Glossary of Terms in Chinese Showbiz

Let’s go through common terms in Chinese showbiz that might be helpful for you. 

This article will be regularly updated.

Last updated: 15 May, 2021

Gossip and Popularity

Eating melon is a part of C-biz culture.
  • Melon (瓜): official news or rumors that worth gossip.
  • Eat melon (吃瓜): an activity of consuming gossip without taking sides or expressing any particular opinion. 
  • Melon-eating crowds / Melon eaters (吃瓜群众): people eating melon aka consuming gossip.
  • Marketing account / yxh (营销号 – yingxiao hao): public accounts on social networking platforms that create or collect content about every hot topic and event all over the Internet. Many contents from yxh are untrue and unreliable.
  • Pie / flatbread (饼): a piece of information or promise that makes people believe in and expect about the future, usually referring to yxh’s rumors about celebrities’ upcoming projects or endorsements.
  • Draw pie/ flatbread (画饼): refers to making absurd and unrealistic information or promises which eventually are not true or not fulfilled, usually referring to yxh’s fake rumors about celebrities’ upcoming projects or endorsements. 
  • River crab (河蟹 – he xie): a homophone for “harmony” (和谐 – he xie) in the word “harmonious society” (和谐社会 – he xie she hui), which refers to the internet censorship in China. C-nets use “river crab” to mention the forced removal of negative news and the control of freedom of speech.
  • Water army (水军): online paid posters and social media bots commenting or posting predefined content on online platforms. In the entertainment industry, water armies are used to promote, defame or boost data of particular works or celebrities.
  • Water-injected: anything – a piece of article, a celebrity’s social media account, a TV show, a movie, etc. – flooding with fake data (usually created by the water army).
  • Whitewash (洗白): deliberately misleads people in various ways, causing the people to forget a celebrity’s bad past. For instance, a celebrity with bad scandals may whitewash his/herself by doing a lot of charity work or joining government programs. Eventually, people will be overwhelmed with his/her positive energy and forget his/her past scandals. 
  • House collapsed (房子塌了): a term said when there is a celebrity involved in a love scandal. It originated from an interview where a woman said, “When I saw a house collapsed over there, I just went over to watch but I found out that it was my own house collapsing.” In C-fandom, when someone said that her “house collapsed,” she meant she thought she was about to read love scandals of other people’s idols with excitement, but it turned out to be her own idol’s.
  • Car flipped (翻车): mainly refers to unexpected and unsatisfactory things happening, for e.g: an excellent gamer losing the game, your online girlfriend turning out to be a scammer, a celebrity saying something stupid/ opposite to what she used to say on TV, etc. 
  • Red (红): indicates person, celebrity, film, song, or any work in general that is hot/ famous/ popular. Fire (火) has the same meaning.
  • Exploding red (爆红): super hot/ famous/ popular. It’s “red” but at a much higher level.
  • Black (黑): slandering and creating or spreading black materials (negative information) to defame someone or some projects, usually done by anti-fans.
  • Black materials (黑料): the information or historical records (which can be either true or not) that will have a negative impact on a celebrity or a project. 
  • Black red (黑红): self-creating controversies and black materials about themselves with the main purpose of attracting attention. They can whitewash themselves after becoming famous. In case they fail to whitewash, it’s called a “car flipped” incident.
  • Heat (热度): refers to popularity, but it’s more of short-term enthusiasm than long-term recognition. 
  • Rub heat (蹭热): riding the wave of someone else’s popularity.


