Shanghai on lockdown, train tyrant gets blacklisted (but not molester), Chongqing bus revelations, and anchor unrattled by earthquake—it’s Viral Week
Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, tracking the rumors, humor, and gossip that Chinese netizens are chatting about. It’s like saying out loud what you’ve been thinking about all weekend…
This week, a tremor on TV, a child molester walking away scot-free, a new social credit blacklist, and tragic revelations to a Chongqing bus crash. But first…
Guest checking into the W Hotel in Shanghai this week got a little extra with their room—the option to get the hell out, or face having a uniformed policeman as a roommate. It’s all part of the security frenzy that accompanies the leaders’ visits, this time ahead of the lackluster-looking China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Family fondler goes free
Chinese police don’t apparently consider sexual molestation a crime, if it’s all within the family. A disturbing video of a 30-year-old man called Zhou getting extremely handsy on a train with his 5-year-old daughter (while sitting between his wife and the child’s grandmother, no less), prompted news reports and demands for an investigation. But cops in Nanchang say that, despite the child’s clear protests in the video, they are satisfied that “Zhou’s behavior shown in the video does not constitute molesting,” citing the family relationship as evidence.
Reactions to the official notice were uniformly negative. “This statement is even more disgusting than the video itself,” one commented. Others, including several fathers, protested that this behavior was decidedly not normal nor acceptable, charity Girls Protection Fund issued a restrained statement of disapproval, while author Fan Fan (樊帆) pointed out that 15 percent of molestation cases reported in the media in 2017 involved a family member.
When his studio was hit by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake on the afternoon of October 31, a Xichang TV anchor told his staff inSichuanese “Wait, wait, don’t panic, let’s continue [filming].” Instead, the studio was evacuated and the anchor later apologized for his complacency, admitting, that in such emergencies, one should always drop everything and seek shelter.
Bust-up causes bus down
Footage of what caused a bus to drive off a bridge in Chongqing into the Yangtze River last week, killing 15 aboard, showed the incident was caused by a scuffle between the driver and a passenger, surname Liu, who got physical after the bus took a different route to avoid roadwork, preventing Liu from getting off at her usual stop (passengers had been duly informed of the change at the preceding station).
Disruptive passengers have become a regular feature of news reports on public transport (see below), and one city, Nanjing, now proposes to address the problem by installing partitions in the cab, and rewarding wěiqujiǎng (委屈奖, “Grievance Bonuses”) to drivers who don’t hit back. Most people are down with the security measures, but not so much the handouts for tolerating abuse.
Netizens are cheering the release of a new passenger blacklist for ill-mannered train passengers, with one of China’s notorious “seat-hogs” singled out for jeering.
On September 19, a Ms. Zhou was fined 200 RMB for occupying another passenger’s seat and refusing to move when asked. A lack of enforcement was thought to be behind a recent epidemic of “seat despotism,” and many hoped for the National Railway Administration’s list to include a lifetime ban, rather than the maximum 180 days. Other actions that can land you on no-ride or no-fly lists include: scalping tickets, smoking, bringing dangerous items, making up rumors, and being in debt (though the latter only gets one banned from flights, soft sleepers, and first-class seats or above on high speed trains).