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Small bunch

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一小撮 (yī xiǎo cuō): a small bunch

This term has been used by the government since at least the Cultural Revolution to denote groups of wrongdoers. It appears in official reports of both the Tiananmen Incident and the Weng’an Riot. The word’s overuse has drawn the ire of netizens. “A small bunch” literally means “milliliter” or “pinch.” However, incidents such as the Weng’an Riot that are blamed on “a small bunch” of troublemakers involve tens of thousands of people. After a disturbance an official report will often say something to the effect that “a small bunch of people with ulterior motives stirred up the masses who did not understand the actual situation (一小撮别有用心的人”怀着“不可告人的目的”煽风点火,而“不明真相”的群众则受其“蒙蔽”). Critics complain about the use of stock phrases like this because they minimize the underlying social ill that leads to disturbances and portray the aggrieved populace as simply being duped by a small group of troublemakers.