Viral Content: Personal Emperor

 is a new CDT series introducing terms coined and used by Chinese  during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak. These terms include both subversive critiques and nationalistic support of government policies. 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.  

Personal Emperor

Qīnzì Dì 亲自帝

Derisive nickname for Xi Jinping alluding to his leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak.

At a January 28, 2020 press conference with World Health Organization Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President Xi declared that “I have personally been directing the effort and deploying resources” against the epidemic. But just two days prior, on January 26, Premier Li Keqiang was named the head of the newly-formed Central Committee Novel Coronavirus Leading Group. Netizens leapt to “personally comment” (qīnzì pínglùn 亲自评论) on this discrepancy, while many others “personally reposted” (qīnzì zhuǎnfā 亲自转发) those criticisms.


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