Bird's Nest: Ai Weiwei in English (beta)


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Community-based translations of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (@aiww) into English. We do not represent the artist.

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The views expressed on this blog are solely those of Ai Weiwei and the individuals he quotes or retweets. We do not represent the artist, his views or his opinions, and while we make every effort to ensure accuracy in translation, we cannot guarantee it; we are simply providing this site as a service for English speakers.
Reference: Commonly-Used Terms

Reference: Commonly-Used Terms

  • #512birthday - Ai’s tweets about the birthdays of the students who died in the 5/12/08 Sichuan earthquake. You can find our translations here.
  • 80 Hòu (80后) - “Post-80”.  This is a recently popular term to describe a generation of young people, born after the 80s. Similar to Generation Y, Millennial Generation, etc.
  • Aì Qīng (艾青) - One of the most important modern poets in China, he is Ai Weiwei’s father. His original name was Jiǎng Zhēnghán​ (蒋正涵).
  • Aishén (艾神/愛神) - “God Ai”. This is a reference to what Chinese police called Ai Weiwei in Lǎo​mā​ Tí​huā​. More info here (in Chinese).  Jennifer’s translation: “In the documentary, Chengdu’s police raided the hotel room of Ai and his crew. During negotiations, the police said Ai “pretended to be God”, which in Sichuan dialect describes someone as being pretentious or being fake. Consistent with the Chinese penchant on wordplay, some Twitterers also started calling Ai 愛神 (ài shén). Even though the words have the exact same sounds as God Ai, instead they mean God of Love.” Jennifer also located the specific clip here (2:35 to 2:51).
  • Běi​jīng Guóbǎo​ (北京国保) - The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau:
  • Cǎo Ní Mǎ (草泥马) - Literally, “Grass Mud Horse”.  When taken literally, it refers to a species of alpaca. When used in the internet space, the term serves as a quasi-homophone to “fuck your mother” in Chinese. For more details, please refer to the following Wikipedia entry:
  • Fākè Gōngzuòshì (发课工作室) - FAKE Studio, Mr. Ai’s work space in Beijing. It can be pronounced “Fake”, as in English, or “Fākè”, deliberately sounding like the English “fuck”. The studio’s online home is
  • Fóle (佛了) - A loan word for the Twitter verison of “Follow”. Sometimes written as “fo了”.
  • Lǎo​mā​ Tí​huā​ (老妈蹄花) - Ai Weiwei’s documentary about his August 2009 trip to Chengdu: View it here with Chinageeks.
  • Měi​rén​yú Jiāo​huàn​ (美人鱼交换) - “Mermaid Exchange”:
  • QQ - Tencent QQ, an instant messaging service in mainland China.
  • Tiān​’ān​mén​ (天安门) - Tiananmen Square, site of anti-Communist protests in 1989 followed by a violence crackdown. Discussing this topic is officially censored by the Chinese government. Mr. Ai recommended the article and video linked here to learn more about the incident.
  • Tuītè (推特) - “Twitter”. Often shortened simply to 推. We translate Tuītècūn (推特村) as “Twitterville” and Wěidà de Tuī (伟大的推) as “Twitterverse”.