Word of the Week: Mystical Country

The  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 and political correctness.

In the “mystical country,” government officials can absorb all the information at meetings while asleep.

In the “mystical country,” government officials can absorb all the information at meetings while asleep.

神奇的国度 (shénqí de guódù): mystical country

A netizen reference to China. 神奇 shénqí can mean “mystical,” “marvelous,”“mysterious,” “magical,” or “miraculous.” It describes something that seems to defy the laws of nature.

Remarking on egregiously illogical or ironic situations, netizens often explain that China must be a mystical country. Some examples from a BBS forum [zh]:

We truly live in a mystical country; we can own our houses but the land upon which they sit forever belongs to the state!

这是一个神奇的国度! 该国房子可以是自己的,但土地永远是国家的!)

Such a mystical country… This country is poor but also generous, always willing to pour vast sums into Africa.

有这样一个神奇的国度。。。该国很穷,却很慷慨,经常有大手笔支援非洲。

Such a mystical country… Pornographic publications are illegal, but sex shops are everywhere.

有这样一个神奇的国度。。。黄色刊物属于非法,但性用品商店到处都是。

Netizens have also given China other sarcastic nicknames, including the Celestial Empire.

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