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Mystical country

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神奇的国度 (shén qí de guó dù): the mystical country

Sometimes netizens refer to China sarcastically as “the mystical country.” The word 神奇 (shenqi), translated here as “mystical,” has no direct English translation. It can mean, “marvelous,”“mysterious,”“magical,” or “miraculous.” In common usage the word is used to describe something positively that seems to defy the laws of nature. For example, “The new treatment is very shenqi”(新疗法疗效神奇).

Netizens use this phrase in describing situations in China that defy logic. Netizens joke that these aberrations are acceptable because, “after all China is a mystical country.” For example:

“As for Google moving (out of the country), I’m not at all surprised, because after all we live in a mystical country—a country in which hide and go seek, and drinking water can all be lethal. It is truly a mystical country.”

“We truly live in a mystical country; we can own our houses but the land upon which they sit forever belongs to the state!” (这是一个神奇的国度! 该国房子可以是自己的,但土地永远是国家的!)

“We truly live in a mystical country; the country is poor but also generous, always willing to pour vast sums into Africa.” (该国很穷,却很慷慨,经常有大手笔支援非洲)

“We truly live in a mystical country; pornographic publications are illegal but sex shops are everywhere.” (黄色刊物属于非法,但性用品商店到处都是)

In the "mystical country" government officials can absorb all the information at meetings while asleep.
Image from the mystical country: woman begs in front of banner that reads, "Information on the newest welfare programs for the elderly."