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, authorities encourage staring into space, chickens stampede, New Year celebrations come early to Shanghai, and China loses another fish species:
China Airlines has suspended a flight attendant accused of releasing the personal information of famous passengers on Weibo, including flight details and dates of birth of celebrities such as TV host Ju Ping and actor Jing Boran.
China’s Cyberspace Administration has published new guidelines outlawing certain types of data collection by mobile app users. Among other rules, app developers will be required to disclose why they collect user data such as ID cards and location, and are prohibited from sharing the data with third party organizations without the user’s permission.
Spaced out, 2020
The National Health Commission updated its healthy living guidelines to include a suggestion of “spacing out” (发呆) for at least five minutes a day.
New Year comes early
An epic drone display helped Shanghai-ers welcome in 2020…a few days early. The display, which was shown across China and the world, was actually prerecorded days earlier, disappointing the revelers who arrived at the Bund hoping to catch the show on New Year’s Eve.
On the night of his 50th birthday, a Mr. Rao from a village near Yibin, Sichuan, set off fireworks to celebrate. Hours later, he was informed that his noisy festivities had frightened chickens at a nearby farm into a stampede, with 246 birds being trampled to death. Mr. Rao has yet to reach an agreement over compensation with the chickens’ owner, who is demanding 15,000 RMB.
Save our balloon
Concerned neighbors in a Guiyang called police when they saw a message spelling “SOS” in the window of a building opposite. A number of officers arrived at the apartment to find a startled and unharmed woman who, it turned out, had put up balloons spelling “2020”—only one of them balloons had deflated.
A well-known childcare blogger with over a million followers on Weibo first boasted about, and then apologized for, leaving her 6-year-old daughter alone at home as punishment for not finishing her homework on time while the rest of the family went on a weekend trip.
Wang Li (pseudonym), the second-place candidate for a government job after the 2018 national civil service examination, was sentenced to 8 months and a 10,000 RMB fine by Beijing’s Shunyi Court on December 26 for hiring a man to drug the first-place candidate in order to get her disqualified. The hired man, who Wang contacted via a “rent a boyfriend” advertisement and paid 20,000 RMB for the act, was handed the same sentence.
The white sturgeon, once called the “king of Chinese freshwater fish,” was declared extinct by experts on January 3. It was last sighted by scientists in 2003. While fishermen used to catch up to 3 tons of the fish annually in the 1970s, scientists believe that the Three Gorges Dam and Sichuan Gezhouba Dam have disrupted its migration path, food supply, and spawning areas.
On January 1, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced a 10-year ban on commercial fishing in the Yangtze River.
(Un)lucky number eight
Last October, a Mr. Yang from Shaanxi province found that his 10-year-old “lucky” telephone number, ending in four 8s, had been de-registered without notice because he owed 28 RMB on his account. Now, China Unicom is demanding that he pay 800 RMB a month for 20 years, or 192,000 RMB in total, in order to continue using the highly prized number.
Cover image from Pixabay