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.
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!
Such a mystical country… This country is poor but also generous, always willing to pour vast sums into Africa.
Such a mystical country… Pornographic publications are illegal, but sex shops are everywhere.
Netizens have also given China other sarcastic nicknames, including the Celestial Empire.