Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are chatting about. It’s a dose of Alka Seltzer after a weekend of baijiu.
This week, a movie star goes missing, fourth graders count rice, and rainbow trout sales are swimming rapidly downstream after a bizarre decision, but first…
Kindergartener sent to wrong school
On September 7, a kindergarten in Baoshan district, Shanghai found they got one extra pupil and reported the matter to the police.
As the 4-year-old boy could only say his own name, it took the police some time to find out his father’s contact information. It transpired that the boy’s uncle, Mr. Liu, had dropped him off, and though the boy protested several times that this was not the right kindergarten, Liu simply thought his nephew was trying to play hooky and insisted he come inside.
Though most netizens laughed off the mistake, police have warned parents to teach their kids basic safety information.
Bingbing behind bars?
The Fan Bingbing criminal case continues to play out behind closed doors—or even prison bars, if the latest rumors are to be believed.
China’s biggest movie actress has not been seen or heard from since early summer. She stopped updating her social media accounts on June 2, following sensational accusations of tax evasion by TV host Cui Yongyuan.
According to the latest reports, Fan has now been formally arrested and her prospects are bleak.
After Cui infamous accusations against Fan and several other celebrities—allegations which Fan hotly denied—the last official update from the Cannes fashion icon was that she was under investigation by Wuxi Binhu taxation bureau, where Fan’s film studio is registered. The State Administration of Taxation had ordered all bureaus to investigate the use of yin-yang he tong (阴阳合同, yin-yang contracts), a common industry scam involving two different versions of a contract, one for “internal” and one for “external” (i.e. the tax bureau’s) use.
In late July, the Economics Observer reported that 36-year-old Fan and her 18-year-old brother, Fan Chengcheng, had been banned from leaving the country and were currently under house arrest (most likely at a government-controlled hotel) while the investigation continued.
Over the weekend, the state-run Securities Daily (證券日報) reported that Fan had now been arrested, taken to prison, where she is “under control, and will accept the legal decision.” However, like the Observer’s report, the scoop was taken offline within hours—possibly because one source said the yin-yang contract were the “tip of the iceberg” involving illegal loans and more corruption. If so, Fan’s acting career is likely over, in favor of new life as another celebrity victim of the anti-corruption campaign.
Salmon sales sink
A recent ruling issued by the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), re-classifying rainbow trout as salmon, has sent sales plunging to a watery grave.
Is it salmon or rainbow trout? Both, insists the CAPPMA (Wikipedia)
After years of scammers doing the same thing unofficially, the business alliance decided to officially re-label “group standards of salmon for raw consumption.” The logic appeared to be that if you can’t beat them, legalize them, but the proposal was met with immediate derision and anger at how a business alliance should show such a complacent attitude toward consumers.
Accordingly sales have now dramatically dropped, with one of the main companies that proposed the change, the Qinghai Minze Longyangxia Ecological Aquaculture, slashing its prices on Tmall, and several other major salmon stores on JD.com closing their accounts. So now that rainbow trout is salmon, neither are selling well, and the CAPPMA, apparently committed to its own disastrous decision, has an upstream battle on its hands.
To the last grain
Last week, an “innovative” math assignment saw a class of fourth-grade students in Foshan, Guangdong province, counting 100 million grains of rice (by hand) to take to school the next day, according to screenshots of a QQ conversation between the teacher, Ms. Su, and students’ parents.
Netizens estimated that the task would be equivalent to counting non-stop, 24 hours a day, for over a year, and the rice would weigh 8,333 kilograms.
Faced with public criticism, Su explained to the Southern Metropolis News that she had intended to inspire students to learn to estimate using innovative methods, instead of “actually” counting the grains—exactly the opposite of what she actually said, according to the QQ screenshots, which were, apparently, taken out of context.
According to Su, about 10 out of 40 students finished the task; it’s unclear how she was able to verify this.
Cover image from YouTube