Planet China

Image problem

What’s in a name? Quite a lot if your village is called Goushi. The remote mountain village in Guizhou province has just managed to get its name changed. And it’s not hard to see why villagers were keen – according to the Guizhou City News, ‘goushi’ means ‘dog shit’ village. The newspaper explained its etymology thus: “For a long time the place was so inaccessible that only dogs would go there to shit.” But more recently, the village has become easier to reach via a new road, so the locals thought it was time for a renaming. Sixty alternatives were considered, before Jinxin (meaning ‘prosperous and happy’) was selected. That sounds a lot better, although, as the Shanghai Daily points out, prosperity is thin on the ground in Jinxin (per capita income is just $443 a year).


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