Changsha building collapse
Photo Credit: VCG

53 Dead in Building Collapse and Other Trending News

Cooking and cleaning added to school curriculum, Weibo shows users’ locations, Beijing Covid-19 restrictions tighten, Changsha building collapses—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.

Over 50 dead in building collapse

An eight-story building housing a hotel, a movie theater, and several other businesses collapsed on April 29 in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, trapping dozens inside. Search and rescue efforts concluded on May 6 with 10 people rescued and 53 confirmed dead. Police have detained several people in relation to the incident, including the building’s owner, who is accused of adding the top two stories illegally, and a firm that faked safety inspection documents for the building.

Cooking and cleaning added to school curriculum

China’s Ministry of Education has issued a new curriculum that will require elementary and middle school students to take “labor” (home economics) courses, including cooking, cleaning, handcrafts, growing vegetables, and raising small animals. The new curriculum will go into effect in September.

Family feud goes viral

One of China’s most convoluted family feuds took another dramatic turn in late April, when Rong Ting, daughter of Shandong Lanxiang Technical College founder Rong Lanxiang, publicly accused her mother Kong Suying of lying to the media and hiding assets abroad. Since their divorce, Kong and Rong Lanxiang have engaged in a bitter dispute over the ownership of an apartment complex in Henan province, with Kong accusing her ex-husband of domestic violence, infidelity, and identity fraud. It also infamously sparked a brawl in 2014 between Kong’s family members and 100 staff and students from Lanxiang who were allegedly coerced into traveling to Henan to take part. One of China’s biggest vocational schools, Lanxiang was made famous by TV ads featuring Tang Guoqiang, an actor well-known for playing Mao Zedong.

Elderly man mistaken for dead

An elderly Shanghai resident was mistakenly declared dead and taken to a morgue in a body bag before workers realized he was still alive. After video footage of the incident spread widely on social media, the district government stated that five officials had been punished, and one doctor’s license had been revoked.

Covid restrictions tighten in Beijing

In the wake of a rising number of Covid cases, Beijing’s Center for Disease Control has gradually tightened restrictions, including telling residents of Chaoyang district to work from home, restricting restaurants to takeout only, and closing non-essential businesses. Some residential compounds have been locked down, while mass Covid testing has been rolled out sometimes daily in parts of the city.

Famed actress Qin Yi dies at 100

Actress Qin Yi passed away on May 9 at age 100. Qin gained fame for her performances in Chongqing during the war against Japan, and was one of China’s most popular performers throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Food blogger posts apparent suicide message

Food blogger “Yishiji,” who has over 661,000 followers on video platform Bilibili, posted a video last Thursday that included a confession about his homosexuality and suggested he would commit suicide. Yishiji’s fans expressed their concern for the blogger in the comments section under the video, titled “Thank you, goodbye,” while the video platform said it was trying to contact the blogger and had alerted local police in the blogger’s hometown of Linqi, Shandong province. That police say they are still investigating the incident, but Yishiji has not updated since the farewell video.

Weibo and other social media platforms begin posting users’ location

Microblogging platform Weibo began publishing users’ IP locations when they post or comment on the site in order to “maintain a healthy and orderly discussion atmosphere.” The feature shows the posters’ province or region in China, or their country if they are abroad; it is mandatory and cannot be turned off. WeChat has followed suit for user comments under articles, and a number of other platforms announced they would implement similar features, including Xiaohongshu (RED) and Douyin.


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