The glossary details terminology related to Hong Kong’s 2019-2020 anti-extradition law movement.

Methodology and sourcing – click to view

The glossary consists of a list of Chinese terms or short phrases extracted from Telegram channels relating to the social movement. It includes frequently used hashtags and what the research team considered as important for contextual background for other researchers who have little knowledge about the movement and the local language. The terms are translated into English and categorised according to their nature. 


1. Nicknames for protesters

General

#手足

Literally meaning “hands and feet”, it actually means comrade in Chinese? (Mandarin?). Protesters and pro-movement citizens use this term to refer to fellow protesters.

#義士

A righteous person. It shares a similar meaning with “手足”, but often refers to those who have made sacrifices. For example, Leung Ling-kit (梁凌杰), the activist who advocated for the extradition amendment bill before falling to his death on 15 June 2019, is referred to as “梁凌杰義士”  or  “梁義士”, with only his surname.

Inter-generational

#寶寶

Affectionate term for babies. It refers to young protesters, who are considered to be the “beloved babies” by middle-aged protesters.

#仔女

Sons and daughters, carrying the same meaning as “寶寶”.

#絲打 #巴打

Coined in the popular Hong Kong discussion forum HKGolden, these two Cantonese terms were created to imitate the pronunciation of “sis-ter” and “bro-ther” respectively. They are used by protesters to refer to their fellows of the two genders.

#家長

Parents. It refers to middle-aged protesters who often offer logistical support — like money, supplies, or even shelter — to younger protesters.

#銀髮族

The “silver-hair” gang. It refers to elderly protesters.

Roles

#和理非

An abbreviation of “和平” (peaceful), “理性” (rational), “非暴力” (non-violence). It refers to protesters who embrace these three principles. It first appeared as a pejorative term during the 2014 Umbrella Movement to mock peaceful protesters. It has now become a neutral term.

#鍵盤戰士

Keyboard warriors. It first appeared in early 2010’s in the Hong Kong online community as a pejorative term to refer to people who criticize from their computers keyboards without taking any concrete action. It has now become a more neutral term to mean protesters who have contributed to the movement online, like taking part in promotion campaigns, signing petitions for international sanctions, making complaints to various government departments, or paying taxes dollar by dollar, etc.

#勇武

The valiant. It refers to front line protesters who confront the police. Most of them followed black bloc tactics, dressing in all black protective gear.

#後勤 #物資

Logistics, or protesters who provide logistical support and deliver supplies (物資) to the front line, especially during a stand-offs between the police and protesters.

#前線

The front line or front line protesters who engage in fights with the police.

#哨兵

Scouts. Protesters who collect intelligence about police movement around protest sites.

#XX師

The Chinese character “師” means a professional practitioner. When playing multiplayer online role-playing video games, players have to choose their profession (like warrior or magician) and play the roles of different types of “師”. As many younger protesters compared the protests to these video games, they named protesters as different types of “師” by their roles.

#魔法師

“魔法師”, literally meaning magicians, refers to protesters who fight against the police in various ways. For example, “火魔法師”, fire magicians, are those who throw petrol bombs at the police.

#結界師

Those who set up barricades (結界) to prevent the police from charging at protesters.

#斬妖師

The demon (妖) “choppers” or hunters. First appeared after Junius Ho, the pro-government and pro-China law-maker accused of hiring thugs to attack protesters and citizens in the Yuen Long district on July 21, 2019, was attacked by someone with a knife. As Ho was nicknamed as “何妖” (Ho the Devil), this inspired protesters to create this new role, calling for people to organise and attack top government officials and pro-China or pro-government figures.

#藍屍 or #藍絲 #黃屍 or #黃絲

“藍絲” (Blue ribbon) and “黃絲” (Yellow ribbon) refer to citizens from the pro-government/pro-China camp and the pro-democracy/pro-movement camp respectively. This categorization first appeared in the 2014 Umbrella Movement, when people wore colored ribbons or used such symbols on social media to show their political views. Sometimes, “絲” (ribbon) is replaced by its Cantonese homophone “屍” (corpse, or zombie), which carries pejorative connotations.

#港豬

Hong Kong Pig. It is used to describe citizens who are politically apathetic and only care about food, like pigs.

2. Casualties

#陳彥霖

陳彥霖 (Chan Yinlam) was a 15-year-old girl. Her naked corpse was found floating in the sea on September 19, 2019 . The police said she committed suicide after a preliminary investigation. As she was found to be an active participant of the democracy movement and a strong swimmer, her death has become part of the conspiracy that alleged the Hong Kong government murdered protesters then covered it up by claiming they committed suicide.

