"Covid-19 comes back, driver fakes assault, kids imitate paintings, and homeowner disappoints thief—it’s Viral Week"
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, Covid-19 comes back to Beijing, civil affairs bureaus complicate marriage and divorce, kids imitate famous paintings, and a thief is disappointed:
Beijing’s 56-day streak of no Covid-19 cases was broken on June 11 when a new locally transmitted case was diagnosed in Xicheng district. At the time of writing, 36 positive cases have been confirmed in Beijing, all connected with the Xinfadi Wholesale Market in Fengtai district. Eleven surrounding communities and several other wholesale markets in the city have been closed off, and residents and workers tested.
Film insiders are mourning the death of Huang Wei, vice president of Bona Film Group, one of the country’s biggest film production and distribution companies, who is suspected to have committed suicide in the early morning of June 10. Though sources cited in Chinese media state that the 52-year-old Huang faced personal struggles that had nothing to do with the state of the industry, his death has triggered fear and anxiety over the future of China’s film market after Covid-19.
An alleged Didi driver who was being investigated for drugging and sexual assaulting a female passenger in his vehicle—and livestreaming this to an audience—has turned out not to be employed by the ride-hailing app at all, and was married to his “victim.” The couple appears to have staged the assault to gain views online, and both husband and wife have been detained by the police.
Torrential rainfall caused flooding across much of southern China, affecting approximately 2.3 million people; hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes, and there are at least 20 dead. In Suixi, Anhui province, teachers built a makeshift wooden bridge across the flooded school grounds so that students could continue to attend class.
Test of love
Police fined a woman from Henan province 500 RMB for faking her own kidnapping allegedly to test her husband’s devotion to her after she hadn’t received any hongbao during the “521” Lovers’ Day festival. Pretending to be her own kidnapper, the woman messaged her husband asking for 30,000 RMB in “ransom,” but her husband instead called the police, which dispatched around 150 officers (including armed responders) to the location of the call.
Art of imitation
An elementary school in Shaanxi province held an online activity where students were encouraged to recreate famous paintings through cosplay. Hundreds of students took part, reenacting works such as Van Gogh’s self-portrait and Édouard Manet’s “The Fifer.”
Five years after she lost her ID card, a Guangxi woman has finally able to clear records of a marriage—and divorce—registered under her name. The woman discovered the identity theft last November when she wanted to get married. Since then, she had made repeated unsuccessful efforts to annul the records at the Hebei civil affairs bureau where the original marriage and divorce were registered, and to sue the bureau.
A visually impaired woman in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region allegedly had to practice signing her name for a year before her divorce application could be processed, as the local civil affairs bureau declined her signature for not being up to standards.
A Ms. Li in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, was ecstatic to find herself the winner of over 7 million RMB in a lottery—only to discover that her ticket was faked by the seller, who had simply sent her a PhotoShopped picture of a lottery ticket on WeChat. The seller has agreed to pay Ms. Li 150,000 RMB compensation and has been arrested for forgery.
Returning to her vacant home in Heilongjiang province, a Ms. Zhang was annoyed to find the words “So poor!” written by a thief in lipstick on her window. Apparently, the thief had broken in, and was disappointed to find nothing worth stealing except some coins, biscuits, and ham sausages.
A “post-90s” couple in Guangxi, who have become famous for having nine children (with a tenth on the way) despite their young age, are worried that their children may be taken away, as many strangers have called or even come in person offering to “foster” the children after news reports on their situation went viral.