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Viral Week Ep. 237

Hotel collapse, quarantine at a cost, lobster price plummets, and residents angry over “staged” visit—protecting against Covid-19 remains a central part of life

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, residents complain of stage managed visits, disinfection and quarantine get costly, sexism continues to blight Women’s Day, and a food stall has record sales:

Fake news

An official’s visit to a residential area in Wuhan was disrupted by angry residents shouting “It’s all fake!” from their apartments. Vice-premier Sun Chunlan was inspecting the work of local cadres implementing disease prevention measures, but local residents complained that the area had been cleaned up specially for her visit.

Starved for liangpi

A family in Xi’an that reopened their liangpi cart saw lines of customers extending down the street; one man ordered 500 servings of the cold rice noodles, while another customer reportedly came from 20 km away to have a bite.

The cost of quarantine

After working on the construction of Huoshenshan, the Wuhan emergency hospital that took only ten days to finish, two construction workers returned to their hometown and were charged 4,200 RMB by the local government to spend 14 days in a designated quarantine hotel (the workers likely earned just 4,500 RMB for their work on the hospital). The government has refunded the workers and fired the official in charge of quarantine affairs.

Lost in Wuhan

A 28-year-old man from northeastern China, traveling to Changsha, ended up in coronavirus-stricken Wuhan by mistake after he entered a sectioned-off carriage on the train for Wuhanese passengers returning home. Unable to leave the city again, he has been working for the past month as a custodian in a front-line hospital.

Low-priced lobsters

The cancellation of flights between the US and many Asian countries has resulted in thousands of pounds of unsold lobster flooding the market—dropping the price of lobsters in the US to a four-year low, and earning the envy of Chinese foodies.

Marriage strains

Since they reopened last week, 17 marriage registration offices in Xi’an have reported increases in couples coming to get a divorce, many citing conflicts while they were quarantined at home together.

Burning cash

A woman, surnamed Li, in Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, placed 3,000 RMB into a microwave oven to “disinfect” it. Unsurprisingly, all the money was scorched and destroyed, though CITIC Bank kindly agreed to compensate Ms. Li the amount of her loss. 

Thief locked down

On March 2, a 22-year-old woman surnamed Yang entered a Guangzhou hospital’s isolation ward for COVID-19 patients…in order to steal a patient’s mobile phone. Yang was found by the police the next day, taken to the hospital, and placed in isolation herself.

Collapsed in quarantine

A designated Covid-19 quarantine hotel in Quanzhou, Fujian province, collapsed, killing 10 people, with dozens more still trapped beneath the rubble. Authorities are investigating whether renovation work carried out on the ground floor was to blame.

Higher education

Amid complaints and sad stories about classes streamed online, a Hefei mother was amused to find her first-grade son mistakenly studying a senior high school chemistry class, having opened the wrong video. The engrossed boy insisted on finishing the lesson and taking notes.

Women’s Day sexism 

On International Women’s Day, actress Xin Zhilei posted a promotional message for luxury brand Chanel on Weibo with the slogan, “Women who don’t know how to use perfume have no future.” A number of offended Weibo users left criticism under the post, and Xin deleted the message soon after.

Cover image from VCG


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