#周梓樂

周梓樂 (Chow Tsz-lok) was a university student who died from head injuries after his fall from a car park near a protest site. Reports showed that his hospitalization was delayed by the police. Alleged clues suggested that he was pushed by police officers when serving as a scout and this is generally believed by the protesters.

3. Icons

#Pepe

Pepe the Frog, the internet cartoon meme character first appeared in the US online community. Hong Kong protesters appropriated it for designing stickers and posters. Unlike in the US, this icon does not carry the idea of racism in Hong Kong. See also this link.

#連豬 #連狗

Meaning LIHKG Pig (or LiPIG) and LIHKG Dog (LiDog) respectively, they are the names of the two common icons on LIHKG, a Reddit-like forum in Hong Kong for protesters.

LiPIG

LiDog

#米豬連

LiPIG Pick is an icon with a LiPIG figure. It was made up to imitate the Cantonese pronunciation of Michelin, the famous food guide, to identify restaurants who support the movement.

Other

#暴大

The abbreviation of the Chinese term “暴徒 (rioters) 大學 (university)”. It actually refers to the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), as it was once marked as the “Rioters University” on Google Map in June, 2019, possibly because CUHK students are well known for their activism. However, students of the university took it as a compliment rather than a pejorative term.

#國難 #國難五金 #國難忠醫 #國難年宵

“國難” literally means “national crises”. Chinese people often associated it with the term “發國難財”, profit from national crises. However, it was appropriated by protesters to mean people or organizations who offer logistical support during the movement. For example, “國難五金” is a hardware store selling cheap protective gear to protesters, “國難忠醫” is a group of Chinese medicine practitioners who treated protesters afraid of being caught while seeking medical help in public hospitals, and “國難年宵” refers to a series of Lunar New Year fairs organized by pro-movement citizens to discourage people from shopping at government-organized ones.

#人血饅頭

Meaning “human-blood-steamed bun,” it first appeared in a novel written by the famous Chinese novelist and critic Lu Xun in 1919. In the novel, people did not appreciate the sacrifice of revolutionaries and instead used their blood to make buns, ignorantly believing eating them can cure tuberculosis. Since then, people who take advantage of others’ sacrifice have been called “eating human blood steamed bun”.

4. Slogans

Guiding principles

#光復香港 時代革命

Usually translated as “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our time”, the slogan was first used by Edward Leung Tin-Kei (梁天琦), the spokesperson of the pro-Hong Kong Independence party, Hong Kong Indigenous, in the 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council by-election. Indeed, “liberate” may not be a very accurate translation of the Chinese term “光復”, which literally means “restoring the light” or “restoring the glorious past”. Guang Fu Hui, one of the three major revolutionary organizations against the Manchurian-led Qing Dynasty, used the phrase “光復漢族” (restore the rule of a Han majority), as one of its mottoes. After protesters adopted this slogan in late July 2019, both the Chinese and the Hong Kong government condemned the protesters of inciting revolution and challenging state sovereignty.

#五大訴求 缺一不可

Five demands, not one less. The five demands were as follows:

(1) full withdrawal of the extradition bill,
(2) retracting the characterization of the protests as riots,
(3) amnesty for all arrested protesters,
(4) universal suffrage for the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council, and
(5) an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality.

The first two demands, alongside two other demands: that Carrie Lam steps down and for the release of all injured student protesters, were first shown on a placard displayed by Leung Ling-kit (梁凌杰) before he fell to his death on 15 June 2019. The Civic Human Rights Front took on his idea, turning “release all injured student protesters” to “discharge all arrested protesters” and added a fifth demand, formulating the first version of the “five demands”. On 1 July 2019, some protesters stormed into the Legislative Council Complex and replace “Carrie Lam steps down” with a call for universal suffrage in their declaration. This then became widely adopted by other protesters as the new version of the five demands.

#攬炒

Perish together, mutual destruction, or “If we burn you burn with us”, a quote borrowed from the movie The Hunger Games. The “you” in the quote refers to China. It is a common Cantonese slang originating from the Chinese poker card game Big 2. When a player is about to win by playing all his cards while another player holds many, the loser will try to stop other players from playing their cards to avoid losing double or triple (“炒”) the amount. The characters “攬炒” means to “炒” together.

Protesters adopted a similar strategy as they believed Hong Kong is useful to China and their ruling class. If they want to destroy Hong Kong, they should share in its fate. It likely became popular after a LIHKG user announced “我要攬炒” (I want to perish together) on the forum. The user has also proposed strategies inspired by this mindset since mid June 2019 which were welcomed by many protesters. For example, he proposed that activists demand Western countries to revoke the citizenship of top Hong Kong government officials. These strategies later evolved into the protesters’ campaign calling for international sanctions.

