Grass-Mud Horse Quiz: How Good Is Your Netizen Slang?

CDT has just released our latest eBook, an updated and improved edition of “Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang.” To mark the occasion, we would like to test our readers’ knowledge of Chinese Internet slang and terms found in our Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon. Do you know who “Cutlassfish Zhou” is or what it means to “use the Internet scientifically”? Read on.

After you take your best guesses, check your answers here. More than one answer may be correct for some questions. Good luck!

1. The phrase “check the water meter” is a euphemism for:
A) illicit sex
B) a house call from the police
C) posting sensitive keywords on Weibo
D) hiding personal fortunes in offshore bank accounts

2. Blogger Zhou Xiaoping earned the nickname “Cutlassfish Zhou” because:
A) Before becoming a blogger, he had earned his living farming cutlassfish.
B) He is known to give off a strong, fishy odor.
C) He claimed cutlassfish farmers were going bankrupt, when in fact cutlassfish cannot be farmed.
D) In his hometown dialect, “cutlassfish” is a slang term for “badass.”

3. Netizens have been known to slightly alter Mao Zedong’s famous political slogan “serve the people” (为人民服务) to create the following critique of contemporary political culture:
A) “Serve [to appear] philanthropic” (为仁民服务): Mockery of Wu Shaofei, Party chief of Baoding, Hebei, who in 2014 funneled millions of RMB into a private account after setting up a charity for the families of coal miners in the municipality. This case served to further damage the already battered trust of charity donations in China.
B) “Smog the people” (喂人民服雾): literally, “feed smog to the people,” a comment on China’s ever-worsening air quality.
C) “Serve the renminbi”: (为人民币服务): A parody used by netizens who feel that officials are more concerned with accumulating personal wealth—in the form of RMB, China’s currency—than they are with actually serving the people.

4. Privilege has been noted among younger generations of Chinese citizens by the following pejorative cohort titles: “rich second generation” (富二代) for the children of those who accumulated massive wealth following Deng Xiaoping’s era of economic reform; “governing second generation” (官二代) for the children of Chinese officials; and:
A) “connected second generation” (关系二代) for the children of those with a large cache of favorably connections to both the rich and the powerful.
B) “red second generation” (红二代) for the children of the founders of the CCP.
C) “sovereign second generation” (君二代) for those current leaders who themselves were the children of former leaders; also known as “princelings.”
D) “great second generation”(宏二代), catchall phrase for those holding high business or political positions based on the achievements of their parents, and not their own efforts.

5. The phrase “use the Internet scientifically” describes:
A) Any means to navigate around the “Great Firewall.”
B) Use of the free, government-sanctioned VPN given to science and technology professionals so that China’s infamous Internet regulations won’t hinder their research.
C) A measured cultivation of Internet browsing and posting habits to avoid attention from censors and state surveillance officials.
D) The personal web-browsing habits of Former President Hu Jintao, who was known to frequently visit foreign science and technology websites blocked by the “Great Firewall.”

6. CCTV news host Rui Chenggang was mocked by netizens and nicknamed “Representative Rui” after he stated which of the following at the G20 Summit press conference in 2010?
A) “I want to stress that China’s Internet is open.”
B) “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
C) “I’m actually Chinese, but I think I get to represent the entire Asia. We’re one family here in this part of the world.”
D) “To host the Dalai Lama at the same time China was celebrating the 60th anniversary of Tibet’s liberation hurt the feelings of all Chinese people, including the feelings of Tibetans.”

7. How much better is China’s human rights situation than America’s, according to former ambassador to the U.N. Sha Zukang?
A) Twice as good.
B) Five times better.
C) Ten times better.
D) Eight thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four times better.

8. China’s approach in dealing with the U.S. is said to be like playing …
A) … chess.
B) … go.
C) … ping pong.
D) … Twister.
E) … Pacman.
F) … second fiddle.

9. The first “old friend of the Chinese people” was from …
A) … Cambodia.
B) … the Soviet Union.
C) … North Korea.
D) … Canada.

10. What is a rare but welcome hue for the often-smoggy Beijing skies?
A) Chai Jing blue
B) Daddy Xi sapphire
C) APEC blue
D) Olympic azure

Thanks for playing! But before you thank us in return, remember to first give thanks to the country.

lexicon_2015_cover_thumbIf you need to brush up on your lingo, download “Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang” or peruse our Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon.