The character of President Xi's surname, 习, has the meaning of "to learn" and "to practice". It's used in words like 学习 (to study), 复习 (to review), or 演习(military exercise). Say I posted "I have to prepare for an exam" on Weibo, because of this character, the post would be hidden from public tl. And following Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China is conducting some military drills. On Weibo trending topics, all the words for military exercise "演习" were changed to "演训", which is a word nobody uses.


This level of naming taboo was only enforced in Imperial China. Say an Emperor's name has the character of A, all his siblings who share the character in their names have to change their names with another character to avoid using the emperor's name. And all the common words or names of places have to change the character too. It's like because "Voldemort“ is a taboo, Volvo Cars has too be renamed to "Rolvo Cars" or something. And it's 2022 can you believe it?

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@jsddz Might be the cultural difference… But isn’t it kind of embarrassing to lift himself up to that kind of throne? Isn’t it like saying: „Worship me like our ancestors worshipped the legendary emperors!“

@gunchleoc @jsddz Sure. For us western folks it would be taken as a hoax of course. But I wonder how it’s taken by the public. That’s a whole different world. Culturally and in many other ways.

@MeToubson @jsddz We'd like to think so, but when I look at my home country in the 1930's (Germany), there was some serious worship and misappropriation of cultural legends going on there. So, yes, different cultures when you look at the details, but the same basic mechanisms used for duping & controlling the population.

@gunchleoc @jsddz same mechanism, but different buttons. Hitler got in trough hope and did good things for the majority of people. Here it’s the foundation of a totalitarian system. The whole culture is build on obedience to their rulers. (Please correct me, if I’m wrong)

@MeToubson @jsddz You can delete the "did good things for the majority of people" bit - that's part of the propaganda. Fascism is never good for the majority of people. Apart from the obvious genocial atrocities, freedom of speech was gone, adolescents were forced to join the Hitler Jugend /BDM, millions of soldiers lost their lives. We also lost the Jewish humor that was an important part of our cultural works. A few shiny Autobahns aren't worth all of that.

@MeToubson @jsddz They did a few bits for the economy at the beginning and that's all she wrote.

@MeToubson Exactly, that's just one example of many things that he does and we call "reversing" to a level that nobody understands.

@jsddz just out of curiosity… You surely know better then me. If someone would want to „reverse“ things to become an emperor. Would it need to be done in such a „strict“ and painful way? I mean weren’t there kinder and softer rulers back in time?

@MeToubson I think that's a very romantic way of thinking. There sure were kind ones on the throne back in time, but it doesn't change what makes dictatorship dictatorship. This is the mechanism you and @gunchleoc talked about. I think we also need to link this with the Information Age. Because information spreads so fast thru the internet, he has to take these extreme actions. Also within the party, surely there are rivals watching. He must act strict and tough to keep the crown.

@gunchleoc @jsddz that makes a lot of sense. But I still wonder how it’s possible that most people remain silent though that’s a massive surpression of freedom.

@MeToubson @gunchleoc going on street is impossible, even just posting something on social media would lead to the police knocking on our doors. And then all you can see on social media is those nationalist comments since all the dissidents’ accounts are deleted by the platform. I guess safety is our first concern, including our family’s safety and jobs. And then I guess you just get used to this hopeless situation cuz there’s nothing you can do.

@jsddz @MeToubson Another trick is to erode freedoms bit by bit, so each separate tiny step doesn't hurt that much. And look at Brexit: People voted for it because they though it would bring them more power/freedoms/respect/economic benefits. What it has done so far is the exact opposite, but it has become an ideology, so it's very hard to reverse. And of course, not caring whether you tell the truth or lie can also be effective - just tell the lie often enough.

@jsddz @gunchleoc except doing it like the French 1789 -1799… or in the words of Alice in Wonderland‘s Heart-Queen: „Off with their heads!“ (Joke!!?)

@jsddz @gunchleoc But leaves the question, what’s coming after that? The Dynasty changed into a republic. But the structure/ power dynamics remained almost the same…

@MeToubson @gunchleoc we’ve had democratic movements in the 80s and very sadly they failed. It would be very hard to challenge the totalitarian regime in this era but people are not completely silent. I don’t know what’s coming after but I guess nobody knew before things actually happened. We just struggle and try to speak up. Also, the economy is not looking good. Birth rate is decreasing. When they can’t solve the domestic issues, they would target the US, but people are not buying it anymore.

@gunchleoc @jsddz that at least leaves a little bit of hope. 非常感谢 for taking time explaining. Your insights are very interesting and helpful to understand what’s happening, for us outsiders.

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