Guizhou train crash
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Mudslide Causes Fatal Train Crash and Other Trending News

High-speed train driver killed in crash, man struck by lightning on dragon boat, four dead in Sichuan earthquake, gradual reopening in Shanghai and Beijing —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.

Train derails after hitting mudslide on tracks

One person was killed and eight injured when a high-speed train crashed into a mudslide in Guizhou province. The train, which had been traveling on Saturday morning between Guiyang and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, collided with earth that had spilled down onto the tracks. Two carriages derailed and crashed into a nearby railway station. Official reports confirmed that the driver had pulled the emergency brake ahead of the accident, but had been killed on impact.

Scenes of reopening in Shanghai and Beijing

Shanghai reopened on June 1 after two months of citywide lockdown due to Covid-19. Videos of people partying in the street, strolling down the Bund, and honking their car horns have gone viral, and hotels across the city received on average 16 times the amount of reservations during the weekend of the Duanwu “Dragon Boat” Festival (June 3 - 5) compared to the previous weekend. Some restrictions remain, such as requiring passengers to hold a negative nucleic acid test result obtained within the last 24 hours before boarding public transportation.

On June 6, restaurants across most of Beijing resumed dine-in services after 36 days of take-out only services. A number of parks and scenic areas have also reopened, most operating at 50 percent capacity and requiring visitors to have reservations and nucleic acid test results.

Male teachers wear qipao to support exam-takers

In Zhengzhou, Henan province, both male and female teachers wore traditional qipao to the student assembly to cheer on students about to take the college entrance exam, or gaokao. Netizens were largely supportive of the gesture to help reduce students’ anxieties. The gaokao, which begins tomorrow, can be of life-changing importance, as it determines which higher education institutes Chinese high school students can graduate into.

Sichuan earthquake kills four

On June 1, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Lushan county in Ya’an, Sichuan province, killing four people and injuring 42 others, while causing substantial damage to buildings and triggering multiple rockslides. Videos circulated online of students taking shelter or evacuating their schools as the quake hit.

Kindle to exit China

US-ecommerce firm Amazon announced it will stop operating its Kindle e-bookstore in China from June 30, 2023. After that date, users in China will not be able to purchase books or download the Kindle app. Many commented on why Kindle was unsuccessful in China, including abundance of pirated online literature, domestic e-reader competition, and user preference towards mobile reading.

Female tourist told to stay away from “male-only” dragons boats

A female tourist in a town in Foshan, Guangdong province, who posted a video of herself standing on a dragon boat before a race during the Duanwu Festival, was verbally abused by local netizens claiming that she disrespected their traditions. According to these netizens, it is a custom in these parts that women are not allowed onto dragon boats—sometimes, not even allowed to touch or look at them—as it would bring bad luck. Several journalists have written to critique this supposed tradition as outdated, while other netizens claiming to be from Guangdong said they have never heard of this custom, or, if it ever existed, it went out of fashion decades ago.

Shenzhou-14 launches into space

China’s ninth manned spaceflight, the Shenzhou-14 mission, successfully launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia on Sunday. The crew of three will live and work on China’s Tiangong Space Station for six months before returning to Earth in December.

Nine patients in one hospital after choking on date pits

Doctors from the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an treated nine patients who had all choked on date pits after eating zongzi, a traditional treat during Duanwu Festival. Netizens, especially those who dislike sweet-flavored zongzi, joked that this is why they never ate the gelatinous rice pyramids stuffed with dates.

Man struck by lightning while on dragon boat

A video of lightning striking a man aboard a dragon boat in Quantang town, Hunan province, went viral last Friday. Local authorities said they had been trying to identify and check on the man, but had no leads as yet.


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