Word of the Week: Shanwei Form

Word of the Week: Shanwei Form

The  comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens or 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.

Shānwěi tǐ 汕尾体


Shanwei party secretary Zheng Yanxiong, originator of “Shanwei form.” (Source: ChinaHush)

Rhetorical style originated by Shanwei Party Secretary Zheng Yanxiong that has been widely emulated by netizens.

Following the 2011 protests in Wukan village, Zheng Yanxiong—party secretary of Shanwei, the prefecture-level city in Guangdong with jurisdiction over Wukan—was recorded making statements defending leadership and blaming foreign media for the unrest in Wukan. The presence of foreign journalists at the protests in Wukan had garnered international support for the demonstration against land grabs and official corruption. Addressing the issue of the Wukan villagers requesting foreign media attention, Secretary Zheng stated:

Finding several reporters to make a scene, thinking that the more the press defame me the more I will suffer, thinking the problem will get me fired. What good can come of getting me fired? They will just send another mayor down here, and I bet he won’t be any better than me… There is only one group of people that is feeling the pinch every year. Who? Those who are government cadres, including me! It was never this tiring to be a municipal secretary before, we now have to manage everything. The rights we enjoy are decreasing, the means we can use are decreasing, but our responsibilities are increasing every day, whereas ordinary folks are becoming more and more greedy, more and more clever, more and more untamable… If the foreign media is trustworthy, then a sow can climb up a tree.

找几个记者来炒一炒,外面说得你老郑越难听越高兴,你麻烦了,到时候你的上级一急,把你给撤了!把我撤了有什么好处啊?再派一个市委书记来,也不见得比郑雁雄好多少… 现在只有一批人,感觉是一年比一年艰苦,谁呢?当干部的,包括我,以前的市委书记哪有这么累的?什么事都得管,权力一天比一天小,手段一天比一天少,责任一天比一天大。然后呢,老百姓一天比一天胃口高,一天比一天聪明,一天比一天难管。… 这些媒体信得过,母猪都会上树。[Chinese]

His comments were rapidly picked up and parodied by netizens, who used his statement as a blueprint for a rhetorical style they dubbed “Shanwei form”:

What good can come of getting divorced? You’ll just find someone else and I bet he won’t be any better than me. There is only one group of people that is feeling the pinch every year. Who? Men, including me! It was never this tiring to be married before. Now we have to manage everything. The amount of stress is greater every day, wives’ demands for affection are greater every year, prices are higher every year. If wives are trustworthy, then a sow can climb up a tree!


What good can come from me working overtime? You’ll just find another worker and I bet he won’t be any better than me. There is only one group of people feeling the pinch every year. Who? The staff, including me! It was never so tiring to be on staff before. Our salaries are decreasing each year, and each year the work is getting harder. Do you leaders think we don’t need money? If our bosses wallets can shrivel with every day of achievement, then a sow can climb up a tree!

我加班有什么好处啊? 再叫一个员工来做, 也不见得比我好多少。现在只有一批人感觉越来越艰苦, 谁呢, 当员工的,包括我!以前当员工有那么累啊,薪水一年比一年难拿,工作一年比一年难做,你以为请领导不用钱啊!你看我们老板的钱包一天一天瘪下去,业绩靠该得住,母猪也会上树! [Chinese]

In June 2016, after unrest again emerged in Wukan following the detention of elected village committee chief Lin Zuluan, a municipal official accused Hong Kong media outlets Apple Daily and Initium Media of inciting the demonstrations.

Can’t get enough of subversive Chinese netspeak? Check out “Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang,” our ebook of 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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