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, millions begin the college entrance exam, tornadoes kill one and injure 16 in Heilongjiang, China’s top university welcomes a robot student, and a dog receives ideological education:
Tornadoes rip through Heilongjiang
Over a period of half-an-hour on June 1, Shangzhi, Heilongjiang province was hit by multiple tornadoes, causing 148 houses to collapse and an initial estimated economic cost of 5.12 million RMB (according to the Shangzhi City Emergency Management Bureau). Tornadoes rarely cause this amount of damage in northeast China. Zhang Libao, chief forecaster of the Heilongjiang Meterological Observatory, said that these tornadoes had been caused by a cold vortex from the northwest clashing with warmer air over the province.
Millions sit exams as gaokao begins
Today and tomorrow, 10.78 million students will take the college entrance examinations (gaokao) in 7,200 exam centers and 466,000 examination rooms across China. It’s the largest gaokao in Chinese history, and also the largest examination in human history. In Shanghai, a high schooler who lost his ID card received a last minute replacement from sympathetic police officers the night before the test.
Speech by student at “gaokao factory” sparks debate
A speech on reality TV show Super Speaker by Zhang Xifeng, a senior student from the infamous “gaokao factory” Hengshui High School in Hebei province, has ignited debate on the importance of the gaokao, China’s rural-urban inequality, and whether the teen made sexist remarks or not. “I’m a rural ‘pig,’ who is aspiring to get urban ‘cabbage,’” Zhang said, using a saying that refers to a romantic relationship in which the woman is far out of the man’s league. Netizens questioned whether Zhang simply meant he wanted to make a better life for himself, or was referring to his desire for women.
Zhang also said that he and his classmates’ only goal is to work had and “change our destiny.” While some netizens shared their own similar experiences and supported the students’ drive, many others believed they were too narrow-minded and overemphasized the influence of the exam.
Dog receives “ideological education”
Students at Zhengzhou University posted a “wanted” notice for a stray dog named “Old Yellow,” who regularly steals take-out orders from the school gate. After they found the culprit, the students began to give the dog “ideological education.” However, out of pity for the canine, who apparently “expressed remorse,” the students then crowdfunded to provide dog food and a kennel for him.
Protected monkey visits village
A golden snub-nosed monkey, a protected species in China, paid a visit to a village in the northern foothills of the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi province. Villagers treated their visitor to vegetables and fruits in a video that has gone viral. This was not the first incident when a golden snub-nosed monkey has turned up in a village, and experts warned against locals feeding wild animals in case they get into the habit of leaving their natural habitat for human settlements.
Milk tea goes postal
The name and green logo of Youyang Naicha (邮氧奶茶), a milk tea shop in Fujian province, made headlines for their resemblance to the livery and logo of China Post (邮 means “post” in Chinese). The postal service has denied connection to the enterprise apart from owning a stake in the shop’s parent company, a pharmaceutical firm that also operates post-themed businesses like “China Post Drugstore” and “China Post Insurance”—but that hasn’t stopped netizens from jokingly wondering whether their milk tea delivery will be as slow as the post.
China’s top university welcomes robot student
Hua Zhibing, an AI robot developed by the Bejing Academy of Artificial Intelligence, Zhipu AI, and the team behind Xiaoice, began studying in Tsinghua University’s computer science department on Tuesday. Claiming to be the first AI university student, Hua can can already draw, compose music, and write poetry, and is expected to reach the intelligence level of a 12-year-old human by next year.
Shanghai hoarder ordered to remove trash
A 58-year-old woman known only as “Aunt Dong” has been forced by a Shanghai municipal court to remove tons of rubbish she had been hoarding in two apartments she owned, after years of fierce resistance. Aunt Dong owns multiple properties in Shanghai and enjoys an income of nearly 20,000 RMB a month, but has been using two apartments as what she described as a “waste station” for rubbish she collects to sell on for a profit. Neighbors had frequently complained of the bad smells, cockroaches, and mosquitoes emanating from her properties. It took 15 trucks to haul her load away.
Cover image from VCG