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The memes that took over China’s internet in 2016

China's internet memes in 2016 year reflected some of its themes. Here's four of Quartz's favourites.

The "Ge You slouch"

葛优瘫 (gě yōu tān)

A screenshot of a skinny, balding, middle-aged man slouching on a couch went viral on the Chinese internet this year. Ge You, a guest star in the 1990s sitcom "I Love My Family," played a scam artist who tried to sell himself as an inventor. After the family on the show invited him into their house, the freeloader pretty much glued himself to the couch 24/7, except when having meals.


Chinese netizens coined the phrase "The Ge You slouch" to describe a state of idleness which they called "living without hope."


The current people are not okay

这届人民不行 (zhè jiè rén mín bù xíng)

In March, an official wrote in the People's Daily that every Chinese citizen is responsible for building a corruption-free society.


The author Xi Hua argued that the party's anti-corruption drive has "achieved huge accomplishments" in recent years, but in order to keep this momentum going, the bigger challenge is to stop everyone from offering bribes in the first place. For example, patients should never give "red envelopes" of money to doctors ahead of surgeries.


The article soon garnered scathing responses on the internet, with many bloggers commenting with the line "The current people are not okay" to ridicule the author's argument, which is now used to mock official misconduct or social problems.


This is very halal

这很清真 (zhè hěn qīng zhēn)

It all started with a joke. In 2013, a Chinese blogger posted a picture of two cans of meat that almost looked identical—one marked "braised-pork can" and the other marked with a halal symbol.


Pork is, of course, not allowed according to Islam. The company that produced the canned meat, soon released a statement that the two cans are of different products. The one with the halal logo is a can of braised beef, it claimed.


The incident was mysteriously revived this year. "This is very halal" became a meme making fun of something inauthentic or someone who says one thing but does another.


It is also often used as an offence to Muslims. For example, cartoons depicting bearded Muslims as terrorists carrying weapons accompanied with text such as "Heard you are not halal?" are commonplace on China's internet.


Don't talk back to your father

不要跟爸爸顶嘴 (bú yào gēn bà ba dǐng zuǐ)

"Father" is a word that automatically implies authority and superiority in Chinese culture.


Chinese trolls flooded Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook page with the message that Taiwan and China are part of the same country after her victory in January's election. Tsai's party, the Democratic Progressive Party, has espoused pro-independence views, much to Beijing's displeasure.


Many cartoons depict China as a panda with a man's face, accompanied with text like "Don't talk back to your father" or "How dare how you speak to your father like this!"


Source: Quartz


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