January 5, 2016
It’s one of the most common surnames in China – so why do Chinese internet censors suddenly have a problem with the word “Zhao”?
When it comes to criticising powerful people online in China, there’s a long tradition of being indirect. Around a year ago, hundreds of social media users began using the sarcastic phrase “ni guo,” meaning “your country”, to express their distance from the views of the Chinese government. It was a clever play on words: “my country” had become a common nationalist phrase used by state media organs.
Because the words “your” and “country” are so commonly used, it was difficult for government censors to filter social media posts containing the phrase, and it got popular.
At the end of 2015 and now in early 2016, a new word – the surname “Zhao” – has started being used for the same reason, replacing “your country” as one of the most popular terms of criticism towards those who are rich and powerful. [FULL STORY]