Beijing Panda
Photo Credit: Dragos Cacio

Panda Escapes at Beijing Zoo and Other Trending News

Panda’s daring escape attempt from Bejing Zoo, Omicron variant discovered in China, crab rescues clothing, Han dynasty emperor’s mausoleum identified—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.

Beijing Zoo panda tries to escape

Beijing Zoo resident Menglan, a 6-year-old panda, made a daring attempt to escape his enclosure by scaling its walls. As tourists flocked to the scene for photos and videos, zookeepers lured Menglan back into his quarter with food, drawing an end to his bid for freedom. A few days later, roofs were put on the panda enclosure to prevent another jailbreak, though cameras have captured Menglan reaching for the roof with his paws, possibly gauging the possibility of a future escape.

Paralympic athlete murdered, ex-boyfriend arrested

On December 17, police apprehended a suspect who murdered Paralympic table tennis player Li Xiaoxiao on October 31. Li was left paraplegic after a car accident in 2014 and had been working as a livestreamer in Shandong province while training as an athlete. The suspect is Li’s ex-boyfriend, and while the police have not disclosed his motives, reporters for Bandao Morning Post combed through her social media and found she had broken up with the man the previous month and accused him of leeching off of her finances.

Serial scammer who fakes traffic accidents finally caught

Police in Hezhou, Guangxi region, arrested a serial scammer surnamed Jiang who harassed passing vehicles for money. Video footage shows Jiang leaning against the windshields of cars stuck in traffic, asking for money while banging on the glass or pulling on the windshield wipers. According to state broadcaster CCTV, Jiang has been running this scheme in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Hunan since the 1990s.

Singer accused of emotional abuse and paying for sex

Two days after announcing his divorce, Chinese-American singer and actor Leehom Wang, previously known as a “high-quality idol” due to his highly educated background and scandal-free persona, was accused by his ex-wife Jinglei Lee of emotional abuse, having multiple extramarital relationships, paying for sexual services, and transferring property so Lee would not get anything after the divorce.

Wang and his father denied the accusations and claimed that Lee coerced him into marriage when she became pregnant and threatened to “ruin” him if he did not agree to give her 200 million RMB for the divorce. The couple married in 2013 and have three children.

Multiple brands have terminated their cooperation with Wang, while fellow singer Jay Chou stopped following Wang on Instagram. In response, Wang stopped following a Jay Chou account on Weibo, though this appears to belong to one of Chou’s fans and not the idol himself.

Rappelling crab rescues fallen clothing

A man in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, tied a live crab to a piece of string and lowered the crustacean out of a window to grab his T-shirt that fell onto a windowsill downstairs of his apartment. The rappelling crab successfully picked up the T-shirt and returned it to its owner.

Abusive father forces 5-year-old daughter to learn advanced math

Mr. Mao, a father with a PhD in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, forced his 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter to study high school and college-level classes, including classical Chinese and advanced mathematics. The lessons often went on until midnight, with Mao regularly scolding and even beating his kids for failing to keep up with the coursework. As Mao refused to accept counseling from teachers and even the police, his wife has applied to the court for an injunction against Mao and a protection order for her and both of her children.

Semi-conscious woman uses imaginary phone

A video of a semi-conscious patient lying on an operating table while making gesturing with her hands as if she were browsing a smartphone has gone viral. According to the doctors, the patient was half-conscious from the effects of anesthetics, and even swiped the imaginary screen and answered “yes” when asked if her “phone” had signal. The video has raised online discussions regarding both phone addiction and the ethics of filming patients in operating rooms.

Mausoleum of Han dynasty emperor identified in Shaanxi

Archaeologists finally identified a tomb near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, as belonging to Emperor Wen of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE — 25 CE), the fourth son of Han dynasty’s founder Liu Bang. Though the tomb had been discovered in 2006, it has taken archaeologists over a decade to identify the owner as the tomb lacked the pyramid-like mound characteristic of early imperial graves, and because historical records had indicated Emperor Wen was buried 2 kilometers to the north, possibly to fool grave-robbers.

Omicron Covid-19 variant discovered in China

Authorities in Tianjin, Guangdong, and Hunan recorded cases of Omicron, the newest Covid-19 variant, last week as the highly contagious virus spreads across the world. All cases discovered on the Chinese mainland so far are imported from abroad and are all under quarantine control. Omicron has been detected in 89 countries worldwide, according to the latest update by the World Health Organization.


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