Focus topics

‘Human flesh search’

人肉 – rénròu – “human flesh search”

When Chinese friends tell you that China’s Internet users have once again successfully hunted for human flesh (人肉搜索 rénròu sōusuǒ), please take a deep breath first. No, it is not about cannibalism in cyberspace. Even if your dictionary may at first confirm the terrible suspicion. Because quite literally, 人肉搜索 (rénròu sōusuǒ) does indeed mean “human flesh-search” (from 人肉 rénròu “human flesh” and 搜索 sōusuǒ “search” as in, for example, 网络搜索 wǎngluò sōusuǒ “Internet search” or 搜索引擎 sōusuǒ yǐnqíng “search engine”).

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