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 damning report on takeout goes viral, pets are forced to binge eat, officials try to make marriage more ceremonial, and a restaurant calls the police on a critic:
A viral report by People magazine exposed how the “on-time delivery” system of China’s major food delivery platforms Ele.me and Meituan forces drivers to ignore traffic rules and fines them for unpredictable obstacles like waiting time at restaurants or elevators. According to the report, one driver was injured or has died every 2.5 days on average in Shanghai alone in 2017. In response, Meituan promised workers eight extra flexible minutes, and Ele.me gave customers the option to allow drivers five to ten extra minutes, but experts are calling for more systematic solutions and better employment protection for drivers.
Zhong Shanshan, CEO of drinks company Nongfu Spring, briefly became China’s richest man last Tuesday when his company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a valuation of 400 billion HKD, putting Zhong above technology moguls Jack Ma and Pony Ma on China’s rich list. But by the end of the day, Nongfu’s shares had fallen from 39.8 HKD to 33.1 HKD, allowing Tencent’s Pony Ma to reclaim the top spot in just a few hours.
Rumors of a visit from pop sensation Wang Junkai sent students of China West Normal University in Sichuan province into a frenzy. Videos showed fans crowding the campus to get a glimpse of the star (who was never scheduled to visit, school authorities say), and some students were injured in the stampede.
Since Chinese authorities banned mukbang (吃播), or “binge eating” videos, some channels hosts have taken to livestreaming their pets binge eating. The new fad has been labeled animal cruelty by netizens, who criticize hosts for force-feeding unsuitable or even poisonous foods to their animals.
A Beijing restaurant of the famous Goubuli Baozi steamed bun chain called the police after a customer criticized the buns’ taste and value in a livestreamed review. The restaurant claimed that the bad review had infringed upon their right of reputation.
The Ministry of Civic Affairs and All China Women’s Federation have proposed to make the marriage registration process more “ceremonial” by including elements such as exchanging vows, inviting local officials or public figures to issue marriage licenses, as well as family and relatives to witness the ceremony.
Jia Guolong, founder of popular restaurant chain Xibei, boasted that his employees work “715” (15 hours a day, 7 days a week), far more than the grueling “996” (9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week) that is often found in the tech sector. Jia claimed the “715” system has worked for over ten years, though many netizens were unimpressed with the brutal schedule. The restaurant’s PR director clarified that the company provides bonuses for overtime and complies with industry standards.
Home away from home
A driver in Xi’an decorated his double-decker bus as if it were his own home, complete with house plants, stuffed animals, and live goldfish.
A man in Guizhou was forced to pay 40,000 RMB compensation when a stray dog he had been feeding knocked over a pensioner and broke his ribs. The court ruled that by feeding the stray animal, the man encouraged the dog to frequent the area and became its de facto “caretaker.”
Love behind bars
As many universities continue to operate “closed campuses” out of concern for possible outbreaks of Covid-19, one couple in Baoding, Hebei province, was caught on camera sharing an elaborate hotpot meal through the school fence
Netizens celebrated Chinese director Chloé Zhao after her work, Nomadland, won the Golden Lion award for best film at the Venice Film Festival last Saturday. Zhao became the sixth Chinese director to win the award after Hou Xiaoxian, Zhang Yimou, Cai Mingliang, Li An, and Jia Zhangke; she is also the first Chinese female director to win.
Cover Image from VCG