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口号手环、贴纸、小旗子、手幅、胸章……义乌的大小作坊,为4年一度的美国大选,生产这些饭圈类产品,正规名称是总统竞选产品。
义乌再次判定:特朗普连任,2020年04月30日

The above article discusses Trump-themed merchandise and its manufacture in Yiwu (义乌), comparing the 2016 and 2020 US elections. I'm struggling with the part in bold:

[My translation:] Slogan bracelets, stickers, small flags, placards (?), broaches, …… Yiwu's big and small wordshops, for the once-every-four-years US election, produces these 饭圈类 products. According to regulations [they are] called president election products.

In the above, I don't understand why 饭圈类 ("cooked-rice-roll kind") is used here (Google Translate gives "rice ring products"). It appears to be used metaphorically.

Question: What does 饭圈类 ("rice-ring kind") indicate in 生产这些饭圈类产品?

(I found the answer while researching this question. I thought it was interesting, so I'll self-answer. I welcome further answers.)

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Searching for 饭圈类 in Baidu, I stumbled upon a Baidu Zhidao artcle, which gives an explanation. The second answer is simpler:

饭圈类似粉丝会,大家有共同喜欢的东西,组成了一个圈子。

[My translation:] 饭圈 is similar to "fan group" [粉丝会], everyone has something they commonly like, the group forms a social circle [圈子].

In particular, 饭 in this context does not mean "cooked rice", but is used because the English word "fan" is written in the same way as the (untoned) pinyin for (fàn). Thus, 饭圈 is a "circle of fans". And in the article about Trump, it refers to products produced for Trump's circle of fans (or Trump's supporters).

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  • I think 饭 is a transliteration from English word "fan" directly just because of the similar pronounce. Using 饭 to indicate supporters is popular in Chinese entertainment in recent years, so personally I think it is not a serious word that could be used in news reports about political figure properly. – rustyhu Sep 22 at 8:36
  • 饭 pinyin is Fan. 圈 is circle in meaning. (Social circle【圈子】meaning here, ). Also 饭 is what asian eat everyday so they will called then 饭/fan without thinking devalue themselves. 类 is just word meaning (group / similar interest / categories) . – Edward Chan JW Sep 22 at 15:02
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As a Chinese native speaker, I could tell you that 饭 means the same as 粉丝 because of similar sounds, and 圈 means people with similar interests, so 饭圈 means people who love one single idol. However, this word now has a bad meaning, especially means people who is CRAZY to one idol, and ususally do some team behaviors. Actually 饭圈 is a word, and 饭圈类 means a kind like 饭圈.

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