The Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures initially a humorous hoax, has become a popular and widespread internet meme in the People's Republic of China. These hoaxes, ten in number, originated in response to increasingly pervasive and draconian online censorship in China, and have become an icon of citizens' resistance to censorship.
1 Meme details 2 The 10 Mythical Creatures o 2.1 C N M o 2.2 Fa Ke You o 2.3 Ya Mie Die o 2.4 Ju Hua Can o 2.5 Chun Ge o 2.6 Ji Ba Mao o 2.7 Wei Shen Jing o 2.8 Yin Dao Yan o 2.9 Guan Li Yuan o 2.10 Da Fei Ji o 2.11 Qian Lie Xie 3 Official response 4 Wei Guangzheng 5 See also 6 Further reading 7 References
Main article: Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China Arising in early 2009, the meme initially began as a series of vandalised contributions to Baidu Baike, through the creation of humorous articles describing a series of fictional creatures, with each animal with names vaguely referring to Chinese profanities (utilizing homophones and characters using different tones). Eventually, images, videos (such as faux-documentaries) and even a song regarding aspects of the meme were released. It was thought that the Baidu hoaxes were written in response to recent strict enforcements of keyword filters in China, introduced in 2009, which attempted to eliminated all
forms of profanity. The Baidu Baike "articles" initially began with "Four Mythical Creatures" (The "Grass Mud Horse", "French-Croatian Squid", "Small Elegant Butterfly" and "Chrysanthemum Silkworms"), and were later extended to ten. The memes became widely discussed on Chinese Internet forums, most netizens concluded that the initial aim of the hoaxes were to satirise and ridicule the pointlessness of the new keyword filters. The meme is interpreted by most Chinese online as a form of direct protest rather than motiveless intentional disruption to Baidu services. After the hoaxes were posted, news of the articles spread quickly online on joke websites, popular web portals and forumss such as Baidu Tieba, while a large number of posts were sent on the Tencent QQ Groups chat service. There have also been various parodies of the meme created (such as the "Baidu 10 Legendary Weapons" and "Baidu 10 Secret Delicacies"). Meme references can be found throughout Chinese websites.
The 10 Mythical Creatures
The mythical creatures have names which are innocuous in written Chinese, but sound similar to and recognisable as profanities when spoken. References to the creatures, particularly the Grass Mud Horse, are widely used as symbolic defiance of the widespread Internet censorship in China; censorship itself is symbolized by the river crab, a homophone of "harmony" (a euphemism for censorship in reference to the Harmonious Society).
CNM Grass Mud Horse
A depiction of a "Cao Ni Horse".
C N M literally "Grass Mud Horse", was supposedly a species of alpaca. The name is derived from cà nǐ mā, which translates to "fxxk your mother". Note o that the comparison with the "animal" name is not an actual homophone, but rather the two terms have the same consonants and vowels with different tones, which are represented by different characters. Their greatest enemy are "river crabs" (resembles hé meaning "harmony", referring to government xié censorship to create a "harmonious society", while noting that river crabs are depicted wearing three wristwatches, vaguely referring to the Three Represents, where "represent" and "to wear a watch" are homophones), and are said to be frequently seen in combat against these crabs. Videos of songs, as well as "documentaries" about "Grass Mud Horse" started appearing on Youtube and elsewhere on the internet. The video scored some 1.4 million hits; a cartoon attracted a quarter million more views; a nature documentary on its habits received 180,000 more. The "Grass Mud Horse" became widely known on the English-language web following...