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River crab

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héxiè 河蟹

River crab wearing three watches (dài sān ge biǎo 带三个表), alluding to Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents (sān ge dàibiǎo 三个代表). (source unknown)

Troublesome creature whose name echoes "harmony" (和谐 héxié); euphemism for censorship. Coined by netizens as a reference to the government's justification of censorship as an essential ingredient in constructing former president Hu Jintao's "harmonious society." In pre-Internet language, a crab is also a bully.

Both "harmony" and "river crab" can be used as verbs. Instead of saying something has been censored, you can say it has been "harmonized" (bèi héxié 被和谐) or "river-crabbed" (bèi héxiè 被河蟹了).

In Chinese Internet mythology, the river crab threatens the habitat of the grass-mud horse, also a symbol of online deviance. A popular cartoon illustrates this struggle.

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