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, there’s a bizarre turnip theft and a deadly massage; skateboarders roll to the rescue, and a serial killer is apprehended after two decades—and already getting interest from movie studios:
After an elderly couple on board received news of a family member’s death, a plane at the returned to its gate at the Hangzhou Airport though it was already taxiing to the runway. This has led netizens to debate the value of empathy for the couple versus respect for the other passengers’ time—and a handful to point out that the couple obviously did not turn off their phones before the flight.
Police in Wuhan are investigating the strange incident of Chen Delin, a farmer who saw 200 mu (1,333 acres) of his turnips, worth 300,000 RMB, uprooted by thousands of strangers who’d read an internet rumor that he was giving them out for free.
Tragedy on the tracks
Two maintenance workers were struck and killed by an empty high-speed train on Friday due to a miscommunication, as their supervisor had sent a message asking them to remain on the tracks by WeChat rather than the official channels.
A recent “lost tourist” broadcast at Beijing’s Palace Museum was greeted with giggles when it asked a tour guide, who had apparently gotten lost inside the mammoth tourist attraction, to meet his group at the exit.
A 4-month-old infant in Xi’an died from multiple organ failure after undergoing a traditional Chinese tui na massage at the recommendation of a doctor. Two medical staff at the doctor’s clinic have been suspended while the incident goes under investigation.
After spending over 20 years on the run, Lao Rongzhi, a serial killer notorious for kidnapping, extorting, and murdering seven people in the late 1990s, was finally captured by police in Xiamen in late November (Lan’s boyfriend and accomplice Fa Ziying was arrested and sentenced to death in 1999). The novelty of a female fugitive serial killer seems to have captured the public’s imagination, so much that several studios have already announced intentions to make a movie based on Lao’s crimes.
Roll and rescue
Several skateboarders in Chengdu were hailed for their heroics after rescuing a young woman from an attack by a mentally disturbed man near a shopping center, upending the common stereotype of skateboarders as delinquents.
The price of homework
An 8-year-old boy from Changsha was rushed to the hospital to remove a 1 RMB coin he’d swallowed to get out of doing homework—successfully, it would seem.
A 22-year-old man in Shangrao, Jiangxi, was detained for scratching a BMW at a dealership in a not-so-clever ploy to force his father to buy the car for him.
Cover Image by David Yu from Pexels