38 Poop Shoveling Officer – 铲屎官 (Chǎn shǐ guān)

Dani Omana

simplified Chinese: 铲屎官 ; pinyin: Chǎn shǐ guān

Poop Shoveling Officer

A funny colloquialism that has become popular among Chinese people is “Poop Shoveling Officer” or 铲屎官 (Chǎn shǐ guān). While the translation may seem a bit unusual, it has taken on a life of its own through pet owners as a self-deprecating joke.

“铲屎官” is used to refer to a person who takes on the responsibility of dealing with displeasurable and unpleasant tasks, i.e. shoveling feces. Although this seems quite demeaning, the term is more commonly used in a light-hearted manner, acknowledging the sometimes undesirable responsibilities that come with some roles such as pet-ownership.

Pet ownership in China has become increasingly popular, with as many as 116 million pets in urban China. This means that as many as one in eight Chinese people own a pet. Because of this, sharing ones pets is something that many Chinese people consider a pass time on popular social media sites such as Douyin and Weibo. Douyin, which is known for its short video format (which might be known in the west as ‘Chinese TikTok’) have become dominated by these pet videos, hosting a plethora of clips from everyday people sharing snippets of their lives as pet owners. In conjunction, on Weibo, owners can share photos, written anecdotes and connect with other pet-owners such as themselves. The sense of camaraderie among pet owners is apparent, as they exchange tips, anecdotes, and support through online interactions. Through these platforms, inside jokes and slang such the aforementioned “Poop Shoveling Officer” come to fruition.

Interestingly, these platforms have also led to the creation and success of “pet influencers”. These famous pets with usually distinctive looks or personalities have substantial followings with a fan-base that can rival even human celebrities. Some even become brand-ambassadors for pet-related products. A Scottish fold cat “Erdou” is currently the most famous pet influencer on Douyin, nearing almost 40 million followers. Another example is the Golden Retriever “Danhuang” with over 20 million followers. These are staggering numbers, and show how important and beloved pets have become in popular Chinese culture throughout the years.

This phenomenon of sharing pets and forming “inside-jokes” with one another reflects a cultural shift where Chinese people seek connections with one another through small joys in their lives like shared experiences. Social media has become a platform facilitating the socialization of people across the world. As pet-ownership becomes increasingly popular in China, so does the community online that celebrates the highs and lows.

[1] [2]

  1. https://jingdaily.com/posts/5-furry-kols-to-know-in-chinas-booming-pet-economy
  2. https://www.acuitykp.com/blog/chinas-fast-growing-dog-and-cat-economy/


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Poop Shoveling Officer - 铲屎官 (Chǎn shǐ guān) Copyright © 2024 by Dani Omana is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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