Minitrue: Delete News on “Daddy Xi” Beetle
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
All websites find and delete the article “Entomologists Report: Scholars Use ‘Daddy Xi’ to Name a New Type of Beetle” and related information. (July 11, 2016) [Chinese]
After discovering a new species of beetle from Hainan, Chinese scientist Wang Chengbin published an article in the peer-reviewed taxonomy journal Zootaxa declaring the new species’ name Rhyzodiastes (Temoana) xii—the “xii” a reference to President Xi Jinping. Explaining the name, the researcher said, “This specific epithet is dedicated to Dr. Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, for his leadership making our motherland stronger and stronger.” Web users and news editors represented the honorific naming in headlines and social media posts by drawing attention to Xi Jinping’s moniker “Daddy Xi” (Xi Dàda 习大大)—an endearing nickname that was once a part of Xi’s official image crafting campaign, but has more recently been downplayed by authorities.
At Global Voices, Oiwan Lam notes that search results for the Chinese translation of the new name (習氏狼條脊甲) have been blocked from Weibo. Lam continues to translate two netizen comments, the first in sarcastic praise of the efficiency of censors, and the second a poem written by historian Zhang Lifan in the spirit of Franz Kafka:
“The check on sensitive terms is so advanced. The post about the new bug named after XXX on [major social media platforms] Weibo, Duban and Ren Ren was deleted instantly. Should we say that XXX is not happy about the bug being named after him? An act of ass kissing now turns into ass kicking…”
[…] “The Metamorphosis
Confusion between ass kissing and advanced hacking [of meaning],
Name draws boundless imagination.
Natural-born dragon species,
Driving the dream in the air now turns into bug.” [Source]
Naming new species after government officials is a common practice. In 1999, a new species of sea slug was named after former South African President Nelson Mandela, and in 2012 a newly discovered trapdoor spider was named in honor of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors,who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.