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The Viral Week That Was: Part 4

Lonely grandmas, Sochi jokes, and cracking down on China's sex capital...


The nationwide week of carnival and indulgence has officially ended. One week after chuxi, Chinese are back to work. For a few days straight, social media were dominated by posts regarding the Spring Festival Gala (chunwan, 春晚), and a CCTV television show whose national audience perhaps is on par with the Super Bowl. Soon after, Sochi became a source of inspiration for jokes and memes for Chinese netizens. All in all a thorough memes orgy.

1.  Spring Festival Eve

野犬_up: 大年夜,肯德基,三个人,这才是所谓的闺蜜吧..却有种莫名的伤感..

野犬_up: On the eve of the Spring Festival, three old ladies, in KFC, perhaps these are the so-called BFFs… 

Perhaps proof that there is no general law of what can go viral on Chinese social media, the above picture, taken on the night of the Spring Festival Gala, was retweeted over 96,000 times (not counting the retweets from the original Weibo reposted by news agencies). Some netizens question where these old ladies’ children were, and why they didn’t spend the most important night of the year with their families, some were touched by their friendship and wished that their ‘Best Friend’s Forever’ would, one day, do the same with them. But most felt sad for the old gals, which was rich considering they were mindlessly checking their Weibo feeds while watching chunwan with their families.

2. Son and Father, Before and After

During the Spring Festival Gala, a series of photos of a girl growing up with her father over 30 years moved audiences to tears. From a toddler to a grown woman, her father stands beaming by her side in each picture; the nation was moved by this familial love. A couple of days later, another set of photos circulated online.

Here is why the post that went viral:

“‘Photo of me and my dad before and after 22 years — 22 years ago I was 12 and dad was 43, yesterday my old man was 65 and I 34’. When I read the title I thought it would be a heart-warming tear-jerker about flying times, but after I clicked on it…”

son and father


3. Sochi Winter Olympics

Sochi became a hot topic internationally (and ridiculed) because of the Winter Olympics, and Russia’s newly effective anti-gay law that raised global outcry (Google even changed its doodle). Chinese netizens on the other hand, focused on this:


@小野妹子学吐槽: When watching the relay broadcast, for a second I doubted this was the Winter Olympics, but the 22nd annual world snow beauty knitting competition…


Above: “During the competition he was still fine…” Below: “During the awarding his hairstyle became this…”


And a little fun with the national flag can't hurt...

And a little fun with the national flag can’t hurt…

Of course, like the rest of the world, Chinese netizens went crazy over the Sochi Olympic rings glitch. Comments mostly centered on making gay related riffs, such as @好好说话会死星人_‘s comment: “Four gays and a straight man”.

sochi 5 rings


Weibo dedicated a trending topic to this incident: “五环变四环” (Five Rings Turns to Four Rings). Then companies realized this was the perfect opportunity for them to make Sochi’s inadequacy a marketing campaign by filling-in the missing ring for Sochi:

marketing sochi


A picture that originated on Tumblr also went viral on Weibo. As the most installed browser on computers in China, netizens never much liked Internet Explorer, especially since many Chinese are still using pirated Windows XP…

browser sochi


4. CCTV and Dongguan

It is the new Year of the Horse, and for its first target, CCTV has finally picked something not foreign owned (such as KFC, McDonald’s, and Starbucks): Dongguan, the sex capital of the orient. CCTV News started the tag “CCTV Expose Dongguan’s Sex Industry”, accompanied with a 25-minute video:

央视新闻: During the Spring Festival, underground sex industry Guangdong’s Dongguan overflowed with prostitution. CCTV reporter visited several times in disguise to reveal the obscene erotic underground world: 1. Strip dancing in KTV, bold sex services; 2. No accommodation in hotels, the so-called “talent competition” is in fact prostitution; 3. “Naked dance talent competition” in 5-star hotels, prostitutes were marked with price; 4. Over 20 types of sexual “Dongguan style service”, obscenity becomes the competitive factor across businesses.

CCTV followed with other details, such as the police not responding to the reporter’s calls, customers getting fapiao for their expenses, and that 12 locations had been closed down. Netizens, on the other hand, were split. Another trending Weibo topic was: “Dongguan, keep strong”, which called for netizens’ to support Dongguan to fight against CCTV’s crackdown.

“When CCTV

“When CCTV said McDonald’s were bad, we went to support McDonald’s. When CCTV said Starbucks was bad, we went to support Starbucks. When CCTV said Apple was bad, we went to support Apple; Now, CCTV is onto Dongguan!”


@司令本: Saw the news of CCTV exposing Dongguan’s sex industry today, and felt that people who work in this industry had terrible senses of defense! About CCTV exposing Dongguan’s sex industry, the whole world knows it, what’s the point of exposing it now? CCTV reporters don’t need to keep filming these erotic scenes. If they really are capable, shoot corruption, food safety problems, medical care scandals, social security problems, blood-stained forced demolitions… Dare to or not?@痞师傅: Who says long-distance relationships never work? Bro is giving you blessings here, xoxo:

Edward Wu:

Edward Wu: My girlfriend says her factory in Dongguan is shutting down, and she is coming back to get married with me. So happy…

夜樱重奏: Is this a sign to let me give up Sina Weibo? “Dongguan, stay strong” I really don’t understand why this kind of Weibo topic would appear, how is it wrong to expose this kind of industry? Is it wrong for CCTV to expose this industry? Does this society not need to fight against pornography? CCTV’s secret visit this time did nothing wrong at all. All these “keep on Dongguan”, “Stay strong Dongguan”, are you people retarded?

But even the United Nations posted a Weibo in regards to prostitution, pointing out that “sex workers should enjoy the right to choose their jobs as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against or humiliated for their career choice.”

And lastly, this map shows that within 8 hours after CCTV’s crackdown, people in Dongguan left the sex capital for these cities:

The city that has the most returnees from Dongguan is Hong Kong

The city that has the most returnees from Dongguan is Hong Kong

5. Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird has made the whole world’s players miserable, yet they are happy in their misery. Under the Weibo topic FlappyBird, netizens are all reveling in love-hate relationships with themselves and this clumsy bird. The topic even claims: “if you are looking for a boyfriend, find one who can get a high score on Flappy Bird…”

@微博新鲜事: Flappy Bird has made me realize many truths: 1. Life is sh*t/like a bird. 2. If you don’t keep flying with your life, you’ll fall to death, if you fly too much you’ll crash into death. 3. Complaining and getting upset will make death come sooner, being calm and peaceful will make living longer. 4. Sooner or later you’ll still die.

They all understand why this would happen:

flappy bird

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