Jianghu in modern times
The term jianghu is linked to cultures other than those pertaining to martial arts in wuxia stories. It is also applied to anarchic societies. For instance, the triads and other Chinese secret societies use the term jianghu to describe their world of organised crime. Sometimes, the term jianghu may be replaced by the term "underworld" à la "criminal underworld".
In modern terminology, jianghu may mean any circle of interest, ranging from the entertainment industry to sports. Colloquially, retirement is also referred to as "leaving the jianghu" (退出江湖). In wuxia stories, when a reputable fighter decides to retire from the jianghu, he will do so in a ceremony known as "washing hands in the golden basin" (金盆洗手). He washes his hands in a golden basin filled with water, signifying that he will no longer be involved in the affairs of the jianghu. When a reclusive fighter who has retired from the jianghu reappears, his return is described as "re-entering the jianghu" (重出江湖).