"Villagers save beached whales, student intern commits suicide, midnight restrictions for underage gamers, and rice fields replicate ancient masks—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.
WeChat cracks down on LGBT accounts
Over 20 public WeChat accounts belonging to LGBT groups at China’s universities and colleges were shut down by the platform without warning on the night of July 6, leaving their student organizers confused and LGBT advocates fearful for the future of sexual minority voices in China’s public sphere. Read TWOC’s exclusive coverage of the story, with reactions from a student organization, here.
Student death exposes exploitative internships
The apparent death-by-suicide of a 17-year old student “intern” at a factory in Shenzhen has raised questions about exploitative “work-study” schemes at the nation’s vocational high schools. The student, surnamed Yu, had missed work at the factory four times due to health reasons, but was marked “truant” by his supervisors and threatened with expulsion by his teacher if he was absent one more time. Other students, as well as vocational school students from around the internet, reported being forced to do abusive “internships” with night shifts, menial tasks, and low pay in order to graduate.
Villagers in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, were applauded internationally for rescuing six of 12 “melon-headed whales” (also known as electra dolphins) that washed up on a beach last week. Over a hundred people worked together to dig the whales from the sand and keep them hydrated in temperatures of up to 37 degrees, until experts arrived to transfer the surviving whales to local facilities for monitoring.
Rice fields replicate 3,000-year-old masks
Rice seedlings in a 50 mu (300-acre) field in Deyang, Sichuan province, have been rearranged so that when viewed from above they resemble a ceremonial mask from China’s Sanxingdui archeological site. Sanxingdui, first discovered in 1929, is believed to be the ruins of a Bronze Age civilization that was distinct from the better-known Yellow River civilization existing at the same time.
Midnight gaming control for minors
Technology giant Tencent has announced a “Midnight Patrol” feature that will use facial recognition to identify gamers under 18 and keep them from logging in between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. on its Tencent Games platform. Underage gamers in China are already restricted to a maximum of 90 minutes of playing daily in order to keep addiction at bay.
A bio-tech company in Shenzhen is recruiting volunteers to donate their excrement for research on intestinal disease treatment, offering qualified volunteers a 300 yuan reward for each donation. Each volunteer can donate 22 times per month.
When a man in Xiaogan, Hubei province, was arrested for fraud, he had the genius idea of pretending to have fallen into a coma to avoid police interrogation. Doctors failed to rouse him, despite trying all sorts of invasive methods—such as inserting a catheter into his bladder, and giving him an ECG—until the third day, when a police officer ate a delicious meal beside the suspect’s bed…and the tantalizing smell “woke” him up.
An amusement park in Chengdu, Sichuan province, set up mahjong tables in a pool to attract visitors during the current hot summer weather.