Slogans about the Hong Kong Police Force

#五大訴求+1 #解散警隊

Five demands plus one. The additional demand is to disband the police, or “解散警隊” in Chinese, as protesters believed an independent commission of inquiry is not enough to rebuild the police force.

#721唔見人 #831打死人 #101 槍殺人

These slogans are allegations of Hong Kong police force misconduct on the following respective dates.

Not showing up on July 21, 2019: Thugs believed to be hired by the pro-government camp attacked protesters and other passengers in the Yuen Long train station on that date. Despite thousands of reports being made to the emergency hotline for more than 30 minutes, police did not arrive.

Beating people to death on August 31, 2019: Police attacked protesters and other passengers in the Prince Edward metro station, and it is alleged that some were beaten to death.

Shooting people to death on October 1, 2019: A police officer shot a 18-year-old protester at very close range. The protester survived after being hospitalized.

#好仔唔當差 當差正仆街

Good men will not join the police force and those joining it must be assholes. A popular saying in Hong Kong in the 1960s during which the police force was highly corrupt.

#黑警死全家

Black (meaning corrupt) cops, may your whole family die. In fact, “死全家” (may your whole family die) is a popular curse in Cantonese. You can address the curse to anyone by adding the subject in front of the three characters.

#三萬thx!

(Death of) 30 thousand (policemen), thanks! It is an appropriation of the phrase “two boxes, thanks”, which was used by netizens in Hong Kong for buying or reserving face mask in Facebook during the early outbreak of the coronavirus. It essentially means “may all cops die” as the Hong Kong police force is around 30 thousand.

#香港警察 知法犯法

Hong Kong police know the laws but break it. “知法犯法” (know the laws but break it) is a Chinese idiom to criticize office bearers for misconduct.

Slogans about the Chinese Communist Party

#天滅中共

Heaven will annihilate the Chinese Communist Party. In traditional Chinese culture, “天” (commonly translated as heaven) is a personal god that rules the world while emperors were considered as the son of the heaven with the mandate to rule. The slogan became widespread as practitioners of Falun Gong (a religious practice banned in China) in Hong Kong used it to condemn the Chinese Communist Party since the 2000’s.

#全黨死清光

May all (Chinese Communist) party members die, a quote from a viral video in Hong Kong dating back to 2013, in which a seemingly mentally-ill old man shouted this quote to curse the Chinese Communist Party publicly. During the movement, protesters sarcastically said he was a prophet and adopted his curse. See here, from 0:33-0.34 minutes.

Slogans forging solidarity

#齊上齊落 #一個都不能少

Meaning “going up and down together” and “not one protester less” respectively. Both slogans remind protesters that no one should be left behind, especially at protest sites.

#不篤灰 #不割蓆 #不分化 #核爆都唔割

The first three slogans translate to “no snitching”, “no severing of ties”, and “no fomenting of splits” respectively. “核爆都唔割”, meaning no severing of ties (with protesters) even if they detonate a nuclear bomb, is an exaggerated version of “不割蓆”.

#和勇不分 #和勇同心 #和勇一家

“和” and “勇” as explained above refer to “peaceful” and “valiant” protesters. “和勇不分”, “和勇同心”, and “和勇一家” mean, “no differentiation between peaceful and valiant protesters”, “peaceful and valiant protesters share the same mind”, and “peaceful and valiant protesters are of the same family” respectively. These slogans are to remind protesters and pro-movement citizens embracing different protest strategies to be united, to avoid a reoccurrence of what happened towards the end of the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

#兄弟爬山 各自努力

Translated as “brothers climb mountains together, but by their own efforts”, it means that peaceful and valiant protesters are like brothers. Although they climb the mountain by their own efforts and their own ways, they share the same goal and have to each exert their own efforts.

#手足唔係condom

Comrades are not condoms. Protesters created this slogan to remind their fellows and pro-movement citizens that protesters, especially those who are imprisoned ones, should not be abandoned after a single use like condom, but rather need continuous support and care.

#勿捉鬼

Literally translates to “no catching of ghosts”, it actually means say no to McCarthyism. “鬼” (ghost) in Cantonese also means traitors. It is to remind protesters not to be oversuspicious, as many valiant protesters alleged that they were accused by other protesters to be police at protest sites, accidentally exposing their identities.

Slogans to boost morale

#願榮光歸香港

Literally translated as “may glory return to Hong Kong”, it is the name of a Cantonese march composed and written by an anonymous pro-movement musician during the protests. It became so popular that protesters generally regard it as the anthem of the protests, or even Hong Kong’s national anthem. The phrase also forms the last line of the song. See here.

