In the Loop

How to smack talk the government in China without getting caught (for now)

Posted at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2009 by Sanden Totten

There is a new hero in China, his legend is sweeping across the country side. This brave fellow has stood up to oppression, vanquished enemies and fought for the rights of all Chinese people. No, not Jet Li, but close . . . it's an Alpaca.

Or actually, a "grass mud horse" to be precise. A mythical creature who has gained a following on the Internet and has been heralded in cartoons, merchandise and song. Why is this animal is so adored? His name, "grass mud horse" in Chinese sounds a lot like a dirty, dirty word. What word, you ask? Think Oedipus. Yeah, that word.

The mud horse is a response to a recent Chinese government campaign to wipe all pornographic and vulgar content from the web. Aside from the fact that vulgar content makes up 98.9999% of all web content, the netizens of China worried this effort would just be another excuse to clamp down on free speech and access to non-state run media. Enter the "grass mud horse".

When written, the words grass, mud and horse don't trip any censors. Only when said aloud do they violate your virgin ears. So writers in China are using this term, along with other raunchy homonyms, to stick it to the government without getting caught. The furry little animal has become an adorable, cuddly symbol of rebellion. Watch his triumphant video below, or if you want the translation . . . complete with the double meanings, click here (there will be cussing).

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