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Stiff Fish

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Former Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu...
Also known as “Stiff Fish”

僵鱼 (Jiāng Yú): Stiff Fish

Because the name of government leaders and officials often become sensitive words, netizens frequently invent creative (and pejorative) homonyms to sidestep scrutiny and censorship. Jiāng Yú (姜瑜) was the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry between 2006 and 2012. The characters in her name are homophonic with those meaning “stiff fish.”

During her tenure as Foreign Minsitry Spokesperson, Jiang Yu has dealt with questions regarding territorial disputes with Japan, tensions on the Korean peninsula, and perhaps most notably, Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize—regarding which, Jiang Yu famously said:

“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.”

Qin Gang, who held the post of Foreign Ministry spokesperson before Jiang, was given a similarly derogatory nickname by netizens: Bird Anus.

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