Phrase of the Week: Exploratory Error

Phrase of the Week: Exploratory Error

探索性错误 (tànsuǒxìng cuòwù): exploratory error

Excuse for the famine which killed at least 18 million people during the Great Leap Forward (1959-1961). On September 22, 2014, Chinese Social Sciences Net (sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, CASS) ran an article on the “question of abnormal death in the population” during the “Three Years of Difficulties,” asserting that an “exploratory error” was to blame:

Secondly, this was an error the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made in exploring the construction of the socialist path. That is to say, since it was an exploration, it could have either succeeded or failed. Therefore, it was an exploratory error. There are certain Western hostile forces that insist tens of millions of people starved to death, and they continuously exaggerate, calling it a “premeditated crime” committed by the CCP and trying to challenge and deny the legitimacy of the CCP’s governance. This should put people on high alert.

第二,这一错误是中国共产党在探索建设社会主义道路过程中所犯的错误。也就是说,既然是探索,就有可能成功,也可能失败。因而,这是一种探索性质的错误。某些西方敌对势力反复炒作中国饿死几千万人,而且一再夸大,把它描述成是中共的“蓄意性罪恶”,企图动摇和否定中国共产党执政的合法性,应当引起人们的高度警觉。 [Source]

Weibo users carried the logic of the “exploratory error” further:

草民杜楠: (Shinzo) Abe states that “It was an exploratory error when the Japanese military entered China back then. Be on the alert for certain people who holler about the Nanjing Massacre.” (September 22, 2014)

安培声明:当年日军进入中国是探索性质的错误,至于某些人对南京大屠杀极力鼓噪,值得警惕。 [Source]

胖子天佑: My goddaughter told me, “The abnormal death in the worldwide population during WWII was an exploratory error Hitler and Hideki Tojo made as they worked hard for world peace.” (September 22, 2014)

干女儿对我说:二战时期时期全球人口非正常死亡,是希特勒先生和东条英机阁下为世界和平的努力过程中所犯下的探索性质的错误。 [Source]


Want to learn more subversive netizen slang? Check out our new eBook, Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang! Available for $2.99 in the KindleGoogle Play, and iTunes stores. All proceeds from the sale of this eBook support China Digital Times.

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.


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