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Adviser calls for controls on ‘vulgar’ Internet slang

(Shanghai Daily)    10:20, January 27, 2015

THE use of slang terms on the Internet, especially those with “vulgar” connotations, should be better regulated, a political adviser said yesterday.

Zhang Huaiqiong, a member of the 12th Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said such words and phrases are polluting the Chinese language.

One example is “diao si,” a word that is used online to refer to a “loser,” albeit mostly in a self-deprecating way.

The problem, as Zhang sees it, is that the character “diao” when used on its own is a derogatory term for a penis. By extension, “diao si” is crude and vulgar.

Too many such words are being coined online and then copied by the mainstream media, she said.

“Words that include adapted characters or have obscene meanings are linguistic pollution,” she said.

Zhang is not totally against people expressing themselves through language, however.

Some phrases, such as “zhong guo da ma,” are perfectly acceptable, she said.

The term originally referred to the sort maternal middle-aged Chinese women who managed the finances of the nation’s households.

In 2013, however, its meaning was updated and used extensively in the mainstream media to refer to those women who thronged to buy gold when its price plummeted.

“As a rule, neither the mainstream media nor government units should use words with vulgar or crude connotations just to sound up to date,” Zhang said.

More regulations should be drawn up to protect the Chinese language, she said.

Xu Mofan, an associate professor at East China Normal University’s Department of Chinese Language and Literature, agreed in part with Zhang.

“The use of vulgar words is inappropriate and should be banned,” he said.

“However, it is very hard to define the boundary between proper and improper words, so enforcing a ban would be tough,” he said.

Authorities should also be cautious. Even President Xi Jinping in his New Year speech used the popular online term “man pin de,” to encourage people to work hard, Xu said.

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(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Yao Chun)

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