#自己香港自己救

Save our Hong Kong by ourselves. It is an appropriation of the common Taiwanese social movement slogan “自己國家自己救” (save our country by ourselves). It first appeared during the annual July 1 march in 2014.

#不撤不散

No retreat or dismissal. It is to remind protesters they should not give up before reaching their goals.

#香港人加油 #香港人反抗 #香港人報仇

Three messages dedicated to Hong Kong people, or “香港人”. “加油”, literally translates to “add oil”, is a common phrase of encouragement in Cantonese. “反抗” means “to resist” and “報仇” means “to exact revenge”.

#煲底見

See you beneath “the pot”, a nickname for the sheltered protest area in front of the Legislative Council complex, which is shaped like a pot. Protesters believe that they could eventually win the war and everyone can celebrate freely with their comrades at the site without wearing masks or other protective equipment. Protesters use this slogan to encourage their fellows.

#毋忘初心

Do not forget your original intention. It also serves to encourage protesters like “煲底見” when they feel lost or down.

Slogans on political views

#黃藍是政見 黑白是良知

Yellow or blue is a matter of political opinion, but black or white is a question of conscience. As explained above, the two colors represent the two camps of the movement. It is to question government supporters who blindly support the Hong Kong government without noticing the facts, which are as clear as black and white.

#人一藍 腦便殘

Once you turn blue, you will become mentally retarded. Protesters and pro-movement citizens use this slogan to tease government supporters (blue ribbons) for a lack of analytical ability and blindly listening to what the Hong Kong government says.

#沒有暴徒只有暴政

There are no rioters, just tyranny. Protesters used this slogan to counter the Hong Kong government’s claim that they were rioters.

#是你教我和平示威沒有用的

It was you who taught me that peaceful marches are useless. This slogan was first left by protesters who stormed into the Legislative Council Complex on July 1, 2019 to criticize the Hong Kong government for not being responsive to past peaceful protests, leading to their extreme actions.

#香港曱甴 時代垃圾

Hong Kong cockroaches, Trash of the time. It is a parody of “光復香港 時代革命” (liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our time) coined by pro-government citizens.

5. Mobilization, Consumerism, Action and Communication

Mobilization

#集氣 #全球集氣 #海外集氣

“集氣”, literally translated as “collecting gas”, is a term derived from the Japanese comics DRAGON BALL, meaning collecting the support or energy from people to get things done, or to hope for something to happen by making a wish collectively. For example, some middle-aged female pro-movement citizens organized “集氣大會”, or gas collection assemblies, to show support for their sons and daughters. “全球” means “global”, while “海外” means overseas. “全球集氣” or “海外集氣” are campaigns or actions from abroad showing solidarity with Hong Kong protests.

#已獲不反 #有不反

“不反” is the abbreviation of “不反對通知書” (letter of no objection). It is a document issued by the Hong Kong police to authorized public assemblies and protests, which is a colonial legacy. Protest organizers will announce that they have obtained the letter (“已獲不反” or “有不反”) to attract peaceful protesters.

#吹雞

Literally translated as “to blow the chicken”, it means blowing the whistle to summon fellow protesters, as chicken in Cantonese also means whistle. It normally appeared in posters or internet forum for mobilization of a particular event or campaign.

#要人

Need people, the same as “吹雞”.

Consumerism

#黃色經濟圈

Yellow Economic Circle. A consumer campaign calling for pro-movement citizens to purchase goods and services from businesses owned by supporters of the movement and to boycott pwned by those against it. Numerous social media sites and mobile phone applications have been developed to help people identify businesses which support or oppose the movement.

#良心經濟圈

Conscientious Economic Circle, same as Yellow Economic Circle

#黃店 #藍店 #白店

“店” means shop. Adding the prefix “黃” (yellow) indicates that shop supports the movement, and vice versa for “藍” (blue). Those indicated by “白” (white) are those that can not be classified, possibly because of a lack of evidence.

#黑心集團

“黑心集團”, literally translates to the “black-hearted” company, is the nickname of the food and beverage company Maxim’s Caterers Limited (美心集團, which literally translates to “beautiful-hearted” company). Protesters coined this nickname by turning its first character “美”(beautiful) to “黑” (black) for sarcasm after Annie Wu, the eldest daughter of the company founder, repeatedly criticized protesters in various Chinese media outlets.

