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Viral Week Ep. 188

Starbucks cup brawl, out-of-shape burglar, vicious debt cycle, and WeChat’s celebrity prejudice—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.

This week, a shocking cycle of debt, an out-of-shape burglar, brawls in Starbucks, and a WeChat translation fail—but first an historic discovery…

“Elixir of Life” found 

The “immortality elixir,” containing ingredients for an ancient Daoist cure for death, was excavated from a Western Han tomb—suggesting the product was defective, to say the least

Debt crisis
A Hebei man’s decision to borrow 1,500 RMB in November has highlighted the iniquities of the lending industry. After using other apps to pay down the debt, he now owes an astonishing 550,000 RMB in fees

Run down
A burglar who blamed his lack of fitness for getting caught in 2016 may need to think again. After allegedly spending six months exercising, he was recently caught again committing another burglary in the same area

Craze for cups
Starbucks’ limited-edition “cat paw” cups have sparked brawls between customers (and scalpers), with prices soaring on Taobao—where naturally, knockoffs are now widely available

Toothsome challenge
In Weibo’s “Front Teeth Challenge,” people post photos of themselves smiling…and, yeah, that’s about it

Translation troubles
WeChat’s English-Chinese function is apparently “prejudiced” when translating expressions such as “you are so [celebrity’s name].” The app has apologized and blamed an AI flaw

Kris Wu is “cute,” Cai Xukun is an “idiot,” TFBoys are “great,” Lay is boring, Kobe has a lot of daughters, and Tencent founder “Pony” Ma is “so masculine,” according to (Tencent’s messaging app) WeChat


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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