The embalmed body of Mao Zedong has been on display at his mausoleum in the center of Tiananmen Square since 1977, where people converge every morning to pay their respects to the communist revolutionary and founding father of the People’s Republic of China.
腊肉 (làròu), Chinese for “cured meat” or “bacon,” has been used by netizens to refer to the mummified remains of the chairman. Describing the venerated former chairman’s remains as a salt-cured meat product has been deemed disrespectful by China’s censorship apparatus, making 毛腊肉 (Máo làròu) asensitive word on the Chinese Internet that is currently a blocked search term on Sina Weibo.
On his Blocked on Weibo Tumblr blog, Weibo watcher Jason Ng has translated and commented on a popular joke recipe for preparing “Mao bacon”:
A fierce boar from the Huguang province [the pre-Qing name for Hunan and Hubei, where Mao lived—ed]: First, empty the internal organs and wash with 7 kg of salt, 0.2 kg fine nitrate preservative, 0.4 kg pepper. For the deboned meat, use 2.5 kg salt 2.5, 0.2 kg fine nitrate, 5 kg of sugar, 3.7 kg of baijiu and soy sauce mixed, 3-4 kg of water. Optional ingredients that can be added prior include salt and crushed pepper, fennel, cinnamon and other spices; dry and flatten, seal up well and bathe in Chinese medicine for three days, until the surface fluffs up, that way the seasoning penetrates through the meat. Then disinfect it with alcohol and dry in the sun. [followed by various descriptions of how to eat/what it tastes like; a recent re-post of this recipe adds this line: “Because of the special preservation, you can store it for up to a year; I’ve heard that families can even preserve Mao bacon in a jar for 40 years,” the being a reference to Mao’s glass enclosure.] [Source]
In a November 2013 profile of female Mao impersonator Chan Yan, Southern Metropolis Weekly tipped its hat to netizens:
This housewife, skilled at smoking meat and making sausage, stands on the balcony of her home, facing a heap of air-dried bacon. She strikes a pose etched into the collective memory of the Chinese people. Slowly, solemnly, she raises her right hand and gently sways, as if before her were not bacon, but the fanatical masses.
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.