The Rioter’s Dictionary: F to L

The Rioter’s Dictionary: F to L

"F" to "L" of the Rioter's Dictionary

A shared political vernacular and slang has developed among Taiwanese youth activists in recent years, serving as the basis for many of the Internet memes about politics which are circulated among young people on social media, and providing the visual language for much of artistic production which sprung up around the Legislative Yuan occupation during the Sunflower Movement.

The following is “F” to “L” in an alphabetical dictionary of some of the terms frequently used by activists, accompanied by artistic depictions from the Sunflower Movement or preceding movements, along with some of the protest chants or memes which sprung up during the movement itself. This is put together along with documentation of the artwork produced during the Sunflower Movement, seeing as it was deeply rooted in this activist vocabulary and not so easy to parse out from it. This name, “Rioter’s Dictionary”, comes from “baomin” (暴民) or “rioter”, a term that Taiwanese youth activists jokingly refer to themselves as.

Formosan Black Bear

The Formosan Black Bear (台灣黑熊), which is indigenous to Taiwan and is endangered, has become a symbol of Taiwanese identity as a sort of Taiwanese equivalent to the panda bear. As such, Formosan Black Bear imagery was seen during the Sunflower Movement.

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC


Fuck The Government

The most popular of the protest slogans at the Sunflower Movement perhaps, the slogan originated from struggles against residential evictions for redevelopment in Dapu, Miaoli and subsequently caught on as a slogan generally expressive of anger or dissatisfaction toward the government, originally with a design by Taichung-based designer Denis Chen (陳致豪, better known by his nickname of 老丹). The slogan was particularly prominent on T-shirts worn by many activists.

Photo credit: Eddy Huang/Flickr/CC


Fu Sinian

Near the end of the movement, banners featuring the quote, “I have a request: When you disperse the students tonight, there can be no blood. If any student bleeds, I will personally hold you responsible” (我有一個請求你今天晚上驅離學生時不能流血若有學生流血我要跟你拚命) began to appear in the occupation encampment. The quote was from Fu Sinian, the president of National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學) in 1949 during the White Terror (白色恐怖), as a reaction against police violence against student protestors, as occurred during the attempted occupation of the Executive Yuan. In this way, the quote was an invocation of Taiwan’s history of student movements fighting for democracy. Memorial ceremonies for Fu were also held during the movement to commemorate his birthday.

Photo credit: Harry Li/Flickr/CC


Gravestone Memorials

A number of gravestones for the movement or for the occupation appeared in the encampment around the Legislative Yuan around the time that it was decided to withdraw from the Legislative Yuan.

Photo credit: 中岑 范姜/Flickr/CC


Global Messages Of Support

Many signs on-site featured messages of support for Sunflower Movement participants from international visitors to the site. An art installation set up in the encampment was an electronic sign which displayed global messages of support for the movement.

Photo credit: 中岑 范姜/Flickr/CC


Have You Seen Him?

The Taiwanese police refused to identify a police officer who was responsible for a large number of beatings during the events of 324, leading to stickers with his face and the tagline “Have you seen this man?” to be placed all over Taipei. Although there are suspicions as to his identity, Taiwanese police have never identified him. A number of parodic stickers parodying this original sticker later appeared in Taipei. 

Photo credit: PTT



“Hehe” is a genre of manga-style fanfiction about male activist figures in a manner inspired by Japanese boy’s love comics. In anime-style art produced about the Sunflower Movement, this was a trope. Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-Ting (陳為廷), as leading figures of the movement, were a frequent pairing, something not helped by their longstanding friendship or the fact that the two had jokingly kissed at a 2012 demonstration that was part of the Anti-Media Monopoly Movement. Hehe regarding Chen Wei-Ting frequently used the phrase “Waiting for you” as a pun on Chen’s given name.

Photo credit: 無限期支持帆廷在一起/Facebook


I Don’t Need Sex, Because My Government Fucks Me Everyday

Riffing off of the phrase of “Fuck The Government” frequently seen in Taiwanese youth activism, the phrase “I don’t need sex, because my government fucks me everyday” also became popular during the Sunflower Movement, referring to the way that the young in particular felt “screwed over” by their government. This was not only because of the Ma administration’s pro-China actions, deteriorating of Taiwanese sovereignty, but because of poor economic conditions for young people and the government leadership often consisting of wealthy and influential political elites who had often inherited their wealth and so been wealthy since birth, never having to struggle in life.

Photo credit: Abby Chen/Flickr/CC


I Grew Up In One Night

“I grew up in one night” (一夜長大) is a popular phrase used to refer to the events of 324 and the attempted Executive Yuan occupation by youth activists. That night, with the use of police violence against nonviolent students, something which was labelled “state violence” (國家暴力) or possibly better rendered “state-sanctioned violence,” many youth activists stated that this made them realize the true nature of the ROC state as an institution of oppression and the nature of the police not as the noble defenders of public order, but the means by which the state puts down dissidence. In this sense, the phrase suggests that 324 tore the scales from students’ eyes in regards to the nature of the ROC state and police force. The phrase features heavily in the depiction of 324 in The Sun Is Not Far, the flagship documentary of the Sunflower Movement.

Photo credit: Charlie Chang/Flickr/CC


If You Don’t Stand Up Today, It Will Be Too Late To Stand Up Tomorrow/if the KMT Doesn’t Collapse, Taiwan Cannot Survive!

