Per the title, what does "竄" mean in the phrase "執意竄訪中國台灣地區"?

I can only make out the meaning "to insist on [竄] visiting China's Taiwan region".

The phrase is from an image at https://twitter.com/StuartKLau/status/1555494582561001474.


3 Answers 3


竄訪 has been discussed on LanguageLog, and one suggested translation for 竄 is 'to scurry (like a rat)'. My impression is that you would use 竄 to indicate someone is attempting or doing a nefarious action, probably in a secretive and maybe hurried or hasty manner so as not to be caught in the act—like a rat snatching a piece of food and speeding away with it, indeed.

Similar words include 竄繞 'to disturb (peace with an act of terrorism &c)' and 竄逃 'to flee (in a hasty manner)'. Then there's 篡 which is also read cuàn; it means 'to usurp; to seize (power) (in an unlawful way)' as in 篡位 'to seize the throne' and is, I'd say, undoubtedly linked to 竄.

And then there is, conveniently, another word, 竄犯 cuànfàn, which almost sounds like cuànfǎng and means 'to invade (a foreign territory)', as in 俄國竄犯了烏克蘭. There's the possibility that the powers that be want everyone to understand clearly that Pelosi's visit is essentially an act of 竄犯 'violation of (China's) territory' when for diplomatic reasons they prefer to soften that somewhat to 竄訪 'an ill-intended visit'.

It is of course important to understand that any military activities on one or more sides of the Taiwan street that happened to coincide with Pelosi's visit did so by pure chance, having been long planned in advance.



(derog.) (of a prominent figure) to visit (another country) (used when one disapproves of the visit for political reasons)

The 窜 in 窜访 refers to 流窜:

to roam all over the place / to go into every nook and corner / to infiltrate / (of criminals, enemies etc) to be on the run / to flee and try to hide


"竄" literally means mouse(mice) running around, leaping, or fleeing for life, which does not make sense when linked to the action/event "to visit". So, what "竄訪" means in this news title?

Well, the answer lies in the famous Chinese idiom - "相罵無好言", which occurs often in heated debate/disputes with one, or both, involved parties using derogative words/terms to insult the other in order to "feel" the owning of the "upper-hand" in the event - "聲勢上壓倒對方".

The usual term describing a government official's visiting activity is "造訪", however, this is a neutral term that does not reflect the deep displeasure, regret, or resentment, of the reporting party over such activity, thus, "造" is replaced by the derogative word "竄" to imply the visit is liking "a mouse/rodent going to visit", to humiliate the offender - in this case, Nancy Pelosi.

The use of derogative words/terms is seeking the attention of those like-mind, the vast of, Chinese people (嘩眾取寵), gaining favors of the government, and telling the US - "We own the freedom too - to humilitate your hi-ranking political leaders openly".

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