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, official’s book gets panned, the BBC fails fried rice, a criminal hides in the justice system, and 900-year-old walls pass flood test:
In bad books
The Ping’an Scripture, an “ode to safety” authored by former Jilin public security official He Dian, has come under fire for its empty content—ten chapters of basic sentences containing the characters 平安 (ping’an, safe and sound). Despite nonsensical “wise” sayings like “One-year-old ping’an, two-year-old ping’an, three-year-old ping’an,” the book sold for 299 RMB online and received positive reviews from a number of local media outlets. He has since been fired and the book has been pulled off the shelves.
An ancient city wall built 900 years ago in today’s Shouxian county, Anhui province, has risen to the challenge of protecting residents during devastating floods in the area.
Nine officials have been investigated for allowing restaurants and bars to illegally operate in the back of a dam on the Qinhuai River in Nanjing, causing structural damage by hollowing out the dam in a year of record-level flooding on the river.
Zhao Zhiyong, member of a gang that committed a bank robbery in Xinji, Hebei province, has been caught after 22 years in hiding. After the robbery in 1998, Zhao landed a job as deputy director of the executive board in the People’s Court of Yuhua District in the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, and was even commended by Hebei Legal newspaper as an excellent public servant in 2013.
Results from China’s delayed National College Entrance Exam (gaokao) are out, and so are the inspiring (and not-so-inspiring) stories of top-scorers, or “champions” (状元, zhuangyuan). One student named Zhao Guilin, from Muleng, Heilongjiang province, has been working on a construction site after the gaokao in order to relieve the financial burden on his parents. On hearing the news that the boy got admitted into Tsinghua University, Zhao’s supervisor rewarded him with a 50 RMB bonus each day.
However, liberal arts zhuangyuan Bai Xiangling from Jiangsu province was rejected by Tsinghua and Peking University due to her B+ grade in history, as applicants to both top universities need at least an A in all subjects regardless of how high they score overall on the gaokao. Bai finally chose to study finance at Hong Kong University, which provided 1 million RMB to her in scholarships.
A man and his dog have spent nearly 40 days kayaking down the Yellow River from Ningxia to Jinan, Shandong province. They plan to carry on to where the Yellow River meets the sea, a total journey of 2,700 kilometers.
Recipe for disaster
A 2019 BBC tutorial video for fried rice recently drew ridicule and disbelief from Chinese online for its unorthodox methods: In the video, the chef boils rice in a pan, then drains the soggy aftermath in a colander before washing the half-cooked rice in cold water. A viral reaction video from Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng has accrued over 8 million views on YouTube, and a Weibo user commented, “I finally understand what it feels like when Italian people see pizza with pineapple on it.”
Drones vs. locusts
Experts employed ten drones and insecticide-spraying machinery to combat a swarm of locusts terrorizing Ning’er county, Yunnan province. The locusts were exterminated after eight days, after which one villager had lost 4,700 mu of bamboo.
Sigh of relief
A women’s public restroom in Harbin has been haunted by a mysterious sound akin to the sigh of an old man. To reassure frightened users, staff have been present in the evenings to explain it was caused by an aged water pump.
When he got a call asking him to move his car, a Mr. Yang in Nanyang, Henan province, discovered it was the same vehicle stolen from him eight years ago by a man who rented it—the thief hadn’t updated the vehicle registration, and was apparently careless about where he parked last Wednesday.
Cover Image from VCG