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Covid Infections Hit Two-Year Peak and Other Trending News

Worst Covid surge since 2020, viral “Two Sessions” proposals, pandemic workers cull more pets, traffic police make sexist jokes—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.

Local Covid-19 cases hit two-year peak

The number of locally transmitted symptomatic Covid-19 cases in China rose to 1,938 on Saturday, with Jilin province accounting for 78 percent of the total. The outbreak is China’s worst since the first wave of infections in Wuhan in 2020. In response, authorities have begun several epidemic control measures, inlcuding building makeshift hospitals, mass testing, and implementing community level and citywide lockdowns. Meanwhile, tech company Foxconn has shut down production of iPhones at its giant factory in Shenzhen, the city government having ordered all non-essential businesses in the city to close.

Pandemic workers cull more pets

Another video of a pet culled by epidemic prevention workers has outraged netizens. In Huizhou, Guangdong province, home security cameras captured workers beating a samoyed dog to death while its owners were in hotel quarantine. The video was shared widely on Weibo before the original post was deleted. China has no guidelines on how to treat pets who have been in close contact with patients, local governments occasionally resorting to killing them despite no evidence they spread Covid to humans. Last November, a video of workers hitting a corgi with a metal bar went viral.

Two Sessions end with raft of viral proposals

The “Two Sessions,” the annual meetings of China’s legislature, concluded last week with a total of 5,979 proposals by close to 5,000 delegates who gathered in the capital as part of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Some of the proposals were made in response to hotly debated social issues, such as increasing paid leave for both new mothers and fathers, and death sentences for buyers of trafficked women and children. There were also more creative proposals, like mandatory military training for elementary and middle school students, and a vague suggestion that young men who cannot find partners become less selfish and more family-oriented “warm men (暖男).”

Qingdao police criticized for sexism

Traffic police in Qingdao, Shandong province, caused outrage online with a Weibo post warning against the “dangerous driving habits of female drivers,” on International Women’s Day. Netizens were angered that the post (now deleted) used gender stereotypes in its descriptions of safety hazards: “Women like to look in the mirror, but they don’t like to look in the rearview mirror while they are driving.” It also implied blocking a rear window with children’s toys was a female problem, rather than one for any driver with children. When contacted by Beijing Youth Daily, Qingdao’s traffic police said the author had not meant to be sexist, adding in their defence that the post’s content had been put on other platforms before, “and there was no controversy at the time.”

Barbie Hsu causes Weibo storm with marriage announcement

Actress Barbie Hsu married her ex-boyfriend from 1998, with a related hashtag gaining over 1.4 billion views on Weibo. Hsu, better known as Big S, starred in the popular drama Meteor Garden in 2001. Her new husband Koo Jun-yup is a Korean singer and DJ. Hsu recently divorced businessman Wang Xiaofei, who she married in 2011. According to Koo's post, after learning of Hsu’s divorce he called her from the number he had saved 20 years ago. The couple expressed gratitude to well-wishers who congratulated them on their rekindled love.

Missing twins found after three-day search

Twins in Yan‘an, Shanxi province, ran away from home after becoming fed up of studying, surviving for three days in a mountain cave by eating dried noodles. Their mother was finally reunited with her sons after pleading for public help. Police started the search for the 13-year-old twins after receiving information from a netizen who saw the twins on a mountain. A police dog then found the twins in the cave, which has now been closed.

Elderly man’s quest for love goes viral

The story of a 79-year-old man who has been pursuing a 56-year-old woman for over a year went viral. The man allegedly met the woman after paying 6,000 yuan to a dating agency, but the woman left their first date after only 10 minutes. After a year of messaging to try and arrange a second date, the woman agreed—but only if they wait another two years. The dating agency company has since ceased operations and netizens speculated that the man had been scammed.

Mysterious ring of light appears in Beijing

A vast ring of light appeared in the sky over Beijing on Friday night, with some netizens calling it a UFO. The China Meteorological Administration later clarified on its officail Weibo account that the ring was formed by lights from the National “Bird's Nest” Stadium, reflected by thick cloud cover.

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