Chinese authorities target use of homonyms for online abuse amid crackdown on fan circles
Published: Sep 06, 2021 09:03 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Amid the ongoing crackdown on chaotic fan circles, Chinese authorities have turned their attention to tackling the use by some netizens of vulgar phonetic puns for verbal abuse on social media. 

On Monday, many official media outlets including People's Daily, the website of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) and CCTV posted criticism of net users for insulting others online, mentioning use of the word "sanbing," meaning "paratroopers" in English, which is a phonetic pun on another word, meaning "sucker" or "fool" in English.

CYLC reported that because the real words that some netizens want to use are too crude and will be blocked by network algorithms, some net users use homonyms to replace the original vocabulary. 

CYLC said it was not opposed to cutting-edge expressions of online language and the bold creation of vocabulary by netizens, but abuse and profanity should be avoided.

Paratroopers, also known as airborne troops, refer to units that are engaged in ground operations by parachuting.

In the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, 15 warriors of the airborne troops risked their lives to jump from an altitude of 5,000 meters to the epicenter zone, helping to open up channels between Wenchuan, the hardest-hit area, and the outside world.

"The internet is not a place outside the law. Please be cautious [online] and let's pay tribute to the paratroopers," People's Daily said on Monday.

The comments drew support on social media, with the hashtag earning 390 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"The paratroopers who have made great contributions to our country and people should not be used in this way," one Chinese netizen wrote on Weibo.

Global Times