Explosion kills two and injures 22, “gaokao” results released, farmers allowed to pay for property with wheat, Hong Kong floating restaurant sinks—it’s Viral Week
An explosion on a shopping street in Yanjiao, Hebei province, killed two and injured 22 on the morning of June 24. Shops and surrounding buildings were left in ruins. The town borders Beijing’s Tongzhou district. An initial report suggested that a bottle of liquified petroleum caused the massive blast, but it remains unclear where this originated from.
Property developer accepts wheat as down payment for homes
A real estate company in Henan province went viral for allowing buyers in Minquan and Qixian counties to make down payment on apartments with wheat and garlic. To complete the exchange, property buyers need to sell their product to partnering wholesalers. The marketing campaign, which the company claimed would help local farmers buy homes, saw 30 properties sold between May 22 and June 6. According to Jiemian News’s calculation, however, buyers would need to hand over at least 465,000 kilograms of wheat or 154,500 kilograms of garlic on average to afford a down payment, an impossible sum for average farmers. The local government put a stop to the campaign on June 22.
Provincial governments are gradually releasing results for the gaokao, China’s college entrance exam, with many parents and students sharing their moments of joy and despair on discovering their results. The exam is the sole determining factor for whether students can go to university, and to which institution. One video shows a father in Yunnan shedding tears of relief after his son scored 681, a score well above the 2021 admission line for Fudan University in Shanghai, his son’s dream school. Other videos show students not daring to look and covering their computer screens with their hands, parents leaping out of their chairs, or whole families crying with excitement.
Meanwhile, China’s prestigious Peking and Tsinghua universities have been striving to convince top-scoring students to join their programs, with some parents claiming they received calls from university employees at 3 a.m. in the morning.
Woman avoids washing hair for three months
A woman in Guangdong province, fearing baldness, stopped washing her hair for three months. The woman, surnamed Gai, took to social media for advice after her badly tangled and matted hair apparently began to give her insomnia, anaemia, and neck and shoulder pain. One hair salon quoted Gai 3,000 yuan to untangle the hair with several staff working at once, and another suggested she shave it all off.
Bai Xuefang, a 24-year-old woman from Baoding, Hebei province, made a video asking for help to find her biological parents while wearing a traditional wedding gown and holding a photo of herself as a child. Bai hopes that her parents can attend her wedding ceremony. Bai was born around 1998 and was allegedly abducted and sold by traffickers for 1,000 yuan to her current family when she was three or four years old. Bai had been sold twice before ending up with her current parents, who she claims often beat her and forced her to do chores. At 15, Bai found out the truth and began searching for her birth parents since she left home at 17.
Hong Kong floating restaurant capsizes
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant, an iconic restaurant which floated in Hong Kong’s harbor for over 40 years, has reportedly capsized after it was towed into the South China Sea. The 80-meter, three-story floating restaurant could not find the funds to keep operating during Covid-19, and shut down in 2020. It was a popular spot for local residents, tourists, as well as a number of celebrities, including Tom Cruise and Queen Elizabeth II. It also featured in numerous movies. The shuttered restaurant was apparently on course for a shipyard in Cambodia when it capsized.
Flooding in the south sees mass evacuations
Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated from their homes after major floods hit southern China. Rainfall in parts of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, and Jiangxi hit records not seen since 1961. The flooding has caused an estimated 470 million yuan’s worth of damage.
Man jailed for sexual assault on Alibaba employee
A court in Jinan, Shandong province, sentenced businessman Zhang Guo to 18 months in prison, nearly a year after an Alibaba employee accused him of sexually assaulting her after a business dinner. Zhang was charged with “forcible indecency.” The case went viral online when the employee made the allegations public, claiming internet giant Alibaba had not taken her accusations seriously—Alibaba responded by firing the female victim, claiming she had damaged the reputation of the company.