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 coffee chain cooks the books, a man goes under never-ending quarantine, Covid-19 headlines are copied, and Chinese sweep tombs from home:
Much-hyped domestic chain Luckin Coffee is under investigation for fabricating trading volumes to the tune of 2.2 billion RMB in its 2019 audit report, causing an 80 percent drop in the company’s share prices on April 2 and panic-buying from consumers, who were concerned that their coffee coupons might expire in the scandal.
Zhang Jingjing,a medical worker from Shandong province, died from cardiac arrest on the last day of her 14-day quarantine after returning from frontline Covid-19 relief work in Wuhan.
Having completed his 14-day quarantine after returning from the Philippines, an extra-cautious man in Shandong province continued to stay indoors for a total of 42 days after meeting his neighbor, who returned from South Korea, and then his brother, from Singapore, voluntarily restarting his confinement after each encounter.
The manager of a grain store in Shandong province has been detained for fabricating rumors in a WeChat group that rice and other grain supplies were running out in his city in order to increase his sales.
A man in Fujian province, who was detained by police in March for fabricating fake news, has confessed to posting interchangeable articles to various WeChat accounts with clickbait headlines that follow the template: “X country under Covid-19” or “X Country has lost control [over Covid-19]: X country’s Chinese merchants in trouble!” Written to attract WeChat followers, the articles are accused of inciting large numbers of panicked overseas Chinese to return to China and potentially import the disease.
Mountain of tourists
While Huangshan Mountain drew only one visitor on its first day of re-opening after Covid-19 shutdowns, the scenic area stated on Weibo on that it had already hit its 20,000 daily visitor cap by 7:48 a.m. on the second day of last weekend’s Qingming holiday, warning the public not to let down their guard too early.
A commercial space rocket was sold via Taobao livestream for 40 million RMB (a discount of 5 million RMB) on April 1, which the e-commerce platform confirmed was no April Fool’s joke. The livestream, watched by millions, saw over 800 potential buyers pay a 500,000 RMB deposit, with the rocket eventually sold to Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd.
Mourning from home
Nearly 13.4 million people paid respects to their ancestors online on Saturday’s Qingming “Tomb Sweeping” Festival, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, writing messages for their deceased family on web platforms instead of traveling physically to the tombs during the pandemic. The Ministry also reported 228,500 physical “tomb-sweeping by proxy” ceremonies held by funeral homes and streamed to mourners.
Qingming by chalk
A primary school art teacher in Shanxi province spent three months making a chalk copy of “The Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival,” a famous 25-meter painting from the Song dynasty, on eight blackboards.
Forest fires in western Sichuan province have claimed the lives of 18 firefighters and one guide to date. A red envelope sent out in a WeChat group, meant to support some of the 3,600 firefighters battling the flames, was “snatched” by two other members who then exited the group. Tracked down by the cyber authorities, the culprits have since returned the money and undergone “criticism and education.”
Snake on windshield
A driver in Sichuan province was terrified to see a 2-meter long snake suddenly fall onto his windshield while driving.
Cover image from VCG