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Jingde Town

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景德镇 (jǐng dé zhèn): the town of Jingde

The town of Jingde has been called the porcelain capital of China. Recently, the name of the town has become a code word to refer to all of China.

When netizens write about China, the word, “China” is often picked up by sophisticated internet filters that look for [[sensitive porcelain | sensitive words] and screen for political content. Because porcelain is often referred to as “china,” the name of this township is used to get around internet censorship.

For example, this innocuous sounding exchange has two entirely different meanings.

“What kind of a place is Jingde?” “It’s a small town that daily produces cup ware and dining ware.” “景德镇是什么地方?” “天天生产杯具和餐具的小镇。”

To those in the know, this can be read as:

“What kind of a place is China?” “It’s a small town that daily produces tragedy and misfortune.”

(Cup ware (杯具) sounds the same in Chinese as tragedy (悲剧) and dining ware (餐具) sounds nearly the same as misfortune (惨剧).)

Another codeword for "China" is Celestial Empire.