China Digital Space

Netizen

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wǎngmín 网民

Portmaneau of "Internet" (wǎngluò 网络) and "citizen" (gōngmín 公民); Internet user, especially one who actively voices their opinion online.

While the English term "netizen," coined in 1984, is "now seen as insufferable dorky in the West," its Mandarin equivalent is firmly lodged into the language. Chinese Internet users still refer to themselves as netizens, as does the media.

Netizens are often talked about in the context of online commentary and other active or productive uses of the Internet, such as when they react to perceived injustice:

Lingxupuzi (@凌虚铺子): The public shaming in Langzhong, Sichuan of eight migrant workers who protested for lost wages, surrounded by police in full riot gear, has stirred the collective wrath of netizens, including public intellectuals, fifty centers, and volunteer fifty centers. Where's the justice in parading them in a Cultural Revolution-style denunciation? Where's the humanity? Who does it really humiliate? From the threat of arresting reporters for asking questions of delegates at the Two Sessions to this, the ignorance and hubris of power are on full display! (March 18, 2016)
@凌虚铺子: 四川阆中荷枪实弹、全副武装的警察把讨薪的8名农民工押上了公判台,激起了包括公知五毛自干五在内的网民众怒。用文革式的游斗示众的手法羞辱讨薪的农民工,天理何在?良知何在?到底羞辱了谁?从两会代表威胁要抓请问的记者,到把讨薪农民工游斗示众,充分体现了权力的颟顸与傲慢![Chinese]

As Zhihu user @WangZhanye explains, "Our dynasty's netizens are always either indignant or impassioned" (我朝的网民总是处于愤怒和感动两种状态里).

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