TFBOYS are among the top liuliangs in C-biz.
  • Liuliang / Liuliang mingxing (流量/ 流量明星): celebrities who gain great attention wherever they go, who dominate the major entertainment news headlines and social media’s hot search lists just by changing their hairstyles, who appear everywhere on advertisements because of their extremely high commercial value, whose movies’ box offices, TV series’ ratings or album sales usually look beautiful thanks hugely to fans support, etc.
  • Little fresh meat (小鲜肉): young beautiful popular male celebrities.
  • Hua Dan (花旦): a term that is rooted in Chinese opera describing a vivacious and unmarried young woman, now referring to Chinese film actresses. Hua Dans tend to drive good attention either from fans or the general public. Besides that, they should at least have good appearances, certain acting skills, commercial values, and qualifications to contribute to the success of their works.
  • Da Hua (大花): literally means Big Flower. Da Hua refers to the first generation of Hua Dan ever since the term has been used. They have years of experience, good acting skills, numerous mainstream awards, notable works that are recognized by the general public, and great impact in the industry.
  • Zhong Hua (中花): literally means Middle Flower. Zhong Huas are those who have not yet reached the Da Hua level but are above Xiao Hua in terms of notable works, awards, and industry recognitions.
  • Xiao Hua (小花): literally means Little Flower. Xiao Hua refers to almost all young actresses, regardless of their popularity, reputation, and acting skills. Because of the varied standards, Xiao Hua is divided into several lines representing their status and popularity in the industry. Specifically, the 1st line covers the most popular actresses and whatnot. The most popular ones are generally called Liuliang Xiao Hua (流量小花).
  • Qing Yi (青衣): a term that is rooted in Chinese opera describing a virtuous, dignified, and elegant married woman, now referring to Chinese film actresses. Different from Hua Dans, Qing Yis don’t necessarily have big fandoms or the power to generate huge buzzes, but they have the recognition of the industry insiders and collections of quality works whose impact is widespread among the general public.
  • Emperor (皇): refers to a person who is favored by the company and has continuous resources, advantages over others in the same group/ program.
  • Tow plane (拖飞机): refers to the only popular member in the group carrying the whole group and other members.
  • Double-cooked meat (回锅肉): refers specifically to survival show trainees who used to debut but failed to become popular, then went back to be trainees. 
  • Foot-washing maid (洗脚婢): refers to the least popular members of the group with the least resources.

Entertainment Industry

Zhuo Wei is a famous Gouzai in C-biz.
  • Paparazzi / Gouzai (狗仔): photographers who secretly follow celebrities to take photos or sneak shots in hopes of discovering hot gossip and breaking news. 
  • Fan-paid photographer / Surrogate photographer / Daipai (代拍): neither professional journalists nor fans of anyone, they stay all-year-round at locations most likely to encounter celebrities such airports or film studios and take photos of celebrities as their daily work, then sell the photos to fans on online platforms at high prices. 
  • Yin-yang contract (阴阳合同): refers to the fact that the involved parties have two or more contracts with different contents for the same matter, regularly one for the internal and the other for the external. The external one is not an expression of the true intentions of both parties, but for the purpose of evading national taxes. The internal contract describes the true intention of both parties, which can be written or oral. The yin and yang contract is a violation of regulations.
  • Yin-yang script (阴阳剧本): refers to the fact that different versions of a film script are provided to different actors for specific purposes. For instance, in order to make two famous actors work together, the film crew provides different scripts to the actors so that they both think they are the only biggest protagonist. When actors finished filming all scenes, the post-production will decide who is the real protagonist. The decision heavily relies on the investors behind the film production. 
  • Center / C position (c位): the center position in a group of people. It is the most important and most visible to the audience, usually being held by the person with the greatest qualification and the highest status. The center position is the visible form of the power a celebrity holds, an important proof of a celebrity’s status in the entertainment industry. 
  • Fan wei (番位): the order of actors’ names on film posters or other promotional materials. The first name is yi fan (一番). Fan wei implies an actor’s status and value in the industry as well as guarantees an actor’s responsibilities for and benefits from the film/ work itself. Fan wei can also be used music, show, etc. and not limited to film nowadays.
  • Scratch feet (抠脚): refers to the unemployment status of celebrities. As they have no schedule, they are staying at home and doing nothing but scratching their feet.
  • Hang someone up and beat them (吊打): if saying A hangs B up and beats B, it means A’s data, appearance, talent, etc., outperforming that of B.

Related Post: Glossary of Terms in Chinese Fandom Culture

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