Quit bugging me: China censors beetle named after President Xi

Academic says he dedicated insects discovery to leader but all references to it have been removed from the internet

Chinese censors have stamped down on any online references to a new beetle species named after the countrys president, Xi Jinping, according to reports, and to the dismay of the loyal academic who discovered it.

The Rhyzodiastes (Temoana) xii was identified in Chinas southern island province of Hainan by Cheng-Bin Wang, a Chinese national affiliated with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.

In the peer-reviewed animal taxonomy journal Zootaxa he declared: The specific epithet is dedicated to Dr Xi Jinping, the president of the Peoples Republic of China, for his leadership making our motherland stronger and stronger.

His eight-page paper, published last month, described his find in minute detail, including the lustrous sheen of its body and its genital segment with handle moderately long and narrowly rounded at tip.

Wang said he greatly admired Xis actions in China, and saw the beetle as a symbol of the communist chiefs achievements.

The Rhyzodiastes (Temoana) is very rare you might not encounter a single one even after 10 field collection sessions and it also eats rotten wood for food, he said in an email.

So its a metaphor for Xi Jinping, a rare person you only encounter once a century, and specifically his controls on corruption (eating rot), which will allow Chinese corruption to gradually disappear, he explained.

But Chinese censors have ordered that all references to Wangs bug be removed from the internet, the China Digital Times said.

The US-based website, which tracks censorship in China, cited authorities telling media: All websites find and delete the article Entomologists Report: Scholars Use Daddy Xi to Name a New Type of Beetle and related information.

Daddy Xi, or Xi Dada, is an avuncular nickname for the president that was once promoted in official propaganda but has since been downplayed.

A search for the beetles Chinese name on Chinas Sina Weibo social media platform on Tuesday yielded only a message stating that no search results could be shown due to relevant laws and policies.

The xii beetle is not the first new species to be named after a head of state. A trapdoor spider discovered in 2012 was named Aptostichus barackobamai after the US president, Barack Obama, while a sea slug found in 1999 was named the Mandelia mirocornata after the former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Wang was distraught at the censorship, saying: Hello! Beloved President Xi! This is a rare beetle! The name of the species will exist for ever! A tremendous honour!

His gesture had been deliberately vilified, he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/12/quit-bugging-me-china-censors-beetle-named-after-president-xi