Grass Mud Horse who lives in the Mahler desert and fights evil river crabs

So to those of you who don’t know. There is a hell a lot of  internet slang in China.

Perhaps the best known is that of the ‘Grass Mud Horse who lives in the Ma Le Desert who fight the evil river crabs’

This is all old news for those in the china blogosphere but as brushduck is a spring chicken – it is still a breaking story.

To those of you who don’t get chinese puns – the above fun sounding animal story is in fact Chinese internet language telling the internet censors of China to fuck off.

草泥马 Cao ni ma (grass mud horse) sounds a lot like 操你媽 Cao ni ma  (fuck your mum)

The river crab (河蟹, héxiè) symbolises official censorship, as its pronunciation resembles the word for “harmony” (和谐, héxié). Obviously the grass mud horse lives in the ‘Grass mud horse Mahler Gobi desert’ (or fuck your mother’s cunt) cǎo ní mǎ Gēbì (草泥马戈壁).

There have been lots of academic attempts to explain this as the underground Chinese internet revolution that will eventually topple China, but it is a bit more of a ‘cat and mouse’ game that goes on with Chinese censorship in all forms. More to come on that later. Chinese culture is ripe with satire and sly attacks on the ruling elite, but the imagery and form of the critique is often more subtle and colourful.

The grass mud horse is not particularly subtle but it is pretty funny. Please enjoy the videos below. One is an explanation of the linguistics for non Chinese speakers. The second is a children’s version of the song and the last is a rap (my favourite).



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