,不然会有吸血鬼始终盯着你,弄不好会让你变成干尸!!![Chinese]

The gluttonous perception of officials has become a sensitive political topic. A 2012 Central Propaganda Department directive ordered media not to hype gourmet meals at that year’s legislative and advisory meetings in Beijing. Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has targeted bribery and luxurious spending by government officials, with Xi declaring “four dishes, one soup” sufficient for official banquets, and with shark fin and bird’s nest taken off the menu. Two Sessions The years-long effort appears to be as much about Xi consolidating his power than about fighting corruption, however. Calls for officials to publicly disclose their assets have been squelched by the government.

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