Shenzhou-12 takeoff
Photo Credit: VCG

Viral Week: China's historic space mission and other trending news

Three astronauts reach China's space station, hero pig passes away, professor sparks debate on housing prices, actors chased by wolves onstage—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 talking about.

This week, three astronauts reach China's space station, a much-loved hog passes away, actors get chased by wolves onstage, and a man drives drunk for crayfish:

Three Chinese astronauts blast off to new space station

After three astronauts blasted off from earth on June 17, becoming the first to man China's Taigong space station, netizens began to discuss their three months of life in space—especially what food they will eat. Many commented on the development of Chinese space food, including space mooncakes and zongzi (sticky rice pyramids) from previous missions. As the crew installs their wifi, some netizens are even calling for livestreaming of their meals.

Hero pig passes away

Zhu Jianqiang, literally "strong-willed pig," provoked an emotional outpouring when he passed away of old age on June 16, aged 14 (almost 100 in pig years, according to Xinhua). The huge male pig had survived the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, living for 36 days under the rubble, with nothing but a bag of charcoal to eat and rain water to drink. The pig had been living the remainder of his days as a tourist attraction at the Jianchuan museum, Sichuan province, an inspiring symbol of strength. The museum has frozen his body while it decides how to commemorate him.

Drunk man drives 6 hours for crayfish

A man detained by police for drink driving explained that he had traveled for six hours from Jinan, Shandong province, to Nanjing in Jiangsu, just to buy "more delicious" crayfish.

Professor sparks debate on China's property prices

Peking University professor Fan Gang has gone viral for his speech declaring that the ratio between the cost of renting to buying a house in China is the most skewed in the world, inciting online debate about the lack of affordable housing in Chinese cities, and burdens brought by the norm that young people must buy property before marriage.

Professor Fan has been criticized for his sarcastic statement that young couples must rely on "six wallets" to purchase a house: the man's parents, the man's paternal grandparents, the man's maternal grandparents, the woman's parents, the woman's paternal grandparents, and the woman's maternal grandparents.

Ancient rice paddies offer fresh insights on ancient China

Archeologists have discovered what they believe to be evidence of bamboo huts and rice paddies built 4,500 years ago. The findings of small pieces of bamboo would be the earliest evidence of mud and bamboo "wattle and daub" structures found on the Chengdu flood plain. The site further expands historians' understanding of how the region became a breadbasket for ancient China. 

Five dead in housing block collapse

Five people died after a residential building collapsed in Hunan province. Seven survivors were trapped under the rubble and pulled out several hours later. Local authorities are still investigating the cause of the collapse.

Rich celebrity ridiculed for pathetic love messages

Online celebrity Sun Yining shared WeChat messages she received from mega-rich scion Wang Sicong, heir to the Wanda Group conglomerate, showing his failed efforts to woo her. Wang, known for his extravagance, outspokenness, and womanizing, was widely mocked for his messages, mostly cringe but sometimes creepy, and for his inability to win over Sun despite his millions.

Actors chased by wolf co-stars onstage 

Live wolves were filmed chasing actors across a stage and even running through the audience during a theater performance in Xi’an. The wolves are part of the show, acting out fight scenes with the performers. The company who owns the theatre dismissed safety concerns, insisting that the wolves "won't hurt people."


TWOC‘s editors are a bilingual, international team that is always on the lookout for original and human-centered stories to share with our readers. We are dedicated to accuracy, objectivity, and looking at each of China's stories through the eyes of its participants. Get in touch through our About Us page if you have a story to pitch!

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