Passive Voice Employed by Ordinary Chinese to Call for Freedom

From Xinhua’s English website:

Ordinary Chinese have given new meaning to the character “Bei,” which normally indicates the passive voice, with the character being chosen as “character of the year” in 2009.

An online poll, jointly conducted by a linguistic research center under the Ministry of Education and the state-run Commercial Press, selected “Bei” as the character of the year.

Nowadays the character is being employed by Chinese to express a sentiment deeper than just the passive voice: they are using it to convey a sense of helplessness in deciding one’s own fate.

The new usage may not conform with grammar rules, but it become an Internet buzzwords in 2009 as it reflected dissatisfaction over the abuse of official power.

“Bei Zi Sha,” or “being suicided,” is one example.


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