“If you don’t stand up today, it will be too late to stand up tomorrow” (今天不出來明天站不出來) was a phrase calling on individuals to stand up for their rights in protest, seeing as waiting to do so may be too late. If Taiwan loses its democratic freedoms to China, after all, there would be no going back and any right to protest or other freedoms would be lost. A similar slogan would be, “If the KMT doesn’t collapse, Taiwan cannot survive!” (如果國民黨不到,台灣不會好), suggesting the existential threat posed by the KMT to Taiwan.

Photo credit: Duke Lin/Flickr/CC


I Treat You As Human

“I treat you as human” (把你當人看) is a gaffe of Ma, stated in response to criticisms over poor social conditions facing Taiwanese indigenous, much laughed at by Taiwan’s activist community. Obviously it is that stating, “I treat you as a human” should be something which is a given for anyone, indigenous or otherwise, but Ma feeling the need to state this seems to indicate a condescending view of indigenous on his part.

Photo credit: Charlie Chang/Flickr/CC



Xingwen (腥問), meiti (霉體), and jizhe (妓者) are slang terms used denigrating ways used to deride media, originating from PTT slang. Xingwen 腥問, pronounced the same as “xingwen”(新聞) or “news”, is written instead with the characters for “fishy question.” “Meiti” (霉體), pronounced the same as “meiti” (媒體) or “media”, means “bacteria body”. “Jizhe”妓者, pronounced the same as “jizhe” (記者) or journalist, means “prostitute”.

These would be ways to criticize the media for failing to ask hard-hitting questions regarding Taiwan’s relation with China, contaminated as media is by bacteria-like Chinese influence, and selling themselves out as a prostitute would be. These are all terms to criticize media monopoly, then, something that resulted in activists depending instead on new media.

Photo credit: Charlie Chang/Flickr/CC



Kano, a baseball film set based on true historical events about a multiracial Taiwanese baseball team during the Japanese colonial period which unexpectedly advanced to the championship of the 1931 Japanese High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium, was released shortly before the Sunflower Movement broke out. The film was directed by Umin Boya and produced by Jimmy Huang and Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), all of which are among Taiwan’s high-profile film directors in recent years. “Kano” was the name used to refer to the baseball team, the Kagi Agricultural and Forestry School baseball team (嘉義農林學校野球部 or Kagi Nōrin gakkō yakyūbu in Japanese) in abbreviation.

Photo credit: Kano

The film became emblematic of the movement when it was screened in the Legislative Yuan to student occupiers, with students declaring that “We are all Kano.” Students saw something of their multiracial social movement in the baseball team, which also consisted of young people triumphing over odds stacked against them.



A number of “Kaobei” (靠背 or “Fuck”) Facebook pages exist as part of activist kuso discourse in which individuals are invited to anonymously submit submissions cursing out individuals or groups they are angry with. Sometimes this leads to criticisms of traditional political opponents of Taiwanese youth activists, such as members of the KMT, but sometimes activists also use this format as a way to anonymously criticize their own members, including leaking confidential information or rumors.

Photo credit: Charlie Chang/Flickr/CC



Kuso is the term used to refer to Taiwanese political memes on Facebook or PTT. These are usually mocking in nature of the KMT, but also sometimes feature self-deprecating or dark humor.

Photo credit: Charlie Chang/Flickr/CC



“Law-in-shit” referred to then-Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪), as a pun on the pronunciation of her name, and a high-ranking legal official in the ROC government. Apart from being a firm member of the KMT willing to take harsh measures against members of Taiwanese civil society, Luo was also hated for her staunch advocacy of the death penalty, whereas members of Taiwanese youth activism generally opposed the death penalty.

Photo credit: Angatou


Legislative Yuan

Notably, some artworks within the occupation were about the occupation itself, and served as depictions of the occupation.

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC


Let Me Stand Up Like A Taiwanese!

“Let me stand up like a Taiwanese!” was a phrase which was frequently seen on posters and artwork during the Sunflower Movement regarding the affront to Taiwan’s national dignity and sovereignty from the Ma administration and KMT. “Let me stand up like a Taiwanese!” was a phrase originally spoken by Taiwanese independence activist Peter Huang (黃文雄) when he attempted to assassinate then-dictator Chiang Ching-Kuo (蔣經國) outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1970, shouting “Let me stand up like a Taiwanese!” as Chiang’s security dragged him away. In this way, the phrase “Let me stand up like a Taiwanese!” also draws from the history of resistance to KMT authoritarianism.

Photo credit: hjw223/Flickr/CC



The present generation of Taiwanese young people have sometimes been referred to as a generation of “losers” (魯蛇), seeing as young people are unable to find work and become dependent, but end up reliant on their parents. As such, a variety of terms that refer deprecatingly to young people have emerged in recent years, including the claim that the present generation is a soft and lazy “strawberry tribe” (草莓族), or that young people are a “bone-sucking tribe” which sucks on the bones of their parents (啃老族).

Photo credit: Toomore Chiang/Flickr/CC

Of course, young people sometimes do not see things this way, seeing as their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomer generation, had much more opportunities offered to them when they were young, and are responsible for the present economic climate in which young people are unable to function as independent entities in society. Sometimes, then, the term “loser” is adopted, oftentimes in PTT Internet slang, by young people themselves in a way to refashion their identity and take back their sense of identity.

One can compare to similar phenomenon in other parts of the world perhaps, such as Internet discourse on 4chan or Reddit in which young people refer to themselves self-deprecatingly because of the lack of opportunities afforded to them which their parents have. In recent years in America, this phenomenon has been bound up with right-wing nationalism. While one can also point to nationalistic element in Taiwan, this is to date a relatively mildly form of civic nationalism.

Photo credit: othree/Flickr/CC

The Rioter’s Dictionary:


Photo credit: kent Chuang/Flickr/CC