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斯巴达 (Sībādá): Sparta

“This is the 18th Party Congress!!!”

The Chinese transliteration of “Sparta” sounds nearly the same as the abbreviation for the “18th National Party Congress” (十八大 Shíbā dà). During this decennial leadership transition, all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee will retire, including Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.

Netizens have turned to the term “Sparta” as the government steps up its censorship efforts in anticipation of the transition.

Beijing has implemented a number of rather Spartan policies in anticipation of the Congress, including restricting the sale of kitchen knives and having cabbies remove or disable the rear window cranks in their taxis.

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