'Feed people smog' becomes new buzzword in China as severe air pollution turns Shanghai, the 'demon capital' of China into 'smog capital'


Chinese Society  Updated:Sun, Dec 8, 2013 22:15 PM   By Bernd Chang


'Feed people smog', a homophone for the Chinese political jargon 'serve the people', has gone viral on Chinese social media, as heavy smog engulfed Shanghai and surrounding provinces.

Shanghai, China’s financial hub dubbed as Demon Capital of China by Chinese netizens, appears determined to compete with Beijing, China’s political epicenter dubbed as Imperial Capital of China, on every aspect, including pollution.

Cityscapes shrouded in thick smog have apparently become a common scene in China. So far, Beijing's 'airpocalypse' is more famous worldwide. But this week,  pollution in Shanghai has caught up with the worst levels Beijing has ever recorded.

Starting from Thursday, the smog shrouding Shanghai and nearby provinces has rapidly deteriorated and PM2.5 readings kept going upward from previously 200 micrograms per cubic meter to as high as 700 at some air quality monitoring stations.

As of 1:00 Friday afternoon, the average PM2.5 reading in Shanghai reached off-the-charts level of 602.5; the PM10 reading reached 671.0 with the highest reading recorded 726 in Putuo district.

The level of PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, above 300 is considered hazardous by Chinese standard, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

The air quality in surrounding provinces is not better with visibility being less than 200 meters in the entire Jiangsu province and even less than 50 meters in some areas of central and east China on Saturday. Jiangsu province was forced to shut down all express ways.

Not surprisingly, the frequently occurring heavy smog in China has sparked outrage and debate among Chinese netizens. But in the country where ordinary people actually have no say in the administration of the nation, they can do nothing except criticizing, mocking, sighing on the internet without getting a response from the authority.

Alongside the record severe pollution in Shanghai, a new buzzword has gone viral: Feed People Smog, or feed the people smog, which also shows the power of Chinese language, as many netizens hail.

Feed people smog, or 喂人民服雾 with the Pinyin wei ren min fu wu, is a homophone for the Chinese political jargon Serve The People, or 为人民服务 , a political slogan introduced by Mao Zedong as a requirement for all government officials and party cadres.

The new catchword "Feed People Smog" first appeared in the below comment which has been reposted or favored for many and many times on Chinese news portals and social media.

Currently many netizens are discussing a Chinese name for PM2.5. Some propose serious names such as "public smog source" (公雾源, a homophone to civil servants 公务员), high-end name as "capital dust" or "Beijing dust" (京尘), hegemonic name as dust-caused disease misses sweat (尘疾思汗, a homophone to Genghis Khan 成吉思汗), optimistic name as "dust world is beautiful" (尘世美, a homophone to the ancient Chinese heartbreaker Chen Shimei 陈世美), and entertaining name as "keep inhaling dust" (尘惯吸, a homophone to the Hong Kong actor Edison Chan 陈冠希). But all the names are just so-so in my opinion. I did not understand the power of Chinese language until the five characters came into my view: "Feed the people smog"!

Besides the above one, cynical Chinese netizens have brought more sarcastic comments:

A NetEase netizen from Shanghai: What the Japanese 731 army did not achieve, has been all realized! Feed the people smog!

NetEase netizen 天一的天天下第一的一: A special scenery. Shanghai shall repackage and promote it and the property prices will be doubled soon.

NetEase netizen  billlee2013 :  The atmosphere is good. Shanghai deserves its nickname Demon Capital.

A NetEase netizen from Shenzhen, Guangdong: Good phenomenon! Smog can enhance the body immune system of Shanghai residents.

[Images via NetEase.com]

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