Liu Genghong
Photo Credit: Screenshot from Haokan Video
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Shanghai Lockdown Fitness Livestreamer Goes Viral and Other Trending News

Stranded whale saved, Shanghai man finds snake in vegetable order, musician turns into lockdown fitness guru, monkey attacks toddler—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.

Musician-turned-fitness guru goes viral for lockdown workouts

Taiwan singer Liu Genghong has gained new fame: not for his music, but for livestreaming his exercise routine with his wife Wang Wanfei while they are locked down in Shanghai. Featuring upbeat music and repetitive, easy-to-follow moves, the video of the 49-year-old star has attract 40 million views within a month of airing, peaking at 1 million live views during a popular session. Enthusiastic followers call themselves “Liu Genghong girls/boys,” though some have reported sprained ankles or painful knees after following the twist-heavy routines.

Stranded whale rescued

In a miraculous rescue mission, a 60-ton sperm whale found stranded on a beach in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, was successfully saved and pulled back into the ocean. After 20 hours of failed rescue attempts, local fishermen, police, and marine experts used three fishing boats to drag the 19-meter long animal back into the water at high tide. The whale apparently recovered and upon release, and quickly dived into the deep sea.

Shanghai resident finds snake in bulk-buy vegetable package

A Shanghai resident in lockdown found a surprise when they opened a package of vegetables: a meter-long live snake. As photos of the snake circulated on social media, one netizen joked that a “meat dish” had been included in the delivery. Though the snake is identified as non-poisonous, experts advised against eating wild snakes as they may carry parasites.

Monkey attempts to abduct toddler

In Chongqing, footage shows a monkey suddenly attacking and dragging away a 3-year-old girl who was playing with a scooter in front of her home. Luckily, a nearby neighbor surnamed Liu heard the girl’s scream and chased after the monkey, which eventually released the toddler, leaving her with only minor scratches. The monkey has been linked to other attacks in the city.

Photographer offers free funeral portraits to elderly

Shaanxi photographer Yang Xing has been offering free funeral portraits to over 2,000 “left behind seniors” (rural seniors whose children have gone to work in cities). Yang got the idea after learning that many of the seniors rarely had the opportunity to be photographed, with some having only their ID photos to display at their funerals when they pass away.

Musician lives on tiny platform for 14-day performance art piece

Pang Kuan, lead singer and keyboardist of popular Chinese rock band New Pants, announced on Saturday April 23 that he would spend two weeks living on a elevated, 2.5-by-2.5-meter wooden platform fitted with water, food, snacks, alcohol, clothes, a sleeping space, a lounge chair, and a toilet at Star Gallery in Beijing. The performance art piece, named “Bye Bye Disco,” is being live streamed via the gallery’s WeChat channel, drawing 2.7 million views at the time of writing. On Sunday, the gallery announced they would close to visitors due to Covid control measures, but the livestream will continue. Many viewers have interpreted the piece as a comment on the current Covid quarantine protocols in China.

Boy, 12, sues father for name change

In Chongqing, a 12-year-old boy sued his father for changing his surname without consent from the boy or his mother, causing chaos and confusion. The boy, originally surnamed Xiang (after his father), had his surname changed to Zheng by his mother in 2011 after his parents divorced. But his father applied to the local police station to change the surname back to Xiang in 2018, without notifying the boy or his mother, leading to a host of problems when the boy tried to register for school and exams. The court in Chongqing ruled that the boy would use the name decided by his mother.

Top research organization ditches expensive journal subscription

The Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of China’s top research organizations, suspended its subscription to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) journal platform because of its high annual subscription price, which now stands at 10 million yuan. After several rounds of negotiations between both sides, CNKI still insisted on the high renewal fees, which finally lead CAS to break off their partnership and rely on other databases. CNKI’s dominant position as the key research database for scholars in China, and the platform’s high fees, have attracted sustained criticism from researchers for years.

Women fired for requesting timely pay

A company in Shangqiu, Henan province, fired two employees who suggested they wanted their salaries paid on time. One employee, surnamed Zhang, left a post in her WeChat Moments expressing envy at those who get paid on time, while her colleague agreed in the comments. The health care center they work for believed the post had “caused terrible impact on the company,” and stated that “it’s normal to delay salary payment for one month.” After their case came to light, the local Human Resources and Social Security Bureau helped Zhang and her colleague gain compensation.

Employees forced to tell boss how much time they spend on their phones

A company in Wuhan, Hubei province, was criticized for requiring employees to submit a screenshot of their usage records of apps on their mobile phones before they clock off for the day. The company was allegedly checking whether workers had watched videos, played games, or visited other non-work related apps during office hours.

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