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Viral Week Ep. 264

Trick toilet, WeChat ban, background check for teachers, and hitmen win (satirical) award—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, tourists get trapped by toilets, WeChat tries to skirt US ban, teachers require background checks for sexual offenses, and blundering hitmen win the Ig Nobel Prize:

WeChat work-around

Tech giant Tencent has had no shortage of the spotlight in the past week, ahead of the US government’s ban on its messaging app WeChat effective September 20. Tencent has changed the name of WeChat Work, its corporate messaging app, into “WeCom” to elude government restrictions and provide an alternative to millions of WeChat users in the US.

Back at home, Tencent has trademarked “WeChat for Kids,” a child version of it services that aims to guide minors toward healthy use of the app, but some netizens have expressed concerns it may exacerbate internet addiction among youths.

Hero’s death
A nurse who worked on the frontline of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan tragically died, along with her husband, while attending a theater performance in Wuhan to honor health workers. The couple were allegedly crushed by revolving chairs at the Han Show Theater in Wuchang dsitrict after trying to rescue their son, who had become trapped underneath the seats. The incident occurred on September 6, but authorities only reported the tragedy last Thursday, leading to outrage from netizens online. The Wuchang government announced it is still investigating the case

Rape case new twists

After five months of investigation, the Supreme People’s Procuracurate stated there was “insufficient evidence” to charge businessman Bao Yuming with raping his foster daughter for three years since the age of 14, an accusation that outraged the public in April. The alleged victim was determined to have been 18 when she first met Bao, thus not a minor, and 12 officials have been disciplined by their local party committee for helping to falsify her age. For engaging in a sexual relationship with someone he believed to have been a minor, Bao was condemnmed for “seriously violating social ethics [and] public order,” has had his license to practice law revoked, and is being deported to the US, where he (illegally) holds citizenship.

Background check for teachers

A new guideline from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate requires applicants for teaching licenses to submit a criminal record check with no record of sexual offenses. Authorities in charge of teaching certification will be able to access a database of sexual offenders to check all applicants. The requirement also applies to school staff, and those already working on school campuses will be required to undergo the background check.

Tourist trap

A “trick toilet” at a remote tourist site in Dunhuang, Gansu province, has been removed after tourists and other passing drivers complained about getting fleeced. Cars often would sink in the extra-soft sand in front of the toilets, at which point the staff would offer to have the vehicle towed for up to 3,000 RMB. Tourists were also encouraged to try a variety of desert-themed entertainment programs while waiting.

Band-Aid solution

After a Xi’an subway station published a post on Weibo praising how its staff spotted a passenger’s blistered feet and offered her an adhesive bandage, a WeChat user identifying herself as the passenger declared that the incident was just for show: According to her, she had approached the subway staff first asking for help, and they made her wait for more than 10 minutes until the station manager came out with a first-aid kit and took a photo with her without her consent.

Loneliest office

Photos of an office desk set up on a glacier on Tanggula Mountain in Tibet have gone viral on Chinese social media. The 6,000-meter altitutde work station belongs to a local civil servant named Renqing, who is responsible for testing the water supply from glaciers on Nyainqentanglha Mountain.

Thieving senior

An elderly woman with an annual pass to Shanghai Disneyland has been arrested for repeated petty theft from baby carriages at the theme park. Police found 20 items at her home taken from other tourists, including popcorn and hats. She explained to media that she steals purely as a hobby and because it feels good, though she knows it is not right. The woman is currently in police detention.

Monkey tricks

A Changsha man surnamed Zhang called the police after he was hit in the eye by his 12-year-old son’s retractable “Monkey King vajra stick,” a toy version of the weapon used by the protagonist of TV series Journey to the West. Allegedly, he did this in order to teach the boy a “lesson.”

Ig Nobel hit

The committee behind the Ig Nobel Prize, a satirical award sponsored by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research, has awarded this year’s prize in management to five hitmen in Guangxi (and subjects of a previous Viral Week episode) who subcontracted a murder-for-hire job to each other, each for a smaller percentage of the fee, and were arrested after the final assassin confessed the plot to his would-be victim and tried to get him to fake his death.

Cover image from VCG


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