Word of the Week: Dinner Party
The Word of the Week 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.
Nickname for the Communist Party (Gòngchǎndǎng 共产党) alluding to the banqueting officials often put on the taxpayer’s tab; literally “shared meal party.”
Chinese Communist Party officials have become notorious for their propensity to excess. In 2013, the Xinhua-affiliated magazine Ban Yue Tan reported on the problem, interviewing a mayor of a city in central China who said he wined and dined four to five times a day, or more than 1,500 times in a year. Calling the CCP the Dinner Party alludes to gluttonous corruption while simultaneously throwing censors off the trail of sensitive discussion online.
Yonghu531zbw37q1 (@用户531zbw37q1): Is it so easy to eat the Dinner Party‘s meals? Unless you have a political background, the bloodsuckers will always be watching you, so that when you slip up they can turn you into a corpse! (September 14, 2015)
The gluttonous perception of officials has become a sensitive political topic. A 2012 Central Propaganda Department directive ordered media not to hype gourmet meals at that year’s legislative and advisory meetings in Beijing. Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has targeted bribery and luxurious spending by government officials, with Xi declaring “four dishes, one soup” sufficient for official banquets, and with shark fin and bird’s nest taken off the menu. Two Sessions The years-long effort appears to be as much about Xi consolidating his power than about fighting corruption, however. Calls for officials to publicly disclose their assets have been squelched by the government.
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.