Word of the Week: Great Qing Pill

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 censorship and political correctness.

Dà Qīng yàowán 大清药丸

Riff on a line from Lao She‘s 1957 play “Teahouse,” “The Great Qing is done for” (Dà Qīng yào wán 大清要完). The quotation is obscured by writing “done for” (yào wán 要完) as “pill” (yàowán 药丸). The phrase expresses indignation at the government and despair for China’s future.

Huaiheideshijie (@坏黑的世界): Should we buy gold in troubled times? Great Qing pill? (January 11, 2016)


Variations include “big olive pill” (dà qīngguǒ yàowán 大青果药丸) and “honorable China pill” (guì Zhī yàowán 贵支药丸).

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.

January 14, 2016 1:57 PM
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