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Smog the people

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喂人民服雾 (wèi rénmín fú wù): smog the people

Smogging the people. (Source: Yuanzi)

Literally “feed smog to the people.” This play on Mao Zedong’s motto “serve the people” offers commentary on China’s ever-worsening air quality. While “smog the people” has been in use for several years, the phrase gained currency in October 2013, when smog stopped traffic and hindered tennis matches in Beijing and brought an “airpocalypse” to Harbin.

Around New Year’s 2014, many Weibo users called “smog the people” the biggest “watchword” of 2013.

See also serve the renminbi.