Chinese derogatory social media term for ‘white left’ Western elites spreads

By Qu Qiuyan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/21 23:23:19

Chinese social media term for ‘white left’ Western elites spreads


Baizuo, a derogatory term in Mandarin that refers to the "leftist elites" in the West, has become increasingly popular among China's netizens, a phenomenon analysts ascribe to the public's resentment against what they perceive as the superiority complex of the Western liberal elites and their ideological agenda against China.

Chinese netizens have long been using the term baizuo, literally meaning "white left" to ridicule the liberal elites in the West, but Fox News only picked up the topic on Tuesday after they read an article about it written by Zhang Chenchen, a PhD in political theory and science.

Baizuo refers to people who "only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment," who "have no sense of real problems in the real world," who only advocate for peace and equality to "satisfy their own feelings of moral superiority" and who are "obsessed with political correctness" that they "tolerate backward Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism," reads Zhang's article published in opendemocracy.com on May 11.

The term baizuo is not limited to referring to the white liberal elites, as former US president Obama was considered as an advocate of baizuo ideology. According to Zhang, the Chinese public mentioned that baizuo first emerged to describe German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her decision to welcome more than 1 million third-world immigrants to Europe, which infringed upon Chinese people's right to stay in Europe. Other terms like "holy mothers" have also been invented to ridicule Western politicians who welcome Muslim immigrants and help Islamicize Europe.

On Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website, the question "why are well-educated elites in the West seen as naïve 'white left' in China?" has received more than 400 answers.

One of the users said that baizuo are people "who advocate inclusiveness and anti-discrimination but cannot tolerate different opinions." Another Zhihu user wrote that baizuo's opinions were so shallow that they tend to maintain social equality by embracing ideologies that run against the basic concept of equality.

"Chinese people don't like the group because they think baizuo always exhibit a sense of superiority and hold a tough attitude towards China," said Zhu Feng, a professor at Peking University's School of International Studies.

Some people believe baizuo are phony and hypocritical and will make the situation in the West go from bad to worse, said Zhang Yiwu, a cultural scholar at Peking University.

Online users think the liberal elites in the West give no thought to the conditions in China when they talk about issues like animal rights, women's rights and climate change, Zhang said.


Newspaper headline: Chinese social media term for ‘white left’ Western elites spreads


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