Stop calling your boss “boss”, Guangzhou’s graft watchdog ordered party officials yesterday as it sought to curb “name-calling” among cadres.
The provincial discipline inspection commission posted on its official website a list of banned terms amid concern that the rise of gangster-inspired slang in officials’ parlance signals bureaucratism, sectarianism and mafia acts, according to Xinhua and other state media.
“Bro”, “man” and “capo” were on the blacklist. In Putonghua, common terms for superiors include laoban (boss) and laoda (capo, a Western term typically referring for the head of a crime family).
Subordinates or colleagues could be called xiongdi (bro) or gemen (man).
Calling colleagues by these names “has destroyed the inner-party democracy and harmed the image of party officials as servants of the people”, the commission said.
“It is extremely unsuited to the principles of the party and the nature of people’s government,” it said.
The Communist Party in fact issued a document in December 1965, titled “Notification About Name-Calling Among Comrades in the Party”, which requested its members to call each other “comrade”.
This rule against an overt hierarchy was reiterated in a 1978 meeting, called the Third Plenary Session of the party’s 11th Central Committee.
The plenum said: “As comrade Mao Zedong always advocated, all should be called comrade in the party. Don’t call them by the official title. All personal opinions from party members in charge of that matter, including central leaders, are not considered orders."
The recent ban is in the spirit of these policies, according to the anti-graft authority.
However, the ban faced ridicule in social media, as many netizens wondered what civil servants could call their superiors.
“Don’t be kidding. Why do they have to ruin the active atmosphere and turn it into a lifeless working environment?” wrote a commentator from Zhejiang province.
A lawyer from Yunnan province said: “They are bosses anyway, no matter if you call them ‘boss’ or not.”