Viral Content is a new CDT series introducing terms coined and used by Chinese netizens during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak. These terms include both subversive critiques of government policies and nationalistic support of them. Similar terms are being compiled and translated at China Digital Space, CDT’s bilingual wiki, as we expand it beyond the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon to include short biographies of people pushing for change in China, topical resource pages, and special projects.
Pray for Jade
qí cuì 祈翠
Coded wish for Xi Jinping‘s demise that appeared in February 2020 after he claimed to be “personally” directing the effort to fight COVID-19.
The character cuì 翠, meaning jade or jade-like color, is intended to be read component by component: Xi’s surname (习), repeated, on top of the archaic verb zú 卒, meaning “to die.” Some riffed on this by writing Chairman Xi (Xí Zhǔxí 习主席) as the roughly homophonous Xí zú Xí 习卒习 (i.e. “die, Xi, die”). CDT Chinese has compiled a collection of posts tagged in the Weibo “super topic” #dailyprayerforjade (#每日祈翠超话#).
The term became a sensitive word on Sina Weibo shortly after it was coined.