Hong Huang (洪晃): Censorship and Political Dystopian Fiction as Marketing Concepts

Online lingo about government censorship and political dystopian fiction have become marketing concepts for a mainstream fashion magazine in China. (洪晃), the chief-editor of 《World Metropolitan iLook》magazine, just announced the cover of the February issue of the magazine on her Sina blog, and the three huge crabs pictured on the cover are unmistakably symbolizing “”, the code name for censorship which was invented by Chinese netizens but is now trendy lingo for urban young people in China.

The magazine not only highlights “River Crabs” on its cover, but Hong Huang also told her blog readers that the theme of this issue is “The Gilded Age.” Just as the “River Crabs” is a play on the official slogan “harmonious society,” “gilded age” is a phrase used in official propaganda jargon to describe China’s current rising wealth. A Chinese political novel 《The Gilded Age 2013》, about Chinese intellectuals and society, often reminds readers of George Orwell’s 《1984》. Written by Hong Kong author Chen Guangzhong, the book is currently a hot topic among Chinese intellectuals and students, but is published in Hong Kong only. Hong Huang wrote on her blog: “For each new annual subscriber of 《World Metropolitan iLook》, I will give him/her the book ,《The Gilded Age 2013》, written by Chen Guanzhong.”

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