drink tea (euphemism)

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by yuechu, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English

    I was reading an article today on the following website (in English):


    , which refers to a Chinese euphemism: "to drink tea".

    "By early evening on January 10 in China, the authorities had made formal contact with Yi. She wrote on her Weibo account, “I’m going to drink tea, hope it’s tasty.” Being invited to “drink tea” is a well-known euphemism among those Web users who stir up enough trouble online that authorities visit them in person."

    Would this "drink tea" (in the context of this euphemism) simply be translated as "喝茶" in Chinese? as in: 我会/要喝一点茶? It seemed like quite an ambiguous phrase to me--but perhaps it is purposely so!

    Thanks in advance/谢谢!
  2. tarlou Senior Member

    This kinds of words appeared only very recently. Probably some people who do not always stay online won't understand you if you say it in a conversation. It is mostly used on web.

    It is a humorous way to say "arrested by the authorities", and typically used as "被请去喝茶".
    "我去喝茶了" means "Someone has invited me to drink tea to arrest me. And I'm going there." It is a funny description of what can possibly happen. This is harder to understand. In most cases it's just the normal meaning of drinking tea, people interpret it in a different way only in certain context.

    A similar word is 查水表 (read the water meter). Someone may let you open the door to read the meter, but you may get arrested when open your door. ---- That's just a fictitious scene.

    You may see posts like the following in all kinds of forums.

    A posted something sensitive or controversial
    B replied "小心查水表" (Take care if someone wants to check your water meter.)
    C replied "查水表!" (Open the door. I'll read your water meter.)
    A replied C "水表在门外,自己看" (The meter is outside. Look at it by yourself.)
    ...A got offline
    D "楼主怎么不说话了?被请去喝茶了?" (Was he invited to drink tea?)

    All these people were just making fun.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  3. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Thanks for your helpful answer, tarlou! So I suppose the euphemism only works if one says: "to be invited to go drink tea". That makes sense. (I mean since it is easier to differentiate "drinking tea" vs this euphemism)
    I like your dialogue by the way.. ha.... seems like typical Chinese humour that I've seen/heard before!
  4. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    Yes, in Chinese we do say 喝茶 as a euphemism for "a formal contact with the authorities", e.g. 某人被请去喝茶了-- someone has been invited to drink tea-- the authorities have made formal contact with someone.
    This usage is quite newly invented, and I think its original term might be 约谈, which usually refers to the authorities meet the inferior to enquire about their mistakes and to warn or criticise them.
    As Tarlou said, 喝茶is a more humorous way (or ironic way). Maybe it's because when someone is invited to a meet, the host often serve a cup of tea to show politeness (or pretend to be polite:D).

    ps: thanks for sharing the article~ I hadn't had a chance to read many of her weibo before they were deleted.
  5. zhg Senior Member

  6. BODYholic Senior Member

    Chinese Cantonese
    喝茶, as an euphemism, is also readily understood in Singapore. You can often hear "又被老板请去喝茶了" in the office. :D
  7. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    飲茶 and, more frequently, 飲咖啡 are frequently used in Hong Kong as well, but almost exclusively with the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

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