China: Newly invented Han characters

Recently the Ministry of Education of PRC has announced a list of 44 Han characters to be adjusted in their writing style. The adjustments were so insignificant and redundant that most netizens criticized the ministry of creating trouble. Even the Xinhua news described the adjustment as “plastic surgery”.

However, the Ministry of Education's announcement has inspired many to create new Han characters by themselves. And the new invention has reflected the internet culture and netizens’ frustration in China.

Egaobaike has collected three newly invented characters from different sources. The first one is pronounced as “Nan”. It is composed of two Han characters: 腦殘, meaning brain damage.


It is a commonly used term in the Internet for criticizing patriotic youths for their inability to think independently.

The second one is pronounced as “Wao” which is composed of 五毛, meaning 50 cents. It refers to the group of commentators who are paid by the government or CCP to shape public opinion in major websites and forums.


The last one is pronounced as “Diang”, which is composed of 黨中央 three words, meaning the central committee of CCP. The new word refers to the absolute political correctness that cannot be questioned.


It is quite obvious that the spoof is full of dark humor against the domination of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In fact, some twitterers reported that the third character “Diang”, which was invented yesterday, has already been harmonized.


  • Is there any way to show these new characters with text (like unicode) or does it have to be with image files?

  • Ha ha, we can’t even type them out in Chinese input system :) have to use image files.

  • I believe someone out there is working on it :)

  • Tony C

    Hah I like the word “nan” .It’s funny. Never heard of it in tw. I should try on my friends :P

    • Matsuo

      Well, tony, don’t. It’s not a very nice thing to say to your friends><

      Naocan or "nan", does not only refer to the "patriotic" angry youths, it, more often than not, refers to some "post-90" kids (maybe the Gothic ones? or the vampiric ones?) who can't even talk or write normally in Chinese.

    • Matsuo

      Well, Tony, don’t.

      It’s not a very nice word to use…even jokingly, to friends anyway.
      It also refers to some of the post-90 kids in China who can’t even talk or write properly in Chinese, and those who dress up like Gothic kids or Vampiric kids…

  • […] create their own characters – many of which reflect frustrations with the Chinese government – according to Global Voices, which cited three […]

  • […] … announcement has inspired many to create new Han characters by themselves …” Blogbeitrag von Oiwan Lam (Global Voices […]

  • tomy

    well.. i just immagine how torture it will be for the children. chinese writing system is to backward for modern time.

  • Carlos

    Observe the traditional way of writing Dang (party) and you see the core of any party, black. So, that had to change back then to conceal its true nature. Enter Big Brother, as you can see in the simplified version. Really Orwellian. Am I being naocan or what?

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site