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.
Meme satirizing the encounter between British actor Christian Bale and a guard when Bale tried to visit Chen Guangcheng in 2011.
On December 15, 2011, Bale, who was in China filming “The Flowers of War,” drove with a CNN camera crew to Dongshigu, Shandong, where Chen Guangcheng was under extralegal house arrest. A scuffle broke out as security guards in the village pushed Bale and forced his team out of town, tailing Bale’s car to make sure they left. The camera crew captured footage of the encounter.
Netizens went to work on one of the security guards shown in the film, who wore a green military-style coat and fur-rimmed hat. Riffing on Bale’s role as Batman in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight,” a meme soon emerged of Batman battling the “Military Coat.” Military Coat was also Photoshopped into Chinese press conferences and visits with foreign dignitaries. A handful of posts about the Batman vs. Military Coat linger on Weibo as of March 19, 2015.
Want 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.