#裝修 #黑裝修,紅裝飾,藍罷買,黃幫襯 (黃懲罰)

“Renovate” actually means vandalize in the Hong Kong protests. First, protesters vandalized all premises of businesses opposing the movement, such as restaurants owned or run by or franchised by Maxim’s Caterers Limited to show their anger. Later on, they developed a scheme to reduce unnecessary vandalism and to better match the source of their discontent. “黑裝修”, to “renovate” (read: vandalize) those in “black”, like government offices, and Best Mart 360, a snack store run by a Fujianese businessman, who was accused of having ties to the “Fujian gangs” that attacked protesters; “紅裝飾”, to “decorate” (i.e. by posting labels, locking the door, and other milder forms of destruction, etc.) those in “red”, like premises of Maxim’s or other state-owned businesses; “藍罷買”, to boycott those in “blue”; and “黃懲罰” or “黃幫襯”, to punish through spending choices or to consume at “yellow” goods.

Action

#和你 – 飛/Lunch/塞/寫/拖/唱/shop/寄/投/宵/返工/行/跑/讀/影/摺/傾/砌

“和你”, meaning “with you”, is a made-up prefix by protesters for describing campaigns or actions that peaceful protesters can join, as “和” itself also mean peaceful and “with you” gives a strong sense of solidarity. The first action with “和你” was “和你飛” (“to fly with you”, named so to imitate the Cantonese pronunciation of “和理非”) on July 26, 2019, on which practitioners of the aviation industry went on strike and occupied the Hong Kong International Airport along with thousands of citizens. Since then, protesters started to name actions or campaigns using this prefix. For example, “和你lunch” means going out from office to protest during lunchtime. And “和你塞” means to block (塞) the metro from running or to block the city’s main highways.

#遍地開花

Blossoms everywhere. It is a Chinese idiom which means something good is happening or developing everywhere. In the Hong Kong protests, it was a strategy used to initiate confrontations in as many areas as possible, often in a hit-and-run manner, so as to exhaust and divert the police’s attention.

#三罷

The three suspensions. Three strategies with the Chinese character “罷” (suspensions): to strike (罷工), to class boycott (罷課), and for shipowners to stop running their businesses (罷市). Protesters called for these three suspensions on November 11, 2019, in an attempt to force the government into responding to their demands.

#獅鳥#鶳#私了

“私了” means “to settle behind closed doors”, notably without the involvement of the higher or public authority. There were several alleged incidents where pro-movement citizens were attacked by pro-government citizens and the police did not show up or failed to catch the perpetrators. As a result, some pro-movement citizens proposed to defend themselves by using necessary force or even by summoning their fellows. The term “獅鳥” (literally translated as Lion-bird), which pronounces the same as “私了” in Cantonese, was thus coined. When protesters were under attack, they would call their “guardian animal” (“獅鳥”), meaning using physical force to protect themselves or fight back. Sometimes, people will use the obsolete Chinese character “鶳” to replace “獅鳥” in text communication, as this character incorporates the two characters “獅” and “鳥”.

#罷鷲

Literally translates to “boycott condor”, a made-up guardian animal (“獅鳥”, see above). Protesters used this term as an operation code when they marched at shopping malls to ask people to boycott blue shops or to stop them from operating, saying that they were summoning their “guardian animals”.

#香港停擺日 #黎明行動 #晨曦行動 #破曉行動 #曙光行動 #旭日行動 #OperationDawn

“香港停擺日”, translated as “the day that Hong Kong stood still”, was the campaign which called for the city to stop running from 11 November 2019, either by the three suspensions or their obstruction through various mean, such as road blockage, obstructing the metro to run, drivers driving slowly to congest the traffic.  They used five Chinese terms, “黎明”, “晨曦”, “破曉”, “曙光” , and “旭日”, all meaning dawn to describe the daily protests or operations (“行動”). The five terms were used to refer the operations that ran from the early mornings of Monday to Friday respectively. In English, they are all named “Operation Dawn”, or accompanied wit “1.0” to “5.0” to denote the weekday in question.

#香港之路 The Hong Kong Way

The Hong Kong Way (香港之路) was a peaceful political campaign held on August 23, 2019. Inspired by the Baltic Way demonstration of 1989, thousands of Hong Kong people joined hands to create a human chain that ran 50 kilometres along three main metro lines and over the top of Lion Rock, a mountain in Hong Kong which carries a strong cultural symbol of solidarity. The goal of the campaign was to draw people’s attention to the movement and to show the solidarity between pro-movement citizens.

#發夢

Dreaming. Protesters would sometimes share their experiences of the protests on the internet. However, to disguise scenes that violated the law, they would say they were just sharing what had happened in a dream.

#散水

Literally means “to disperse like water”, it is a Cantonese slang meaning to dismiss or to end. Protesters and citizens who supported the movement used this term to ask their fellows to disperse, possibly because the police was about to take action or encircle a protest site.

#接放學

Picking kids up after school. At times when public transport was shut down during protests because the protests lasted until midnight, “parents” (middle-aged pro-movement citizens) would come to pick their “kids” (young protesters) and drive them home.

