Harmonization (河蟹)

Harmonization (河蟹)

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Harmonization (Chinese: 河蟹, Pinyin: hé xiè) or River-crab, is a slang term refers to the Chinese government’s censorships, especially to those on the Internet.


The term was derived from the word 和諧 (meaning “harmony”, Pinyin: hé xié). During the Hu-Wen reign, the construction of a harmonious society[1] was emphasized in government propagandas and policies. To build that harmonious society, which has no struggle between anyone, the Chinese government has put huge effort on censorships in order to stabilize the Communist Party of China’s regime. Since then, the Chinese netizens started to call the censorship 河蟹 (literally meaning river crab) as a verb, just because 和諧 and 河蟹 have similar pronunciations (See their pinyins). The usage of the word is not limited on describing censorship on the Internet, but also IRL arrests of the anti-government people.

Example on usage

Google is harmonized/river-crab’d.

Ai Weiwei is harmonized/river-crab’d


Since censorship policies has been imposed on most of the popular sites in China, the term has been used frequently. On Sina, if some sensitive terms are being searched with its search engine, there will be no search results showing up but just a line saying “搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。” (Search results may not agree with the related laws and policies, thus they are not shown.)

Search Interest

Almost all of the search interest come from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Notable Censorships

June 4th Incident

新闻专题图片博客微博视频音乐产品库更多▼ 新浪首页 收藏本页 Sina搜索,新闻 六四事件 搜索新闻 全部频道 高级搜索 全文 标题 从全部频道搜索结果0条 搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。 设为首页-意见反馈-新浪简介-About Sina

Liu Xiaobo

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate – Liu Xiaobo, which is a current political prisoner in China was also a target of censorship of the Chinese government.

新闻专题图片博客微博视频音乐产品库更多▼ 新浪首页 收藏本页 Sina 搜索.新闻/劉曉波 搜索新闻 全部频道ソ高级搜索 全文 标题 从全部频道搜索结果0条 搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。 设为首页-意见反馈-新浪简介 - About Sina

The River Crab Banquet

When Chinese artist Ai Weiwei[2] was notified that his Shanghai studio would be knocked down because of producing sensitive artwork against the government, around a thousand of his supporters feasted on river crab as an euphemism on the government’s censorship. However, Ai was absent on the feast as he was under house arrest.

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Harmonious society

[2] Wikipedia – Ai Weiwei

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