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“Ghost marriages,” smart toilets, flammable water, and snow in northern China—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, smart toilets in Shanghai, snow hits north China, water proves flammable, and the world gains a new tallest leek:

No girls, no entry

A hot pot restaurant in Chengdu denied entry to two male friends because they had no women in their party. The two men, who had waited in line for an hour, called the police, and were eventually allowed in when the restaurant agreed to have a female server sit with them.

Fire water

Residents in an apartment block in Panjin, Liaoning province, found that their water supply is flammable. Multiple videos show residents lighting running water in their homes on fire, while local authorities have halted water supply to affected apartments while they conduct tests.

Making the punishment fit the crime

A retrial has been ordered for a 2019 case in which a 24-year-old woman from Shandong province, surnamed Fang, was abused, tortured, and beaten to death by her husband’s family because she could not get pregnant. The court had originally sentenced Fang’s husband to two years with a three-year probation period, and her father-in-law to three years—punishments that outraged netizens who deemed them too light.

Marrying the dead

A street dance group’s performance about “ghost marriages” prompted heated debate about the illegal custom of arranging marriages between two dead people (or between one living and one dead individual), which has led to cases of corpse-trafficking in some parts of China. The performance, by student dance club Frebel-crew of the Guangxi University of Finance and Economics, tells the story of a poor father who sells his daughter to a rich family in a ghost marriage. The young girl attempts to escape, but is eventually strangled to death, and the marriage is completed.

Weird signage
A Shanghai restaurant owner triggered public outrage for putting up a crude women’s restroom sign which featured a man peering over the cubicle door. The owner later apologized and removed the sign.

Superior leek

Miao Fayong, a farmer from Zhangqiu, Shandong province, received 30,000 RMB at the 18th Leek Cultural Tourism Festival for growing the world’s tallest leek: at 2.532 meters, according to the Guinness World Records.

Rude research

A government organisation from Lingshan, Guangxi, went viral online because the name of their research topic, “[Female Emperor] Wu Zetian’s mother is in Qinzhou,” sounds like cursing in Chinese. Later, the local government apologized and changed the name, but this did not resolve another concern—why were public funds being spent on research into the seemingly irrelevant activities of a historical figure’s mother in the city?

Snow fight

Heavy snow has hit China’s north and northeast regions, leading to epic snow fights on school and university campuses.

Intelligent toilet

A Shanghai park won praise for its “considerate” smart toilet, which sends an automatic alarm if users do not come out in 15 minutes in case of any emergency. However, some were concerned that this might give extra pressure to those suffering from constipation

Cover image from VCG


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