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Written on a wall in Hong Kong:


This neologism is trending on Twitter and Instagram as a hashtag.  It was inspired by a book titled Nàcuì Zhōngguó 《納粹中國》(Nazi China) published last year by the exiled writer Yu Jie 余杰 (b. 1973).  Yu was a friend of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017) and wrote a biography of him.

The stark photograph above delivers an extremely powerful message.  The grey concrete wall and the window or ventilator grills high above it suggest a prison.  The man off-center holding an umbrella walking away represents Hongkongers wanting to leave authoritarian China.  And the portmanteau word spray-painted in large characters simultaneously declares the emergence of a new consciousness while recalling an ugly human past.

The following design and explanation of the hashtag are circulating on the internet:

網路上也流傳著相關的圖片。(圖擷取自臉書_Stand with Hong Kong)

The power of words and images, especially those that are newly created, can scarcely be overestimated.

[Thanks to Chau Wu]


  1. Bathrobe said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 12:17 am

    They may circulate overseas but I doubt they will gain traction in an increasingly nationalistic China. I am getting quite a lot of anti-Hong Kong propaganda in my TenCent news feed.

  2. B.Ma said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 5:14 am

    Well isn't that the truth. China is "increasingly nationalistic" and the CCP says it is socialist.

  3. Alex said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 6:05 am


    quite a lot is an understatement. Id imagine leading up to October things will be ramped up.

  4. Bathrobe said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 9:19 am

    @ Alex

    I don't read my TenCent news feed a lot. From what I've seen of it, It's a bit like the Murdoch press: sensationalist, trashy, or feel-good stories spiked with fake news from the state (photos of XJP every second day and propaganda for certain virulent campaigns).

  5. Asher said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 9:19 pm

    It results in a kind of pun in Cantonese too, because of the merger between initial "n-" and "l-".

    "Chi laa[n] si[n]" is 黐線 i.e. "f***ing crazy".

  6. yoandri dominguez said,

    August 29, 2019 @ 4:27 am

    victor, i dont know you, but the truth is china doesnt exist. i dont like israel or even russian, so i say zionism, east slav, or palestine, eurasia. so say then, east asia. eureka! little uyghur folks aint no china filth. "china" political pseudocommunist entity (like pseudocommunist soviets). frozen war forever.

  7. Michael said,

    August 31, 2019 @ 1:32 pm

    Anyone else wanna lay bets on whether "yoandri's" post was machine-generated? It's lovely abstract prose, with just a whiff of bot-generated controversy.

  8. Victor Mair said,

    August 31, 2019 @ 6:43 pm

    And now the protesters have red banners with a large swastika made of yellow stars as above in the o.p., but with this Sinographic transcription of "ChiNAZI" in the bottom right: Chìnàcuì 赤納粹 ("Red Nazis").

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