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 supermarket chain apologizes for fat-shaming, a new drama is accused of trivializing warfare, a dogwalking ban sparks memes, and a woman marries 28 times in two years:
Supermarket chain RT-Mart issued a public apology for using a size-chart for women’s clothing that labeled large sized clothing as “rotten,” while medium and small sizes were called “slim” and “beautiful,” respectively.
The hashtag “dogwalking banned, third violation punishable by death” went viral as Weixin county of Yunnan province declared it will put down canines being walked in the county seat. The announcement caused consternation among pet-owners and animal-lovers, while netizens came up with myriad spoofs, such as “if a misbehaving child is discovered outside three times, he or she should be put down,” or “if public officals take bribes three times, put them down.” The regulation is now under review in light of media attention.
War made fashionable
A recent anti-Japanese war drama, Leiting Zhanjiang (“Thunderous War General”), has drawn criticism for casting handsome, fashionable young male “idols” as the Communists’ Eighth Route Army soldiers, who live in luxurious villas and sport fashionable hairstyles. The Party newspaper People’s Daily complained that the show was turning history into pure entertainment.
Leaving the leaves
Shanghai authorities have designated 41 streets where sanitation workers will not sweep away fallen leaves, so that urban residents may enjoy the fall scenery. Workers, though, are complaining that this make it harder for them to sweep away other street debris, and they now spend more time making sure that the leaves look picturesque and don’t clog drains.
In Zhengzhou, a magpie was captured on video putting rocks inside a bottle in order to make the water rise high enough to drink, demonstrating the well-known Aesop’s Fable “The Crow and the Pitcher.”
Beijing police arrested 124 people in eight days for cheating the city’s license plate lottery system through marriage. One 37-year-old woman was found to have married and divorced 28 times in two years for the purpose of transferring plates, since ownership can only be swapped between married couples.
Bridge over troubled water
Seven elderly people with disabilities threatened to jump off a bridge in Guangxi if their impounded electric rickshaws were not returned by the authorities. Police explained that the vehicles were taken for not having insurance coverage, and will be returned after a “light fine” out of “empathy for [the drivers’] condition.” Many netizens conjectured that the electric rickshaws, used to transport passengers around the city, are the main source of income for some disabled citizens, who have little support from broader society.
Netflix takes on classic
Netflix announced a futuristic adaption of The Water Margin (《水浒传》), one of the “Four Classics” of Chinese literature, with Japanese director Shinsuke Sato (Kingdom), and American scriptwriter Matt Sand (Deepwater Horizon). Some fear that it will follow the example of Disney’s live-action Mulan, which did not have Chinese directors and writers, and ultimately tanked before Chinese audiences.
Yang Chen, a university graduate from Guizhou, gained online fame for his story of ditching city life after his studies in Wuhan and returning to his home village to set up a mushroom farm. Yang’s farm is said to have made 3 million RMB already this year, and employs employs over 600 people; 62 villagers have invested their land in Yang’s company.
Cover image from VCG