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.
Dà Sābì 大撒币
Nickname for President Xi Jinping deriding his investment in foreign countries; play on “throw money” (sābì 撒币) and “stupid cunt” (shǎ bī傻逼).Bitter jokes about the president’s free spending on countries other than the one he runs started in October 2015, when Xi and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on “up to £40bn” in trade and other deals during Xi’s visit to the U.K. Despite being the world’s second biggest economy and incredible poverty reduction over the last 30 years, China is also among countries with the greatest level of income disparity. Netizens are resentful of Chinese investment abroad when so many still struggle at home.
“The English are proud of the Magna Carta, the French of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the Americans of the Declaration of Independence,” wrote Weibo user Cigangnüren (@茨冈女人) around October 24, 2015. “China is proud of its Big Spender” (中国以大撒币为荣), Yunzinai (@云子鼐) replied.
A study released in October 2017 by AidData research lab showed that China is near neck-and-neck with the United States in terms of foreign aid spending from 2000-2014. China considers its foreign assistance a state secret, and domestic unease with state money being spent abroad could be one reason for the opacity.
CDT first detected that “Big Spender” was blocked from Weibo search results on January 2, 2016. “Throw money” (sābì 撒币) has been blocked from Weibo at least since April 5, 2016, and continues to be as of October 13, 2017.