Fashion brand Dior accused of racism, China’s first F1 driver, man banned from buffet for eating too much, Shanghai cracks down on murder mystery games—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.
Dior and photographer Chen Man slammed for racist marketing
Netizens and media accused fashion brand Dior and photographer Chen Man of perpetuating racist Western stereotypes of Asian women. The controversy was sparked by a photo at the Lady Dior exhibition at the West Bund Art Centre in Shanghai. The image shows a woman in traditional Chinese dress with tanned skin, single eyelids, and smoky makeup. Critics claimed the photo was purposefully uglifying Chinese beauty. Dior has since removed the image from its social media and the exhibition.
Four geologists missing in Yunnan mountains confirmed dead
Four researchers in natural resources from the China Geological Survey, who had been missing in Ailao Mountain in the southwestern Yunnan province for eight days, are confirmed dead. Rescuers had previously found clothing and some footprints in the search area, but were hampered by the dense forest, complicated geography, and cold, foggy weather.
Zhou Guanyu to become China’s first Formula One driver
Zhou Guanyu will become China’s first ever full-time Formula One driver next year after signing with Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo. The 22-year-old from Shanghai is due to compete in the 2022 Formula One World Championship.
Bizarre ads encourage men not to beat their wives
Ads from loan app Huanbai appeared in Shenzhen and Nanjing elevators and subways, saying “Those who don’t beat their wives get the money quickly!” and “Those who beat their wives don’t borrow!” The ads caused outrage on social media, with users pointing out that basic morality should not be used as a gimmick to increase sales.
No apology has appeared on the app’s social media accounts, although the same day the scandal broke, the company posted a modified slogan on its Weibo account: “Those who act in good faith don’t borrow,” encouraging users to “abandon bad habits and cherish credit.”
Shanghai to regulate roleplaying murder mystery games
Shanghai’s Culture and Tourism Bureau published draft laws on regulating the scripts of popular roleplaying murder-mystery games. The regulations would forbid scary, cruel, violent, or vulgar content on the basis that it may harm players’ mental health. The draft also says that businesses who invite customers to play the games must record and register the game scripts with the bureau before allowing consumers to play.
Retail company penalizes employees for using company Wi-Fi on personal browsing
Gome, an electrical appliance retailer, attracted social media attention after warning and punishing employees who used the company Wi-Fi to surf the internet and go on entertainment apps during office hours, according to an internal document leaked last week.
The news triggered public debate about whether the punishment was fair, with many netizens accusing Gome of infringing on their staff’s privacy.
Man banned from buffet for eating too much
A buffet restaurant in Changsha, Hunan province, denied entry to a Mr. Kang because of his extraordinary appetite. According to staff at the Handadi Seafood Barbecue Buffet restaurant, on a previous visit Mr. Kang consumed 20 to 30 bottles of soy milk, 1.5 kg of pork feet, nearly 4 kg of shrimps, and finished all the lamb skewers available, causing the restaurant to lose hundreds of RMB.
After being denied entry, Mr. Kang, a food livestreamer, complained that he had been treated unfairly. According to staff at the restaurant, they have reached a resolution with Mr. Kang whereby he would still be welcomed at the buffet as long as he stopped livestreaming there and didn’t disturb other customers’ dining experience.
Backlash against mental health survey for kids
The education department of Changning District, Shanghai faced a backlash from parents for a mental health survey they distributed to students which included over 30 questions related to suicide. The multiple choice survey asks how students have been preparing for suicide in the past week—and listed details such as “partly done (e.g. started collecting pills)” among the choices—and whether they have written a will.
Parents claimed they had not been informed about the survey, and found it inappropriate for children to take without professional guidance. The education department later apologized and said it would stop the survey.
Old-fashioned shampoo brand sparks nostalgia
Time-honored Chinese shampoo brand Bee & Flower received over 20,000 online orders in one day (its usual monthly sales) from nostalgic consumers striving to save it from bankruptcy, after the company wrote a Weibo post indicating it cannot afford better design and promotion in response to netizens’ concerns about their low price, poor package design, and weak marketing. Later, the company clarified that it is still profitable and asked consumers to purchase “rationally.”
L’Oréal accused of fake publicity for its facial cream on Singles Day
Cosmetics brand L’Oréal apologized for misleading customers during its Singles Day promotions. The company sold facial cleansing masks for 257 RMB for 50 on Singles Day, but had previously invited consumers to purchase them for 429 RMB during presale livestream events hosted by celebrities Li Jiaqi and Weiya in October, where they claimed this was the “biggest discount of the year.”