The Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is an online glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions.
This project is part of our effort to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Internet’s cultural, social, and political impact by moving beyond anecdotal evidence and systematically documenting and interpreting political discourse created by Chinese netizens. By creating this lexicon, we hope to map out the dynamics of “domination and resistance” in Chinese communication and information networks. The aim is to vividly illustrate the increasingly dynamic and sometimes surprising presence of an alternative political discourse: images, frames, metaphors, and narratives that have been generated from Internet memes. This “resistance discourse” steadily undermines the values and ideology that reproduce compliance with the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian regime, and, as such, force an opening for free expression and civil society in China.
Is the Internet acting as a “safety valve” to prolong the life of the Chinese authoritarian regime, or are new forms of networked communication enhancing opportunities for social change and helping to move China toward the “threshold” for political transformation? We hope this project will contribute valuable information to this debate.