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 gaokao grader is suspended, a restaurant weighs customers, a pretend doctor tries to get a free meal, and WeChat’s new update tickles users to death:
Failing the grade
Chen Jianxin, a grader for the writing portion of the national college entrance exam (gaokao) in Zhejiang province, has been suspended from his post after he released the grading rubric and one student’s full-marks composition online without permission. Chen is the author of a book on writing high-scoring compositions in the gaokao and often gives lectures on the subject, leading authorities to suspect he was trying to promote his work.
Tickled to death
In response to a slew of complaints, messaging service WeChat has released a new update that enables users to withdraw the pai yi pai function (拍一拍, “tickle” in the English version) within two minutes of sending, as long as both the sender and recipient have updated to the latest version of the app. Launched with WeChat’s update in June, the pai yi pai function, intended to be a playful greeting, has caused much embarrassment for users who’ve accidentally “tickled” their colleagues, exes, and their boss, as it can easily be sent by clicking the recipient’s profile photo twice and could not be deactivated or withdrawn.
A man claiming to be a local doctor in order to redeem a free meal promised to frontline medical workers in the Covid-19 pandemic was exposed as a fraud by a Sichuan restaurant. Apparently, restaurant workers smelled a rat and contacted the hospital the man claimed to work at after he asked too many times if the meal was really free, and threatened to report the restaurant if he was charged there.
A restaurant in Changsha has apologized for fat-shaming customers after it placed two scales at its entrance. Allegedly, the restaurant had intended to advocate for the reduction of food waste by recommending menu items based on customers’ weight.
Zhen’an, a county in Shaanxi province which claims to have “ended poverty” just last year, has been criticized for spending 710 million RMB building a new middle school. Though local officials argued that “poverty should not hinder education,” netizens wondered about the necessity of putting in luxurious furniture and landscaping, including rockeries and waterfalls that cost over 2 million RMB.
Fugitive Zeng Chunliang was captured in dramatic fashion by police in Hangqiao village, Jiangxi province after being on the run for nine days. Zeng is suspected of stabbing two villagers to death and injuring a third in their home on the night of August 8, before going on to murder an official with the local poverty alleviation office on August 13. Authorities had offered 50,000 RMB for information leading to Zeng’s arrest.
Seeds of creativity
Mr. Han, a welder in Xingtai, Hebei province, has been creating images of the Great Wall, phoenixes, and other subjects using watermelon seeds and glue. Some of these “seed paintings” have been sold online for 2,000 RMB.
A pair of 42-year-old twin brothers in Henan have gone viral for their videos of a vivid “hand dancing show,” for which they paint their hands to look like animals or other characters and twist their fingers to make various expressions.
While out walking his dog, an elderly man in Putian, Fujian province, was hit by a cat who jumped from a seventh-story window. After the man fainted, the dog prevented the cat from escaping by blocking it in a corner. The court now is arbitrating the senior’s claim of 150,000 RMB in damages for his hospital bills, which the cat’s owner is refusing to pay.
Cover image from Pikist