From China Digital Space
河蟹 (héxiè): river crab
The Chinese government often uses its goal of constructing a “harmonious society” (和谐社会 héxié shèhuì) as a justification for censorship. Chinese netizens began to use “harmony” as a euphemism for censorship. “River crab” (héxiè) sounds nearly the same in Chinese as “harmonious” (héxié).
“River crab” can also be used as a verb. Instead of saying something has been censored, one might say “it has been harmonized” (被和谐了 bèi héxié le) or “it has been river-crabbed” (被河蟹了 bèi héxiè le).
A “crab” is also a bully.
In the context of Chinese Internet mythology, the river crab (censorship) threatens the habitat of the grass-mud horse (symbol of online deviance). For a famous YouTube video that illustrates this, see here.
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