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The Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures (百度十大神兽) is a series of fake articles that became a popular and widespread meme in mainland China.
Baidu is the search engine equivalent of Google in China.
The prank articles originated on the Baidu Baike (Chinese Wikipedia-equivalent), documenting on fictional creatures whose names vaguely but obviously refer to Chinese profanities. Some people thought these articles were written in direct protest to the recent enforcement on strict keyword filtering in China, attempting to eliminate all profanity and access sensitive topics. These articles became popular and were widely discussed on Chinese forums and chat services. News sources also picked up the sensation, and many videos and mockumentaries were posted to Youtube. References could be found throughout Chinese websites. Variations were created, such as The Baidu 10 Legendary Weapons and The Baidu 10 Secret Delicacies.
The 10 Mythical Creatures
Cao Ni Ma (草泥马 Grass Mud Horse)
This fictional creature is the most popular among the ten, and is the main iconic figure of protest against the Chinese internet censorship. It’s name, Cǎo Ní Mǎ, was derived from cào nǐ mā (肏你妈, fuck your mother). According to the hoax article, the Grass Mud Horse is some species of alpaca, and lives in the Mahler Gobi (Ma Le Ge Bi 马勒戈壁), which is a homophone of 妈了个屄 (your mothers vagina). Its enemy is the “river crab” (héxiè 河蟹, homophone of héxié 和谐, meaning “harmony”, referring to the government internet censorship to create a “harmonious society”). Grass Mud Horses are said to be frequently fighting “river crabs”.
The Grass Mud Horse spawned music videos and faux-documentaries. Even a Grass Mud Horse plush dolls were produced.
Fa Ke You (法克鱿 French-Croatian Squid)
Fa Ke You literally means French-Croatian Squid, and is an obvious English transliteration of “fuck you”. The article claims Fa Ke You is a type of invertebrate aggressive squid simultaneously found in France and Croatia, hence the name. These squids are hunted in East Asia and are served in a dish called “Corn French-Croatian Squid” (yù mǐ fǎ kè yóu 玉米法克鱿, transliterated as “you, me, fuck you”). When agitated, they secrete “white-colored liquid”, and cause great harm to humans.
Ya Mie Die (雅蠛蝶 Small Elegant Butterfly)
Ya Mie Die is derived from the Japanese term “stop”, or yamete (止めて) and is a reference to the Chinese conception of Japanese rape scenes. The Ya Mie Die is supposedly a type of butterfly discovered on January 1st, 2009 on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. A legend states a Japanese girl turned into these butterflies after suffering a rough romantic relationship. These butterflies can change color and are luminecent, and are considered to be precious and rare.
The rest of the mystical creatures can be read in detail on Wikipedia.
The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television issued a directive on March 30, 2009 that highlighted 31 catagories of profane content banned online which “incite ethnic discrimination or undermine social stability”. Many believe the move was due to the official embarrassment of the phenomenon, and to stop online discussion in the runup to the anniversary of the June 4th Tienanmen Square Protests.
Song of the Grass Mud Horse
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