Jargon Watch: lizard tails | 行话 lizard tails

The Wall Street Journal China Realtime Report blog flagged up an interesting phrase that has been put into use by the Chinese Communist Party flagship newspaper People’s Daily. People’s Daily used the phrase ‘lizard tails’ to talk about temporary workers who are used as a patsy by factory managers and civil servants when accidents occur.

“When a house lizard comes under attack, it usually cuts off its own tail as a means of defense,” reads the editorial. “Temporary workers are like tails of house lizards: When an accident happens, they are left behind to divert public attention and [allow the real culprits] to evade responsibility.”

It is interesting that the paper decided to come out and discuss the issue; would The Times or the Financial Times publish a similarly contentious editorial? (Yes, I think that blamestorming happens regardless of politics, geography, race or belief system.)