Catchwords that struck a chord in 2009

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-01 08:58
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Celebrations of a nation's founding. A path-breaking US president. A flu which raised fears of a global pandemic. A summit of the world's top 20 economies held against the backdrop of a global financial crisis.

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These were among the topics that garnered the most media attention, says an annual report on the most popular catchwords of the year, based on their use in China's mainstream media.

They were jointly released yesterday by the National Language Resource Monitor and Research Centre, Beijing Language and Cultural University and China Communication University.

The top 10 catchwords according to the report are:

60th anniversary of the founding of New China: A nation swelled with pride as it had plenty to celebrate with pomp and pageantry.

Implementation of scientific outlook of development: A doctrine that promotes coordinated development on the basis of social harmony, environmental protection and energy conservation, in addition to economic expansion.

H1N1: The global outbreak of a new strain of H1N1 influenza virus, often referred to as "swine flu" in the media.

Barack Obama: China, along with the rest of the world, was captivated as the first black president was sworn in the US.

Climate change: One of the hottest topics which reached a crescendo at the Copenhagen conference last month.

(11th Chinese) National Games: The 13-day event ended successfully on Oct 28 with host Shandong topping the medals table.

G20 Summit: The leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies met in Pittsburgh against the backdrop of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Post-quake reconstruction: The massive efforts to rebuild homes and infrastructure in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, which were hit hard by the devastating earthquake on May 12, 2008.

Crackdown on organized crime: An effort that intensified in 2009, most notably in Chongqing, where a massive crackdown on gangs that began in June has resulted in more than 2,900 suspected gangsters or officials protecting them being detained.

Medical reform plan: A blueprint for health care reform over the next decade unveiled in April, which kicked off a long-awaited plan to fix the ailing medical system and ensure fair and affordable care for all 1.3 billion citizens.

The report also listed 120 other keywords covering social, political, economic and cultural affairs. Some examples are:

"Being employed" was the most popular term of the year in the social sector.

The term originated from a practice by many universities listing jobless fresh college graduates as "employed". Names were included in employment agreements to boost the universities' standing in campus recruitment but the graduates did not actually have jobs.

"The popularity of 'being employed' is an irony given the fact that a large number of college graduates are unemployed this year," the report said.

Lou Cuicui, meaning fragile building, originated from a new 13-story apartment building in Shanghai which collapsed in June because of shoddy construction.

"We are entering an era where there is no guarantee for the quality of real estate in which people invest their life savings," the report said.

Other words that typified social problems were "fake banknotes", "drag racing" and the "hide-and-seek incident".