#be water

A quote from Bruce Lee, the famous martial arts movie star from Hong Kong. It is used to remind protesters they have to learn a lesson from the 2014 Umbrella Movement, and to be as flexible as water. In other words, it encourages protesters to use a “hit and run” strategy instead of occupying or staying at an area for a sustained period, so as to exhaust the police.

#魚蛋革命

The Fish ball Revolution. This is how the pro-independence protesters refer to the 2016 Mong Kok civil unrest. On February 8, 2016, the Hong Kong government tried to crackdown on unlicensed street hawkers selling street food, including fish balls. This lead to violent clashes between police and protesters.

#十點鳩叫

Fucking shout at 10 p.m. Proposed by some LIHKG forum users in late August 2019, it asked pro-movement citizens to open their windows to shout different slogans  at 10 p.m. every night to show their support for the movement.

#以武制暴

To stop tyranny by force. As peaceful protests were not effective, protesters started to believe they had to use physical force in order to stop the Hong Kong government.

#靜靜雞

Literally translates to “quiet chicken”, it is a Cantonese slang to describe doing something secretly without being noticed. Protesters used this to remind their fellows to keep silent and not to reveal any details of their illegal actions.

Communications

#連儂牆

The Lennon Wall. Like the one set up in Prague during communist rule, Lennon Walls in Hong Kong refer to places where people could write and display encouraging messages to their fellows on colourful post-it notes. These first appeared during the 2014 Umbrella Movement on a wall of the Central Government Complex. They reappeared during the recent movement at more than 100 locations across Hong Kong, including at transport interchanges, housing estates, secondary schools, universities, “yellow shops”, etc. But, unlike the one in 2014, they also served as educational sites and information hubs for the general public, with poster showcasing police brutality, government wrongdoing, or news that would be shown in the allegedly pro-government free television channel, TVB. There were also Lennon Wall installations across the world, showing support to the Hong Kong protests. See also this.

#長輩圖

Posters for the elderly. They refer to posters that can easily go viral on digital communication platforms between the elderly. They are usually made with very big font sizes, simple backgrounds, and messages closely related to an elderly lifestyle (i.e. sending good wishes, spreading friendly messages, tips for health, etc.). This style of posters is usually despised by Hong Kong’s younger generation, but to gain the support of the elderly, protesters tried to design posters in this format and posted them to Lennon Wall to gain their attention.

#認同請分享

Share if you agree, a common phrase appearing on “長輩圖” posters. Protesters added this phrase deliberately to better imitate this style.

#撕紙狗

A dog that tears paper. It refers to people who tore off posters from the Lennon Wall.

#撕一貼百

If you tear off one (poster), I will post one hundred (posters) more. Commonly appearing on posters on Lennon Walls, it served to warn pro-government citizens not to tear off posters.

# G Chi

Having a similar pronunciation of “支持” (support) in Cantonese, netizens in Hong Kong use it to replace the word support when they are too lazy to type its Chinese counterpart.

#公海

The high seas, a metaphor for public discussion groups on mobile communication applications. As police may infiltrate these public groups, the administrator would repeatedly remind protesters they are on the “high seas,” and should avoid leaking sensitive information or discussing matters that may violate the law.

#剪報體

Newspaper cutting format. It refers to a style of poster which simulates newspapers, notably printed in black and white for mass production and with clear fonts and short titles for easier reading.

#已fc #已Fact Check

Both meaning “fact-checked already” (fc being an acronym for fact-checked). Pro-movement citizens added this hashtag to their messages to indicate authenticity. However, critics say that the labels have been abused, which helps the spreading of disinformation and/or misinformation.

#手動轉

Share by copy and paste. If pro-movement citizens want to protect the information source or they agree with a message, they will copy and paste the message instead of using the forwarding or sharing function to spread the original message on social media platforms.

連登

LIHKG or “連登” is a Reddit-like Hong Kong forum. It serves as a platform for protesters to discuss strategies during the movement. See also this.

6. The Hong Kong Government, the Chinese Communist Party, Supporters of the Hong Kong government, and the Hong Kong Police Force

The Hong Kong Government, the Chinese Communist Party, and the Supporters of the Hong Kong government

#林奠 #柒婆 #777

These are pejorative nicknames of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam. In Chinese, Carrie Lam is often called “林鄭”, a combination of her married name “林”(Lam) and maiden name “鄭” (Cheng). Protesters called her “林奠” by dropping a radical from the Chinese character off her maiden name “鄭”. It serves as a death curse to her as “奠” means libation. She is also called “777” as she obtained this number of votes from the 1,194-member-appointed Election Committee of the Chief Execution Election in 2017. For the same reason, she is sometimes called “柒婆” (the old woman (婆) who is dorky or embarrasses herself), as “柒” also means seven.

