From China Digital Space
亚克蜥 (yǎkèxī): yax lizard
From yaxshi (ياخشى), “good” in Uyghur, transliterated in Mandarin 亚克西 yǎkèxī. The Uyghurs are a majority-Muslim Turkic people and the titular nationality of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China’s far west. The yax lizard was dubbed “the first mythical creature of 2010,” joining the grass-mud horse and the river crab in the pantheon of mythical creatures.
The yax lizard rose to fame in the CCTV 2010 Spring Festival Gala segment “The Party’s Policies are Yaxshi,” in which dancers in traditional Uyghur dress praising the Communist Party, a great irony in light of the inter-ethnic riots in Xinjiang the summer before. Tension between the Uyghurs and Han Chinese migrants in Xinjiang has continued to spur bitter clashes since the riots.