Arising in early 2009, the meme initially began as a series of vandalised contributions to Baidu Baike, through the creation of humorous articles describing a series of fictional creatures, with each animal with names vaguely referring to Chinese profanities (utilizing homophones and characters using different tones). Eventually, images, videos (such as faux-documentaries) and even a song regarding aspects of the meme were released. It was thought that the Baidu hoaxes were written in response to recent strict enforcements of keyword filters in China, introduced in 2009, which attempted to eliminate all forms of profanity. The Baidu Baike "articles" initially began with "Four Mythical Creatures" (The "Grass Mud Horse", "French-Croatian Squid", "Small Elegant Butterfly" and "Chrysanthemum Silkworms"), and were later extended to ten.
The memes became widely discussed on Chinese Internet forums, and most users concluded that the initial aim of the hoaxes were to satirise and ridicule the pointlessness of the new keyword filters. The meme is interpreted by most Chinese online as a form of direct protest rather than motiveless intentional disruption to Baidu services. After the hoaxes were posted, news of the articles spread quickly online on joke websites, popular web portals and forums such as Baidu Tieba, while a large number of posts were sent on the Tencent QQ Groups chat service. There have also been various parodies of the meme created (such as the "Baidu 10 Legendary Weapons" and "Baidu 10 Secret Delicacies"). Meme references can be found throughout Chinese websites.
Read more about this topic: Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures
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