Trap daddy

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A current catch phrase in China is kēngdiē 坑爹, which literally means "trap your father", but in actuality is a slang neologism used to signify "dishonest; fraudulent; deceptive; be contrary to what one expected", etc. 

"‘Really annoying’ — phrase of the week"

A decade-long online prank involving fake historical accounts of Russian history was unearthed on Chinese social media. For many internet users, the hoax got under their skin.

Andrew Methven  SupChina    Published July 8, 2022


One of the biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s history has recently been uncovered in China: A writer by the name of Zhé Máo 折毛 has spent the last 10 years creating fake but highly detailed historical accounts of bits of Russian history and publishing them on Chinese Wikipedia (维基百科 wéi jī bǎi kē). Some places and people are completely made up, while other stories are linked and interwoven with reality.

The fakes were uncovered by an online user, who realized that the Chinese entries were different from their English equivalents before posting her discovery on Zhihu, a Quora-like Q&A platform:

Chinese Wikipedia entries that are more detailed than English Wikipedia and even Russian Wikipedia are all over the place. Characters that don’t exist in the English-Russian Wiki appear in the Chinese Wiki, and these characters are mixed together with real historical figures so that there’s no telling the real from the fake.

The Chinese media were quick to respond:

Recently, this inventor of Russian history known as Zhe Mao, and the really annoying things she has done, have finally been exposed by accident.


Zuìjìn zhège jiào zhé máo de lìshǐ fāmíng jiā hé tā gàn de zhèxiē kēngdiē shì er zhōngyú zài ǒurán zhī jiān bèi bā chūláile.


Really annoying is a Chinese internet slang word that directly translates as hole (坑 kēng), which here means “cheat,” and dad (爹 diē). In other words, to do something to cheat or make life difficult for your dad.

It’s a difficult one to translate, but generally refers to an action that is unexpected, deceiving, and annoying.

The phrase originally comes from a Chinese dialect spoken in northern Jiangsu, but was made popular around the launch of the computer game World of Warcraft (魔兽世界 mó shòu shì jiè). In 2012, when the game was under limited release in China, one player managed to access a higher level in the game than was allowed through a loophole in the programming. This was big news in the gaming world: His gaming ID was 坑爹呢这是 kēng diē ne zhè shì [VHM:  "What the hell is this?"]

Since then, the phrase 坑爹 kēng diē has come into mainstream use, meaning something unexpected and annoying.

There are a number of similar phrases, which also came up in the media coverage of the fake Russian Wiki story, like 坑人 kēng rén, or 被坑 bèi kēng, “to be holed,” which means to be deceived, as one online user commented on Zhihu:

So many professors and students in China have been deceived. There are at least 100 dissertations that have quoted false information.


hěnduō guónèi jiàoshòu hé xuéshēng dōu bèi kēngle, yǐnyòng tā de nèiróng de lùnwén dōu chàbùduō shàng bǎi piānle.

"We're caught in a trap"

            — Elvis


Selected readings

[Thanks to Don Keyser]


  1. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    July 10, 2022 @ 3:21 pm

    Is there any effort afoot to correct the Chinese Wiki info? I'll have to search for more info.

    Also: "So many professors and students in China have been deceived. There are at least 100 dissertations that have quoted false information."

    Do they allow citations to Wikipedia in China? "Dissertations" implies grad-school level work (at least to me it does), so grad students are citing Wikipedia entries? If so, this boggles my mind even more than the hoax/prank itself.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    July 13, 2022 @ 7:26 am

    Woman caught writing fake Chinese, Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia for over a decade

    Ryan General
    June 30, 2022

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