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Viral Week Ep. 239

Whistleblower’s apology, deadly village blockade, runners under quarantine, and patriotic eating—life in China slowly returns to normal after Covid-19

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 whistleblower finally gets his apology, a jogger flouts quarantine, a village blockade turns deadly, and officials eat for the nation:

Apologize too late

Wuhan’s police department have revoked their letter of reprimand for the late Dr. Li Wenliang, who raised early alarm on the coronavirus outbreak in December but was accused of “spreading rumors.” Police have issued an apology to Li’s family.

Academic gifts

After a month of providing medical relief in Huanggang, Hubei province,  a doctor from Shandong province went home with a gift for his 8-year-old son: a set of exercise books based on the city’s notoriously difficult mock gaokao tests (the boy allegedly asked for the gift, though his father admits he probably thought it was some kind of food).

Running amok

An Australian-Chinese woman has been fired by her employer, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, for flouting quarantine rules in Beijing to go jogging outside without a mask. Authorities in Beijing have introduced mandatory 14-day quarantine at government facilities for passengers arriving from abroad, and some flights are being diverted from Beijing to other cities, in an attempt to prevent “imported” Covid-19 cases from spreading in the community.

Home runs

A 66-year-old marathon runner and former Beijing Olympic torchbearer, who was more conscientious of neighborhood rules, has clocked 513 kilometers of running under quarantine—by doing 1,000 laps a day between his kitchen and living room for 50 days.

Deadly blockade

While returning home from selling vegetables, a woman in Hebei province died after driving her electric scooter into a steel wire erected as a makeshift blockade on a rural road. Many villages have implemented their own “hardcore” quarantine techniques to protect against the virus, like blocking roads, although such measures have been prohibited by the central government.

Aggrieved thief

As workers across China resume employment after Covid-19, a pickpocket in Sichuan province also headed back to work—and got caught on her first day. “How can you be so busy during a disease outbreak?” she asked police, perplexed.

Eating for the nation

The lifting of quarantine measures across much of China have galvanized local officials to take up their favorite activity: creating patriotic movements. The “Down to the Restaurant” movement saw a Nanjing party secretary heroically eating duck blood vermicelli, and a Zhangjiajie party secretary drinking coffee before the backdrop of mountains, to encourage people to eat out in order to resuscitate the food and beverage industry.

Other officials took inspiration from livestreamers, and broadcast themselves selling local agricultural products.

Actor cleared

Chinese actor Gao Yunxiang and producer Wang Jing were cleared of charges that they sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel in Sydney, Australia in 2018 (though the incident is still likely to sink Gao’s career at home, due to China’s strict regulations on moral behavior of artists).

Welcome to the neighbor-hoot

After a Ms. Zhao from Henan province found a mother owl laying eggs in the pipe of her kitchen ventilator, she decided to not use the kitchen, and even moved her family out of their apartment, to give the owl family some space. Four baby owls hatched last week, and Ms. Zhao was awarded a certificate of honor by the local forestry bureau for her good deed.

Cover image by Arya C S / CC BY-SA


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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