Ng Tze-wei: ‘Innocent’ Ditty Pokes Fun at Net Crackdown; Childish ‘Grass-Mud Horse’ Song Lampoons Official Censors

res01_attpic_briefFrom the South China Morning Post, via

In the harsh but beautiful desert of Ma Le Go Bi, a special herd of alpaca sheep known as caonima (grass-mud horse), lived happily. But their happiness is fading.

Their habitat has come under threat lately because of a sudden migration of river crabs. But the brave caonima are resilient and intelligent, and they are fighting back – through the mainland internet.

For readers hurriedly flipping through the pages of Index to the Animal World, this tale of survival is not a real ecological crisis, but rather a creation of smart mainland netizens who have turned the government’s sweeping internet crackdown into a national laughing stock. And it all started with an innocent-sounding little song.

The song of the caonima’s epic struggle with the river crabs has become such a popular hit on the mainland that toy shops have started to sell caonima dolls.

Almost everyone, except the authorities, knows this is a dig at the mainland’s internet censorship. The word for river crabs, hexie in Putonghua, sounds almost the same as “harmony” – the central theme of President Hu Jintao’s governing philosophy. It has lately become a euphemism for government censorship.

Caonima is pronounced like an unprintable slang phrase people use to show their anger and frustration. The innocent-seeming song turns out to be not what the internet censors think it is, and netizens, angered by the internet crackdown launched late last year, have adopted it.

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.