An October 10 People’s Daily editorial titled “‘Uncouth’ Titles Prevail in the Party, ‘Comrade’ Left in the Cold” riled up some netizens. The article claims that fewer and fewer people within the Party address each other as “comrades,” while “appellations of spurious, fringe origins which force feudal backwardness have infiltrated the Party from several departments and work units, including ‘boss,’ ‘chief,’ and ‘big brother.’” The article stresses that the practice of addressing colleagues as “‘comrade’ has always been a Party tradition. Because the Communist Party is a synthesis of faith and doctrine characterized by concordance, the title of ‘comrade’ accurately reflects the Party as a solemn and dignified political organization.”
Netizens noted that “uncouth” (江湖气) becomes the more common phrase “vagrant habits” (江湖习气) with the addition of the character 习 xí–Xi Jinping’s surname. “Comrade+Xi” (习＋同志) was blocked from Weibo search results around the time of reaction to this editorial.
@晓痞兔: The Party cannot tolerate vagrant habits! Kill me now!
@拖尼熊: Don’t forget “fifth brothers,” “mistresses,” “melon father,” and “devils.”
@方便处II: Jiang, Hu, Xi–will the next be surnamed Qi?
江 湖 习 ，下一任姓戚？
The first three characters in “vagrant habits” (jiānghúxíqì 江湖习气) are the same as or similar to the surnames of China’s last three presidents: Jiang Zemin (江泽民), Hu Jintao (胡锦涛), and Xi Jinping (习近平).
@江海方舟: That’s right: “boss,” “big brother,” and “chief” are clearly hierarchical terms that delineate a master-slave relationship. Comrades, can you call a migrant worker your comrade?
@Sofan-Wang: “Big brother” is very appropriate!!! They are bandits after all!
@我的小伙伴们不好吃: Let’s stop humiliating the people and just call it [the People’s Daily] the Communist Daily.
@齐东祥: #coldjoke The communist party is a synthesis of faith and doctrine.
There is a likely explanation for the decline of “comrade”: since the 1990s, the title has come to imply homosexuality.
Read more comments at CDT Chinese.
Translation by Cindy.