Word of the Week: King Zhao’s Enter Key

Word of the Week: King Zhao’s Enter Key

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.

King Zhao’s enter key (Zhào Wáng huíchē 赵王回车)


King Zhao presses enter. (Source: WeChat/PLA Daily)

Enter key with a bright orange “post to Weibo” label, seen on the keyboard at the office of the People’s Liberation Army Daily (PLA Daily) when President Xi Jinping visited in December 2015.

On his December 25, 2015 visit to the office of the PLA Daily, Xi Jinping posted an early new year’s greeting to the newspaper’s Weibo account. Astute netizens noticed that the keyboard Xi was using had an orange “post to Weibo” (Wēibó fābù 微博发布) label on the enter key, leading to doubts about the president’s technical savvy. Some suspected that he had merely “made a show” (zuòxiù 作秀) of posting to Weibo on national television. Around the same time, online discussion of the Zhao family—a nickname for China’s elite taken from Lu Xun’s modern classic novella “The True Story of Ah Q”—was on the rise. The glaring orange key was soon dubbed “King Zhao’s enter key.”

On December 30, the state-run new media site The Paper explained that the keyboard is a “Weibo management platform” designed by the PLA Daily to allow the user to post to multiple Weibo accounts with one stroke of the enter key. But by then, it was too late to backtrack netizen ridicule. Comments simply wrote “King Zhao’s enter key” in the comment thread on The Paper’s Weibo post on the subject.

“King Zhao’s enter key” is blocked from Weibo search results as of January 5, 2016.

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.


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