"Bad" words

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As part of their broad language policing, PRC authorities are cracking down on inappropriate monikers:

"No More ‘SissyGuy’ or ‘Douchebag1990’: Weibo Bans Usernames Containing ‘Bad’ Words:

Weibo users can clean up their usernames before December 8", Manye Koetse, What's on Weibo (12/1/21)

Weibo, which is China's version of Twitter, has a huge following and enormous influence, but, like everything on the Chinese internet, it is strictly censored and harshly controlled.  Now, in line with the recent announcement of the latest drastic language regulations, Weibo users must junk their naughty names.

On December 1st, Weibo administrators announced that Weibo users can no longer have vulgar/slang terms in their usernames, or any other words that are deemed offensive.

Users have until December 8 to change their potentially offensive username. If they continue to use a ‘vulgar’ nickname on the platform, their account could be (temporarily) suspended.

Some of the terms that will no longer be allowed include:

瘪三 Biēsān: slang word to refer to someone as a bum, like a broke-ass low-life
二货 Èrhuò: when used as slang, could be translated as ‘douchebag’
娘炮 Niángpào: slang word that could be translated as ‘sissy’
SB: online slang used to curse people, with SB being the acronym of the Chinese “Shǎ bī (傻逼) = stupid C-word

The new Weibo regulations are part of the 2021 ‘Qinglang’ campaign (清朗行动) to ‘clean up’ the internet and eliminate harmful content.

By now, the announcement has gone viral on Weibo, where one hashtag dedicated to the topic (#微博昵称不得含娘炮等词汇#) received over 110 million views on Wednesday.

Many Weibo users are confused about the new rules.

“I never knew ‘Niángpào‘ was considered a vulgar word,” one user commented, while another person nicknamed ‘Farting Picture’ wondered: “Is 'fart' still okay though?”

With the PRC internet noose ever tightening, it is increasingly hard to have fun on it any longer.


Selected readings

[h.t. Don Keyser]


  1. Philip Taylor said,

    December 5, 2021 @ 10:48 am

    "With the PRC internet noose ever tightening, it is increasingly hard to have fun on it any longer" — I think that that depends very much on one's defintion of "fun". Personally, I see nothing funny in a username such as "Farting Picture", let alone any of the more vulgar epithets which are to be proscribed. "Fun" does not entail filth, IMHO.

  2. Farting Picture said,

    December 5, 2021 @ 11:19 am

    I fart in your general direction Philip Taylor

  3. David Marjanović said,

    December 5, 2021 @ 1:18 pm


    …wherein the rub lies.

  4. Bloix said,

    December 5, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

    Is Niángpào a compound word? How would you translate each element literally?

  5. Tom said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 12:07 am

    I always thought èrhuò, in particular, was quite innocuous and in good sport.

  6. Scott Mauldin said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 2:44 am

    Regarding the last statement (With the PRC internet noose ever tightening, it is increasingly hard to have fun on it any longer) I think one perhaps intentional side effect of these moves is to restrain the centrifugal tendencies of the internet to partition out into infinitesimal postmodernist niches, such as those that in the western internet have given rise to fake news and conspiracies galore. The CCP is unabashedly modernist and wants to keep the internet that way too.

    @Philip Taylor – Are you a Dolores Umbridge fan?

  7. Philip Taylor said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 4:59 am

    Scott — I thought I had never heard of her, but a quick Google search reveals that she is a character in the Harry Potter series, all of which I have read and most of which I have watched. So, clearly not, since she has never impinged on my stream of consciousness. I am not a prude, I have used both the F-word and the C-word in anger, but see no connection whatsoever between fun and filth other than that they both start with a /f/.

  8. Jerry Packard said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 10:11 am

    "Is Niángpào a compound word? How would you translate each element literally?"

    niang2 means 'young lady' and pao4 means 'gun/cannon'.

    niang2 is often used to refer to pejorative aspects of femininity, such as niang2qiang1 female-larynx 'female voice (pej.)'

    pao4 is often used to refer to negative character traits such as da4pao4 big-gun 'braggart/big mouth'.

  9. Haamu said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 2:09 pm

    Filth is in the eye of the beholder, I guess (which sounds really uncomfortable).

    Actually, both filth and fun are, so the idea that they might intersect for some people (see, e.g., many adolescent boys) should not be at all surprising.

  10. chris said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 8:33 pm

    If you can't be a stupid C-word on Weibo, can you still be a cow's C-word?

    I look forward to seeing how the ingenuity of the Chinese people will face this obstacle. An entire new herd of grass-mud horses may be just around the corner!

  11. Neil Kubler said,

    December 7, 2021 @ 10:19 am

    As regards niángpào and dàpào "big cannon," in vulgar speech the latter can refer to the male genital organ.

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