China Digital Space

Grass-mud horse

From China Digital Space

Revision as of 22:51, 4 March 2012 by Anne (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

草泥马 (cǎonímǎ): Grass-mud horse

The term grass-mud horse, which sounds nearly the same in Chinese as “f*** your mother” (cào nǐ mā), was originally created as a way to get around, and also poke fun at, government censorship of vulgar content. After netizens created an online video depicting the grass-mud horse at war with and eventually defeating the river crab (河蟹 héxiè), a homonym for the propaganda catchword "harmony" (和谐 héxié), the idea caught fire and the video became a viral hit. Netizens continually expanded the lore of the grass-mud horse by creating catchy songs and fake nature documentaries on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

The phrase is especially meaningful on a political level because the Communist Party is often described as "the mother" of the people--thus the phrase, "f*** your mother" can also suggest "f** the Party." The grass-mud horse is one of many mythical creatures created by netizens in response to increasingly strict censorship measures.

The term has since developed an additional meaning: a “grass-mud horse” is someone who is web-savvy and critical of government attempts at censorship. As one Chinese blogger explained, "'Grass-Mud Horse' represents information and opinions that cannot be accepted by the mainstream discourse, and 'The Song of the Grass Mud Horse' has become a metaphor of the power struggle over Internet expression."

For more on the grass-mud horse, see China Digital Times.

Microsoft’s Chinese Chatbot Encounters Sensitive Words

22 November 2016, by josh rudolph

Grass-Mud Horse Quiz 2015: Test Your Netizen Slang

31 December 2015, by josh rudolph

Grass-Mud Horse Quiz: How Good Is Your Netizen Slang?

17 July 2015, by Sophie Beach

Decoding the Chinese Internet eBook (2015 Edition)

16 July 2015, by Sophie Beach

CDT eBook: Decoding the Chinese Internet

15 September 2014, by Anne Henochowicz

Cuddly Protest Icon Says ‘Neigh’ To Censorship

22 January 2014, by josh rudolph

ChinaFile Video: Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon (Updated)

24 October 2013, by Sophie Beach

Billionaire Detained in Civil Society Crackdown

13 September 2013, by Samuel Wade

In China, Avoiding The Internet Censors

9 September 2013, by Sophie Beach

Word of the Week: “Party” Central Committee

5 December 2012, by Anne Henochowicz

Album: First Annual Grass-Mud Horse Festival

4 July 2012, by Anne Henochowicz

Watch Your Language! (In China, They Really Do)

13 March 2012, by Sophie Beach

Grass-Mud Horse Word of the Week

7 March 2012, by Anne Henochowicz

Ai Weiwei Faces Obstructions, Threats as Payment Deadline Looms (Updated)

15 November 2011, by Samuel Wade

Quiz: How Well Do You Know Chinese Netizen-Speak?

9 August 2011, by Sophie Beach

While originally conceived as a zebra, the grass-mud horse is now depicted as an alpaca.
The grass-mud horse, originally just a thinly veiled profanity, has become a potent political symbol. Here a grass-mud horse is shown in place of "tank man," who stood before the tanks as they rolled into Tiananmen Square.
Paying respects to a snow grass-mud horse.
Made up character combining components of the characters, grass, mud and horse
Grass-mud horse army
Views
Personal tools
Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon
Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon eBook
Support CDT - Buy a Grass Mud Horse T-shirt!