Slogan of the Week: Smog the People

Smogging the people. (Yuanzi 原子)

Smogging the people. (Yuanzi 原子)

喂人民服雾 (wèi rénmín fú wù): smog the people

Literally “feed smog to the people.” A play on Mao Zedong’s motto “serve the people,” it is a commentary on China’s ever-worsening air quality. While “smog the people” has been in use for several years, the phrase gained currency in October 2013, when smog stopped traffic and hindered tennis matches in Beijing and brought an “airpocalypse” to Harbin.

Around New Year’s 2014, many Weibo users called “smog the people” the biggest “watchword” of 2013 (2013最响亮的口号 喂人民服雾).

See also serve the renminbi.

grass-mud horseThe  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.