#支那辦

A pejorative nickname for The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong, called “中聯辦” in short in Chinese. The pan-democrats have long accused the office of interfering with local politics, like coordinating election campaigns for pro-establishment candidates. Protesters thus replaced the term “中聯” by”支那”, a largely archaic name of China in Asia, which is perceived as derogatory by the Chinese after the second Sino-Japanese War during World War II.

#賀佢老母

Literally translates to “celebrate his old mother”, it was protester’s response to the National Day of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 2019. It actually means the opposite of celebrate (賀) as it imitates the Cantonese swearwords “屌佢老母”, meaning motherfucker or fuck his mother. By replacing the character “fuck” with “celebrate,” it is an insult to the day .

#Chinazi

A made-up word combining “China” and “Nazi”. Used by protesters to allege that atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party, not only in Hong Kong but also in Xinjiang and other Chinese territories, are comparable to those committed by the Nazis during World War II.

#小熊維尼 甴近平

Winnie the Pooh, the nickname for the leader of China, Xi Jinping. It became popular after Xi visited the US in 2013, during which an image of Xi walking alongside former US president Barack Obama spurred comparisons to that of a cartoon image of Winnie the Pooh (Xi) and Tigger (Obama).

#老解

The Old People’s Liberation Army. Chinese usually use the character “老” to convey familiarity. The army was thus called possibly because there were rumors during the movement that it would be dispatched to crackdown on protesters as they did during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

#共狗

Communist dogs, used to refer to supporters of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong. Calling someone a dog in Chinese culture also means they are lackeys or hired hugs.

#保皇黨

A party that protects the emperor. A derogatory nickname for the pro-establishment party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong, whose members are always accused of voting in favor of the Hong Kong government at the Legislative Council and defending the position of the government.

#賣港賊

The evil that betrays Hong Kong. It is used to refer to government officials or other pro-Chinese Communist Party figures.

#何妖

Ho the devil, the derogatory nickname for Junius Ho, the pro-government and pro-China lawmaker, who allegedly hired thugs to attack protesters and citizens in the Yuen Long district on July 21, 2019.

#肥媽

The fat mother, the nickname for the Portuguese-Chinese mixed race Hong Kong singer Maria Cordero who is a supporter of the Hong Kong government. To mock her, protesters remixed her speech delivered in a pro-government assembly into the melody of the song Chandelier (by Australian singer Sia) to compose the song “肥媽有話兒” (Fat mother has something to say) to criticize the Hong Kong police. It became viral and thus “肥媽” also served as the shortened name of the song. Click here for the song.

#黨鐵 #党鉄 #黨媒

“黨” or “党” are both Chinese characters meaning party. Protesters used them as prefixes for denoting companies or parties who are loyal to the Hong Kong government,and thus the Chinese Communist Party. For example, “黨鐵”, meaning the CCP’s railway, was the nickname for MTR, the city’s only metro company. They were accused of following Hong Kong government’s orders to close metro stations to stop protesters from rallying or retreating, and facilitating the deployment of police officers.

Hong Kong Police

#黑警 #克警 #POPO

All are derogatory nicknames for the Hong Kong police. “黑警”, literally translating to black cops, means black-hearted or corrupt cops, while “popo” comes from the song “FUCKTHEPOPO/屌狗” composed by the local rapper JB, which criticizes the police. Click here for song.

Sometimes, “克” (self-restrained) is used to replace “黑”. Both characters have the same Cantonese pronunciation, it is used to mock the Hong Kong police who repeatedly say they practice self-restraint but do the opposite in the eyes of protesters.

#黃色物體 #Yellow Object #綠色物體 #Green Object

The term “黃色物體” (meaning “Yellow Object”) became viral after a senior police officer suggested that a man wearing a yellow shirt who was caught being abused by police officers in a video, was merely a “yellow object”. To express their anger and to mock the police, protesters started to call police officers “綠色物體” (“Green Object”), as riot police wear green uniforms.

#曱甴 #曱甴屋 #曱甴車

“曱甴” (cockroach) was first used by some frontline police officers to label protesters. Later, protesters appropriated this term to mean the police, and used it as a prefix to describe anything related to them. For example, “曱甴車” means a police vehicle and “曱甴屋” means police living quarters.

#新屋嶺

“新屋嶺” (San Uk Ling) is the name of a detention centre where detained protesters are held. It is named after its location, a very remote area near the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China. Protesters have alleged that they have been physically bullied and sexually harassed by the police whilst in detention at the centre.

