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Ugly School Textbook Controversy and Other Trending News

Dancing Psyduck toy goes viral, ugly textbook illustrations panned, undergraduate rejected from job for being “too old,” man scales 37 floors unaided—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.

KFC’s Psyduck toy goes viral

Consumers have gone crazy for KFC’s newly released Pokemon toys, in particular a dancing Psyduck. The toys are part of the fast-food chain’s Children’s Day promotion, and each kids’ meal comes with a Pikachu or Psyduck toy. The Psyduck toy is popular for its quirky dance moves, with netizens dressing the toy in various outfits and attaching slogans to its flippers. KFCs around the country quickly sold out of the toy, and listings online are now priced up to 1,600 yuan.

Math textbook panned for ugly and sexual content

An elementary school math textbook published by People’s Education Press, a publishing house that has produced many widely adopted textbooks, unsettled netizens with its bizarre aesthetics. Characters in the illustrations all feature gaping mouths, tongues dangling out, and eyes spaced unusually far apart. Netizens also criticized the illustrations for bulges in the crotch of boys’ pants. The publishing house has started a total remake of the illustrations, to be completed by September 1 this year, and promised to evaluate other textbooks in its portfolio.

Wang Xinling goes viral for reminding people of their youth

Wang Xinling, a 39-year-old Chinese singer and actress, went viral after she performed her song “Love You” on the reality show Sisters Who Make Waves. Wang first sang ”Love You” 17 years ago, and was a massive star when she was younger. The clip has been viewed over 7.3 million times in five days, and her songs (most over a decade old) have shot to the top of charts on various music streaming platforms. Many of her fans are men in their 30s and 40s who grew up with Wang’s music, and this group has been dubbed “Wang Xinling boys.” Many shared clips of themselves dancing along to Wang’s performance and said they hoped she would “sing and dance till [she was] 80.”

Hangzhou woman caught stealing cat food to feed strays

A woman surnamed Xu in Hangzhou has been charged with multiple cases of stealing cat food, the woman claiming it was for stray cats. Xu told police that she used to buy cat food for the stray cats in her neighborhood, but the stealing began one day when the cashier overlooked one bag at checkout. Since then, Xu has stealthily taken more cat food every time she visited the supermarket, racking up eight counts of theft when she was finally reported by a supermarket worker.

Undergraduate student loses job for being “too old”

China Unicom, a telecoms company based in Guangdong province, rejected a 24-year-old undergraduate student for being too old. The company claimed the student, surnamed He, was over the cut-off age for those hired from university. But the student had already signed a work agreement with the company’s Heyuan branch during an on-campus recruitment fair last year. The news sparked controversy over age discrimination in China’s workplaces. The company has apologized and promised to improve their recruitment process.

Netizens baffled by Henan primary school’s “drowning” classes

In Zhoukou, Henan province, a primary school has been offering classes on “drowning” where students immerse their faces into a basin full of water. The practice is supposed to mimic the sensation of drowning, to improve awareness, and avoid the accidents which often occur in bodies of water around the town.

Low-level police recruit claims to have Tsinghua PhD

A candidate for the auxiliary police in Changsha, Hunan province, went viral after she claimed to be a PhD graduate from the prestigious Tsinghua University. The revelation sparked debate around the state of China’s job market and why someone with such credentials would apply for an apparently low-level job. But Tsinghua later said they had no record the woman attended the university.

Guiyang “Spiderman” climbs down 37 floors unaided

A man from Guiyang, Guizhou province, climbed down 37 storeys with no safety equipment before being pulled back in through a third floor window by firefighters. Concerned onlookers snapped photos and captured the event on video. Many netizens dubbed him the “real life Spiderman.” The reason for the man’s perilous descent is unknown. A theory that he was escaping a Covid-19 lockdown has been debunked.


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