Chives is a kind of vegetable commonly used in Chinese food. Like parsley, spring onions and ginger, it is a volatile vegetable and is mainly used as a side dish for all kinds of food. For example, in the traditional Chinese food dumplings, there is a classic filling is pork with chives.
With the popularity of Chinese food overseas, it has also entered the European and North American markets in recent years.
It tastes more like garlic than overseas leek, besides dumplings, Chinese people also use it to scramble eggs and pork. Some people don’t like its special smell, but on the whole, it is one of the vegetables that Chinese people often eat.
But in recent years, chives has a new interpretation in the Chinese Internet.
In the Chinese Internet, chives is now more often used to refer to cheated retail investors, irrational consumers, star fans who have been squeezed out of their labor force, and employees who have worked overtime for the company for a long time without pay.
However, the exploitation or deception committed by the government, company or any organization against individuals is called “cutting chives” (harvesting chives).
Why is that?
In order to understand the formation of this meme, we should first introduce the chives in agriculture in detail.
Chives is popular in China, in addition to its unique flavor, another reason is that it is easy to grow. Chives is a plant that can be harvested many times. Basically, you only need to provide chives with water and proper fertilizer, and you can harvest 4 to 5 times every summer and autumn without repeated farming.
It’s a bit like tomatoes and corn in the Story of Seasons games, which don’t disappear after harvest but continue to grow until they can be harvested again.
I found a video of how to harvest chives here, and you can more intuitively understand what harvest chives means in the sense of agriculture:
OK, now we understand how chives grows and is harvested in an agricultural sense. So we can now describe why it is used to refer to the exploitation and exploited classes.
Simply put, the process of planting chives and harvesting chives is symbolically identical to some of the operating mechanisms of modern society:
|Chives can be harvested repeatedly until it dies completely.||People are always repeatedly exploited or deceived until they die completely.|
|When farmers harvest chives, they will not uproot it to achieve repeated harvest.||Exploiters or fraudsters often do not wipe out the exploited at one time in order to gain long-term benefits.|
|Farmers only need to give a little water and fertilizer, and chives will continue to grow.||People will spontaneously accumulate property until they are cheated next time.|
In the process, “chives” tends to grow voluntarily and does not realize that it is being harvested (exploited).
In most cases, the term “cutting chives” in the Chinese context refers to acts that do not commit a crime or cannot be punished by law for some reason.
It is generally used in three areas, namely, investment, employment or sales.
Investment is the first area in which the meme is used, and some Chinese investors began to laugh at themselves as “chives” before 2014. They described the behavior of some investment institutions as “cutting chives”.
“Cutting chives” generally describes a circular operation of an investment institution, fund or stock market maker in the stock market. This circular operation refers to a substantial sell-off of a stock over a period of time, causing a stock to fall to a low point, and then buying back a small amount at a low price for a long time to build a new position. In the process, individual investors will lose most of their wealth.
In 2015, the Chinese stock market ushered in a big bull market, the number of new accounts for A-shares reached its peak, and then the Chinese stock market plummeted. As a result, many individual investors who entered the stock market at this timing suffered huge losses. Therefore, the “number of A-share new accounts” is also known as the “chives index”. In the eyes of some equity analysts, the rise in the “chives index” means that the stock market will usher in systemic risk.
In 2017, the token economy triggered a nationwide investment boom in China. Because there is often no threshold for encrypted digital currency investment, many individual investors with no financial knowledge have poured into the industry. This makes the phenomenon of “cutting chives” more serious, and at the same time, the words “chives” and “cutting chives” have begun to spread to the public from the “technical term” that few people use.
In July 2020, the #YOLO campaign launched by the US Securities Exchange App Robinhood looked like a typical “cutting chives” in the Chinese media. It encourages young people with no financial experience to enter the stock market through loans and agenda setting, which, while not illegal, is immoral.
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In 2018, the 996 working system sparked a collective debate among Chinese netizens. The word “chives” is out of the context of the financial industry and is used for the first time to describe the relationship between the exploiting class and the exploited. Entrepreneurs use limited salary increases, so that employees almost voluntarily participate in excessive overtime.
At the end of 2018, there was a “shoe speculation” incident in China. This incident refers to the launch of a second-hand shoes trading system with margin trading function in a sports shoe community in China.
People can trade limited edition sneakers that don’t even really exist in the App, just like they can trade real estate bonds. The prices of some sneakers have been hyped to 10 or 20 times the initial price. Until the government regulated it, many sports shoes brands were also involved, because it helped to greatly increase the sales and sales of sports shoes.
As a result of this incident, the application of the word “cutting chives” has once again been extended to the field of consumption. The use of legal but immoral sales means to induce consumers to buy premium goods has since been known as “cutting chives”.
On today’s Chinese Internet, there is also a typical behavior called “cutting chives”:
- Designer toys. In China, designer toys are always sold in the form of “blind boxes”. It means that you won’t know the specific model you are going to buy until you have completed your purchase. As a result, if consumers want to put together a series of toys, they need to buy products over and over again before they collect all.
- Tesla electric car. The price of Tesla (China) has fallen by about 20% on several occasions in the past nine months. This allows almost all car owners to enjoy a devaluation before they actually get their cars. Therefore, this kind of sales is also known as “cutting chives”.
- Sell via webcast. In the past year, live webcast sales have become popular in China. But many people are beginning to find that many of the goods sold in live webcasts are actually more expensive than those sold on a daily basis. Because in the process of live sales, viewers often have no time to inquire about the price of the same product sold in other channels, so they can not find this difference. This is also the behavior that many people call live sales “cutting chives”.
Similarly, after some e-commerce companies buy members, the prices of goods become higher. Since most people do not logout from their accounts and then compare the prices of goods, most people place orders directly at higher prices and think they have bought cheaper goods.
Seeing here, you should have found that the meme of “cutting chives” can be used in almost any field. In an abstract sense, it is basically equivalent to the fact that some people (farmers) make others (chives) lose most of their wealth through agenda setting or trap concessions (water and fertilizer).
It does not happen only in China, as modern society becomes more and more complex, it occurs in almost every corner and every field of the earth. It is just that the Chinese first discovered such a way of harvesting crops, which has such a similar nature with this kind of behavior.
So, is there someone around you who is cutting chives? Or, you may have already been a chives?