#狗 #犬隻 #狗私 #狗車 #狗屋 #狗出沒情報

Both “狗” or “犬隻” mean dogs. It is used to refer to the police, as dogs in Chinese cultural also means lackeys or hired hugs (see above). Thus, it is also used as a prefix to describe anything related to the police. For example, “狗私” means officers’ private vehicles, “狗車” means police vehicles, “狗屋” means police living quarters, and “狗出沒情報” means intelligence on police presence.

#殺人狗 #跟尾狗 #撚狗 #咬人

As police officers are referred to as dogs, different adjectives or verbs can be added in front of the Chinese character “狗”. For example, “殺人狗” means police the killer, “跟尾狗” means a police officer who is tracking someone, and “撚狗” means to verbally insult or provoke the police. “咬人”, which literally means biting people, means when the police is attacking or arresting someone.

#吠吠會 #狗招 #四點大話會 #警謊

The first three terms all mean press conferences held by the Hong Kong police. “狗招” and “吠吠會” literally mean the press conference of dogs and of the barking dogs respectively, while “四點大話會” means the “the meeting of lies at 4 o’clock”, as press conferences of the police are normally held at 4 p.m. “警謊” (the lying police) is also used to refer to the Hong Kong police as protesters allege that officers lied during press conferences.

#自由閪

“Freedom cunt.” The term appeared in a viral video which showed a police officer shouted it at protesters. However, it may be a mistaken interpretation of a common Cantonese swearword “豬閪” (literally “pig cunt”), which means stupid. The term became so popular that protesters take it as a compliment. Click here for video.

#毅進仔

A “YiJin Boy”. YiJin is a study program for high-school leavers and students who get bad grades to obtain a formal qualification for employment and further study. However, it is not well regarded as Hong Kong people take credentials very seriously. Because many junior grade police officers are graduates of the YiJin program, this is a derogatory term which labels them as low achievers who could only make a living by being the government’s lackeys.

#警黑合作

The police and gangsters cooperate. It is used to make allegations that the Hong Kong police are cooperating with gangsters. An example is the July 21 incident in 2019 when thugs attacked protesters and other passengers at the Yuen Long train station but no police showed up for more than 30 minutes, despite thousands of reports having been made to the emergency services.

#恐怖份子 #恐襲

The Hong Kong police is sometimes called “恐怖份子” (meaning “terrorist organisation”) as it was accused of attacking citizens and protesters indiscriminately and disproportionately. Police operations are sometimes also called “恐襲” (terrorist attacks).

#偽校巴

Fake school buses. Sometimes, police would disguise as pro-movement citizens who provide pick-up services for protesters (or the “school bus service”). These vehicles used by the police were known as fake school buses, and their plate registration numbers would be circulated on the internet.

#黑旗 #藍旗 #黃旗 #紅旗 #橙旗 #紫旗

These are the different colored flags (旗) used by the Hong Kong police to warn protesters:
Yellow (黃): Police cordon, do not cross.

Red (紅): Stop charging or we use force.

Black (黑): Warning — tear gas.

Orange (橙): Disperse or we fire.

Blue (藍): This meeting is in breach of the law

Purple (紫): This meeting is displaying seditious or secessionist intent which may be in breach of the national security law

#水炮藍

Water cannon blue. It refers to the color of the solution used by police riot control vehicles mounted with water cannons.

#顏色水

Colored water. It refers to the colored solution used by the police’s riot control vehicles mounted with water cannons.

#你咁樣係唔會令到我驚㗎

You will not scare me. On July 21, 2019, mobs attacked protesters and other passengers returning home through the Yuen Long train station. A police officer commanding a nearby district responded with this phrase when journalists asked why no police officers showed up during the attack and no arrests were made afterwards. See this video, starting from 2:50.

#記你老母

Reporter (記者), your mother. A police officer once shouted this at a reporter. “你老母” (your mother) is a common Cantonese swearword, while “屌你老母” means fuck your mother. It is a variation of the offensive phrase, with the f-word (屌) dropped. (See above)

#叫你個耶穌落嚟見我哋

Ask your Jesus Christ to come down and see us. A pastor alleged a police officer said this to him when the pastor advised the officer to give a warning before dispersing the crowd. Many Christians found this deeply offensive and demanded an apology from the police chief.

#被自殺 #被跳樓 #被跳海

The Chinese character “被” is used to describe a passive action. Protesters alleged that the police killed protesters and covered it up by saying they “committed suicide” (自殺), either by “jumping from a building” (跳樓) or “jumping into the sea” (跳海). By adding “被” in front of these claims, protesters are challenging the official police account of protester deaths.


HKFP provides support to the ANITELAB Research Data Archive – a project of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong. View the project website here. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.