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Boycotted bakery, ass-kicked Audi, toll-booth tussle, and a street-sweeper scam—it’s Viral Week

Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are chatting about. Think of this as an antidote to tariffs and trade talks. 

This weekend, netizens were boycotting a bakery that happened to get visited by a renegade leader, arguing over who was to blame in the oddest three-way traffic accident in recent years, and tutting over the bizarre behavior of some local environmental inspectors. But first…

For whom the toll booth tolls?

A debate has ensued about the actions taken by workers at a Harbin toll booth, after man tried to drive his unlicensed vehicle without paying. Instead of calling police or passing the cam footage of the errant driver to the authorities, the toll collector took matters hurled a large rock at the fleeing Nissan, which went straight though the window and badly injured the driver’s 4-year-old daughter.

The resulting row has focused on who was to blame: Clearly, the driver bears responsibility for attempting an illegal getaway and putting the child in harm’s way, but the workers’ low-tech violent solution suggests a complete lack of training or best practice for handling such an eventuality—which, apart from collecting cash, is pretty much the sole purpose of their job…

Audi gets ass-kicked

It sounds like the setup for a classic joke: a bulldog, a donkey, and a Audi get into a traffic accident…but last week’s pile-up in Shenyang, Liaoning province was no joke for the parties involved. Things began when a bulldog being driven to a vet jumped out the car window and bit a donkey pulling a cart of fruit. The startled animal kicked, and struck a nearby Audi, causing damage of about 100,000 RMB (video from ifeng.com):

Anyone who was witnessed the slightest traffic prang in China will know what happens next: A massive roadside row that boils down the question of who is going to compensate whom. Police were invited to mediate. In this case, traffic cops first pinned the blame on the donkey, but the donkey’s owner insisted the dog was at fault. To complicate matters even more, another witness said the dog had been scared because the Audi’s driver suddenly sounded his horn.

While netizens jokingly (and legitimately) call this “the most difficult accident to determine responsibility,” the local police have since announced that the dog and car’s owners have agreed on a settlement. No specific number was revealed, but Team Donkey will be relieved that their ass was finally acquitted.

Street sweeper scammed

Last Tuesday, an ethically dubious form of street inspection drew claims of a stitch-up against sweepers in Lianhu District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province,  two well-dressed women were caught on video dumping a pail full of cigarettes butts on the streets, taking pictures of the mess, and leaving without a word.

A few moments later, a male sweeper by the surname of name Li comes over to clear up, and angrily remarks that this is not the first time he has been “framed” for negligence—a previous instance landed him with a 200 RMB fine. This time,  a nearby shop-owner came to the rescue with video footage of the women, whom Mr. Li recognized as ones who “often come and inspect us [street sweepers]”.


In response, the Lianhu District Publicity Bureau released an official statement on Weibo, stating that the two women were “undercover” checking whether the sweepers were diligent, adding that the mess was not cleared up in a “timely fashion.” As the footage contradicts this, the case no doubt continues…


In other news

Netizens call for national boycott of Taiwan-based 85 Degree Celsius Bakery chain, after one of its locations in Los Angeles was visited by Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, causing shares to plunge. Perhaps not the best timing, when you’re in the middle of a tariff war and demanding free and fair trade for foreign companies…

More road rage as a car plunges into pedestrians in Liuzhou, and the driver gets out and starts stabbing pedestrians in what seems to be a shocking and still developing incident…


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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