Takeout order censored, luxury rest stops, browser skirts “Great Firewall,” and stories from Golden Week—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, the “Golden Week” holidays brought peaks in travel and wedding celebrations, along with the crazy stories that implies; a takeout order gets censored, a new browser briefly skirts “Great Firewall,” and a boy finds dinosaur fossils:
China’s “Golden Week” holidays took place between October 1 and October 8 this year, with an estimated 630 million travelers hitting the road nationwide. Guo Zhihong, a 31-year-old chief conductor on Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, went viral for being able to sketch a map of the national rail network from memory—all 343 lines and 807 stations in 90 minutes.
Cat-ging a ride
An unticketed feline tried to add to the high travel volume: The cat, who got inside a high-speed train in Inner Mongolia by means unclear, was filmed being escorted off the carriage by an attendant.
China’s roads were similarly jam-packed during Golden Week, with close to 28 million vehicles traveling the national highways over the eight-day period. Many travelers were awed by photos of “luxury” highway rest stops in Jiangsu province with mall-like interiors, international chains such as Starbucks, and, in the case of one station in Suzhou, exquisite landscaping with canals and traditional architecture.
With such high volumes of travel on the roads and railways, overcrowding was unavoidable at most tourist sites in China during Golden Week. One tourist was filmed shouting “I regret this! I want to go home!” inside the crowd swarming up Huangshan, Anhui province, as he could neither move forward or go back. Other tourists at Laojun Mountain of Henan and Fanjing Mountain of Guizhou not only battled crowds, but snowy and rainy weather.
All feted out
Golden Week was also a peak season for weddings and other celebrations, especially as many couples had to postpone their big day due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A Mr. Lei from Bijie, Guizhou province, received 23 invitations to banquets around the holiday period, with eight on October 1 alone.
When a man in Jingmen, Hubei province, ordered takeout with a note, “Help me buy a pack of cigarettes,” he soon received a visit by the police. The food delivery app had blacked out every part of his message except “Help me” (as online tobacco sales were recently declared illegal), causing the concerned restaurateur to call the police.
Briefly beyond the Wall
New internet browser Tuber, which briefly offered Chinese netizens the chance to surf blocked websites like YouTube, Instagram, and Google, generated huge discussion online for 24 hours before it was removed from app stores and all mentions of it were deleted on Weibo. Many noted searches for “sensitive” topics on the app still returned no results, and users were required to register via their Chinese ID card (as with many Chinese internet services).
An opera performance in Laozhu village, Zhejiang province, turned into a chaotic brawl when a drunk man mounted the stage and started a fight with members of the cast. It emerged that the 33-year-old instigator, who has since been detained, was the son of the chief of a nearby village.
A 5-year-old boy, who found dinosaur footprint fossils in the hills during a trip to his home village in Sichuan province, has been hailed as the youngest discoverer of dinosaur fossils nationwide.
A family on the way to pick tea in Naji village, Yunnan province, was interrupted by a herd of 20 wild elephants foraging in the village for food. One woman was stepped on by an elephant, putting her in a critical condition.
Subway to nowhere
A real estate developer in Jinan, Shandong province, was required to remove a fake subway station sign it deliberately installed near one of its apartment complexes to attract more customers to buy property.
A land dispute between two villages in Guilin, Guangxi, ended up in literal fireworks, with over 40 helmeted villagers shooting sparklers at each other before police intervened (luckily, no one was hurt).
Cover image from VCG