Saying of the Week: Understand the Motherland

The  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 and political correctness.

了解祖国 (liǎojiě zǔguó): understand the motherland

Distillation of a tweet by the artist-activist Ai Weiwei.

On March 30, 2010, Ai tweeted, “If you hope to understand your motherland, you have already started on the path of crime” (你如果希望了解你的祖国,你已经走上了犯罪的道路), implying that in order to truly understand China, one needs access to censored and suppressed information. In other words, the Chinese Communist Party does not really want you to “understand the motherland.”

Example:

Boniudechaonaiba (@啵妞的超级奶爸): If you hope to understand the motherland, you have already started to read a horror story. (July 11, 2015)

如果想了解祖国,你已经开始阅读一篇长篇恐怖小说 [Chinese]

See also believe in the god Ai and be resurrected on the spot and love the future.

lexicon_2015_cover_thumbCan’t get enough of subversive Chinese netspeak? Check out our latest ebook, “Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang.” Includes dozens of new terms and classic catchphrases, presented in a new, image-rich format. Available for pay-what-you-want (including nothing). All proceeds support CDT.