In January of 2009, China announced a crackdown on “vulgar” websites. The campaign identified many leading Internet companies, including Google and Baidu, for failing to comply with government censorship directives. While the language of the official campaign directive focused on erotic, violent, and drug-related content, netizens suspected that the crackdown was fundamentally aimed at eradicating politically sensitive content and launched an online protest. Han Han, one of China’s most popular bloggers, wrote a post titled “From Now On, I’m a Vulgar Person” in defiance of the crackdown.
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.