Word of the Week: Reincarnation

Word of the Week: Reincarnation

The Word of the Week comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and 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.

转世 (zhuǎnshì): reincarnation


Cartoonist Kuang Biao has “reincarnated” on Weibo dozens of times. (Source: Weibo)

The creation of a new social media account after one’s prior account has been deleted by the Internet company running the social media platform.

Netizens who post about sensitive issues may have his/her social media account deleted by the company running the platform, wiping out that user’s posts and network. A user may then “reincarnate” on the same platform to continue speaking out. The new username may be a combination of the old name and the word “reincarnation” to make his/her new account easier for previous followers to find. Political cartoonist Kuang Biao has reincarnated dozens of times on Weibo, and for several years has included his reincarnation count in each successive username. His latest incarnation as of February 11, 2015 is “Uncle Biao Fountain Pen Drawings 47” (@飚叔钢笔画47).

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


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