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, live animal “mystery boxes” spark calls for animal protection, rocket debris lands in the Indian Ocean, a woman gives birth five times to avoid jail, and a Hangzhou zoo covers up leopards’ escape:
Talent show banned over spilled milk
iQIYI talent show Youth With You 3 has been suspended by the Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau for a stunt asking viewers to scan QR codes placed under the caps of Mengniu milk bottles to earn a free vote for their favorite contestant. Videos emerged online of fans farming bottle caps, pouring perfectly good milk down the drain in order to scan. The video platform issued a public apology saying that in future they will “actively assume the social responsibility of the media.”
Live animal “mystery boxes” spark outrage
Animal rescue workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province, discovered a courier vehicle containing over 160 small cats and dogs packed into small express delivery boxes. The incident drew public ire over the practice of live animal “mystery boxes,” where small pets are placed in boxes and sold to customers who do not know what animal they are getting before opening the box. Several of the animals in Chengdu had already died by the time of rescue, and the others were placed in a local shelter. Netizens are calling for punishment for courier company ZTO Express for accepting the delivery (it is illegal to send live animals in regular express delivery packages) and for e-commerce platforms to crack down on animal sales.
A Hangzhou Safari Park is in hot water for keeping quiet about the escape of three leopards sometime over the past week. After having dismissed public sightings of the big cats just a day before, the park issued an apology on Saturday, saying it had not come clean about the escape as “juvenile leopards are not very aggressive” and it wanted to “avoid causing a panic.” Two of the leopards have been captured and returned to safety as of 5 p.m. on Saturday. Authorities have advised the public to remain vigilant while the third leopard is at large and to call the police if they spot the animal. Police are opening proceedings against lead figures at the Park.
Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean
Debris from China’s largest rocket to be launched yet, the Long March 5B, landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives archipelago on Sunday, ending a whole week’s speculation from international space experts and governments as to where the rocket’s remnants would crash. The Chinese rocket had originally launched from Hainan in April.
Over the Labor Day holiday, Xi’an’s ancient city wall sent staff dressed as warriors from the Tang dynasty to stop tourists from rude or dangerous behaviors, such as taking off their shoes in public or sitting too close to the edge of the wall. All selected staff were dressed in golden armor and spoke with traditional dialects. The scenic area was praised nationwide for their creativity in enforcing modern rules while maintaining a historic atmosphere and not embarrassing tourists.
A woman in Jiangsu province has avoided jail for a decade by becoming pregnant and giving birth five times successively in the past decade. In 2011, The unidentified woman had been sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail for theft but was allowed to serve her sentence at home due to being pregnant at the time—which apparently gave her the idea of getting pregnant again each time her nursing period was about to end (and committing more crimes in the meantime). On April 7, she was apprehended after she failed to get pregnant in time to avoid being sent to jail, and tried to run away.
An 80-year-old woman in Shanghai had to remove the large pink bow she had tied to the railing of her balcony after the decoration went viral. Visitors swarmed to take pictures and short videos of the woman and her home, a historic building in Shanghai (Shanghai’s more photogenic homes often attract large numbers of camera-wielding tourists). She and her family allegedly had to temporarily move due to the crowds.
Exploitation of food delivery workers re-emerged in the public eye after Peking University postdoctoral candidate Chen Long published his PhD dissertation, for which he went undercover as a food delivery worker for five and a half months in 2018. The dissertation looks into how the algorithm of food delivery apps forces workers to rush, allotting less and less time to finish each order.
Wang Linshi, a Beijing official in charge of labor, also went undercover for one day as a food delivery worker and shared his experience of earning 41 RMB after working for 12 hours over the May Day holiday, getting no rest, and facing fines from the delivery app.
On April 30, the last passenger flight of the day from Hotan to Urumqi in Xinjiang turned back from the runway to pick up a 7-year-old boy, whose arm had been severed by a tractor and needed an urgent operation in Urumqi. Flight crew, passengers, police, and doctors joined the relay and succeeded in reattaching the boy’s arm after three hours of surgery.