Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are talking about.
This week, Alibaba fined for a monopoly, a trucker’s suicide sparks outcry on an exploitative industry, KFC serves disinfectant in lieu of water, and a woman finds her long-lost daughter—married to her son:
Alibaba fined for “monopolistic practices”
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group was fined 18.2 billion RMB (2.78 billion USD) by regulators on Saturday for abusing its “dominant” market position, forcing online merchants to open stores and take part in promotional deals on its platforms. This record-level fine closes an antitrust investigation into the company, which started in December 2020. Alibaba responded with a press release saying that it “accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure compliance with determination.”
Trucker’s suicide sparks outcry over abuses in the industry
Jin Deqiang, a truck driver from Tangshan, Hebei province, killed himself by drinking herbicide after he was given 2,000 RMB in fines at a checkpoint due to his BeiDou satellite positioning system being offline. Long-distance truck drivers in China are required to turn on their positioning systems at all times while driving to ensure safety, but many drivers have complained that the system can go offline by itself without giving the driver any warning. Jin’s brother (also a truck driver) stated in a blog post that Jin supports his children and parents on only 200 to 400 yuan a day as a trucker, and cannot afford a 2,000 RMB fine, leading to public outrage over conditions in this dangerous and poorly paid job.
Student-teacher relationships to be outlawed
The Ministry of Education has released new draft rules aimed at preventing sexual abuse in China’s primary and secondary schools. The new regulations, the first of their kind in China, prohibit students and teachers from having relationships outside the classroom, and stipulate teachers must not touch students, flirt with them, or show them pornographic material. The rules also make provisions to prevent school bullying and ensuring students receive ample “rest” from their studies.
Woman attempts suicide over pressure to care for siblings
A 20-year-old woman surnamed Liu jumped into a river in Hangzhou due to the pressure of having to raise her younger brother and two sisters after their parents’ divorce. Liu, who is originally from Yunnan, told police that she has been working since her teens in order to support her younger siblings. The echoes between Liu’s story and the plot of Sister, the recent blockbuster film on a young woman forced to raise her younger brother after their parents’ death, sparked discussion on male-preference in many Chinese families.
Traffic lights for camels
Traffic lights in a scenic spot in Dunhuang, Gansu province won visitors’ hearts for providing walk signals for camels as well as pedestrians. Some netizens, though, wondered what would happen to camels that break traffic laws: “Should they be fined in food?”
Lawbreakers track police
“How did you get caught? I’ve told you to stay away from here!” a group of transport law-enforcement officers in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, heard the voice shouting from an intercom in one of two overloaded trucks they were checking during a routine patrol. It turned out that two lawbreakers (who have since been arrested) had installed GPS tracking devices under the officers’ car to help drivers avoid checks—and were incensed that the truckers got caught anyway.
Poisoned by KFC water
A KFC in Suzhou mistakenly served a customer surnamed Du disinfectant instead of ice water, putting her in hospital with acute erosive gastritis. The restaurant paid 1,500 RMB in medical costs for Ms. Du, but asked her to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for another 1,000 RMB in compensation, until local authorities intervened and demanded that KFC offer 15,000 RMB for lost work time in addition to medical expenses.
Rifle drawn at police station
A man caused a scare and got himself backed into a corner by armed officers when he took a white bag into a police station in Jixi, Heilongjiang province, and began quietly pulling out an air rifle. During the interview with police, he revealed that he was just turning in an old gun of his grandfather’s, which he’d found while sorting out the family warehouse. As the gun turned out to be rusted and unfirable, the police decided not to charge him.
Woman learns son’s bride is her long-lost daughter
During her son’s wedding ceremony in Suzhou, a woman recognized a birthmark on the bride’s hand and identified her as the daughter she had lost as a baby decades before. Fortunately, the marriage could still go ahead, as the groom’s mother adopted her son after losing her daughter, so the couple are not biologically related. “Does that make [the groom] both her son and her son-in-law?” one netizen wondered.
Cover image from VCG