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River crab

From China Digital Space

Revision as of 16:11, 18 January 2013 by Anne (talk | contribs)
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河蟹 (héxiè): river crab

Picture of a river crab wearing three watches. (“Wear three watches” (带三个表 dài sān ge biǎo) sounds similar to the Three Represents (三个代表 sān ge dàibiǎo), Jiang Zemin’s signature ideological creation.

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” (河蟹 héxiè) sounds nearly the same in Chinese as “harmonious” (和谐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). A popular cartoon illustrates this struggle.

The word “harmonious” written in Chinese—various components have been modified to resemble the radical used in the word “crab.”
National Flag of the Republic of Rivercrabs.


Flag of the People's Republic of China.