Name of the Week: Guo Meimei
The Word of the Week comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.
Guo Meimei, or @郭美美baby on Weibo, is a wealthy Chinese woman who almost single-handedly destroyed the credibility of the Red Cross Society of China. Guo flaunts her extravagant lifestyle online, posting photos of herself reclining on her Maserati or clutching her lime green Hermes bag. In June 2011, then 20-year-old Guo claimed that she was the “General Manager of Red Cross Commerce.” Guo’s self-identified connection to the Red Cross outraged netizens, who already suspected that Red Cross donations were being misused.
Guo’s affiliation with the Red Cross was eventually discredited, but her legacy continues to plague the charity. After a 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook Sichuan Province in April 2013, Guo resurfaced in online discussions, while a sex tape allegedly featuring the young woman trended on Sina Weibo. Suffering from a lack of donations, it was reported at the end of the month that the Red Cross would reopen the investigation into Guo—a promise the organization quickly denied.