Catch Phrase | 清零 (qīnglíng)

Writer: Li Dan  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-08-19


“清” means “to clean,” and “零” means “zero.” It can be translated as “back to zero.” Originally, this term was often associated with the practice of resetting a computer, removing the files and cleaning the drives. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we also hear a lot of the term being used in the talk about outbreaks and new infection numbers. For example, “动态清零” (dòngtài qīnglíng)is translated as “dynamic zero-COVID.” Chinese netizens also jokingly use the term to refer to the idea of “having nothing left,” as in their bank account.


A: 能借我一千块钱吗?下周发工资就还你。

Néng jiè wǒ yīqiānkuài qián ma? Xiàzhōu fā gōngzī jiù huán nǐ。

Can you lend me a grand? I will pay you back next week when I receive my salary.

B: 你最近买买买了吗?

Nǐ zuìjìn mǎimǎimǎi le ma?

Did you buy a lot of stuff lately?

A: 是的,我的银行账户和微信零钱都清零了。

Shì de, wǒ de yínháng zhànghù hé wēixìn língqián dōu qīnglíng le。

Yes. Both my bank savings and WeChat Pay balance are back to zero.