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Fugitive’s peppery arrest, jianbing gets rules, teachers become lab rats—it’s Viral Week

Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the previous weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are chatting about. 

This week, jianbing gets the rules many have requested, teachers are forced to drink the milk, and fans express worry over the health of actor Jet Li. But first, we catch up with our friends at the PSB…

Cops catch crims

Pop star Jacky Cheung may have recently been dubbed the “enemy of fugitives,” after three suspects were caught separately at concerts in Nanchang, Ganzhou and Jiaxing by police using facial-recognition technology in the past two months.

But it was old-fashioned policing that allowed a Hangzhou police officer to identify a suspect on the run for three years— through a single glance in a crowed hot pot restaurant while on vacation in Chongqing.

Before the 30-year-old Zhang Hongyi left for the holiday, his supervisor at the PSB apparently joked that it would be great if he could bring back some fugitives from Chongqing as gifts. Zhang actually took the remark seriously and examined the case profiles of outstanding warrants with a hometown in Chongqing.

“There are a billion people in the country; in another province, [I] ran into the cop in charge of my case, and he happened to recognize me: I am speechless,” the suspect, wanted for organizing prostitution back in Hangzhou, later told police. Zhang cut his vacation short, but, as promised, brought back the ideal gift.

If the milk turns out to be sour…

About 1,200 years ago,  Tang essayist Han Yu, defined teachers’ responsibilities in his famous essay “On Teachers” as to “transmit wisdom, impart knowledge and solve doubt.” But recently, the Bureau of Education and Sports in Xiaoxian county, Anhui province decided to ask for more—requiring teachers to taste potentially harmful milk for their students’ safety.

Students in Xiaoxian drink milk distributed by the school every day, but safety issues, revealed online, interrupted the supply recently. When it was restored on May 28, the Bureau of Education and Sport ordered teachers in all schools affected to taste the new milk every time before distributing. Should no teacher fall sick after an hour, the milk would be deemed safe for distribution; if teachers didn’t follow this regulation with any serious consequence, they would be “severely dealt with.”

The notice outraged many, who concluded it was unfair and humiliating to treat teachers as “experimental mice.” Finally, authorities responded to the controversy, saying they were just trying to ensure the students’ security—but have scrapped plans to treat teachers as guinea pigs.

Jianbing Watch: Street snack standardized

If you buy a 5 RMB jianbing (煎饼) for breakfast every morning before work, be sure to read our guide to authenticity. Or you can check it meets new standards, published over the weekend by the Tianjin Food Industry, on its traditional cuisine’s manufacture and technical specifications—and jianbing is included.

Translated as “Chinese savory crepe”, the new rules specify the kind of ingredients and condiments allowed, and even how to wrap and sell it. According to the standard, the dough flour should be made of mung beans, the diameter of a jianbing should be around 38 to 45 centimeters, and it must be consumed within two hours of manufacture.

Netizens had a huge debate on how authentic Tianjin jianbing should be when the documentary A Bite of China 3 aired early this year. The documentary asserted that baocui (薄脆, deep-fried crunchy wafer) is the soul of a jianbing, but  Tianjingers who assert that the bing belongs to them believe that guozi (果子, deep-fried dough stick) is the centerpiece.

Viewers also criticized how one stall-owner called guozi “youtiao” (油条, the same thing as guozi), and how jianbing are no longer authentic if ingredients like sausages and lettuce are added. However, some are still not satisfied after the technical specifications were published. Lots of commenters argue that the only standard of all food is whether it tastes good or not; others say the standards are nonsense, since no one would actually measure the radius of a jianbing. Then there are a few asking the real question: “If the jianbing I bought does not meet the standard, where can I file a complaint?”


TWOC‘s editors are a bilingual, international team that is always on the lookout for original and human-centered stories to share with our readers. We are dedicated to accuracy, objectivity, and looking at each of China's stories through the eyes of its participants. Get in touch through our About Us page if you have a story to pitch!

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