Health code asterik
Photo Credit: VCG

Covid-19 Health Code Drops Asterisks and Other Trending News

Asterisk dropped from Covid-19 travel code, woman fakes Russian history on Wikipedia, emojis used in court, father cries over son’s math score—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.

China scraps asterisk on health code but many cities find replacements

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced it is scrapping the asterisk that displays on a person’s “travel code” if they have been to a city containing risk areas for Covid-19, as it is inaccurate for gauging a person’s actual risk of infection. Several cities and provinces, though, have attracted criticism from the public as well as the Center for Disease Control for adding replacements for the asterisk, such as an exclamation mark found in the city of Hangzhou’s health code app.

Woman fakes Russian history on Wikipedia for over a decade

An internet user calling herself “Zhemao” admitted to fabricating over 200 entries on the Chinese-language version of Wikipedia on Russian history since 2012, amounting to millions of words. Zhemao drew her own maps and population charts, and even made up quotes and citations from experts for her extremely detailed entries, including the fictitious “Kashen Silver Mine” (about which an 180-year war was allegedly fought), a non-existent Tatar uprising, and other made-up people and events. Her entries have been translated into multiple languages and she claims to have been cited in academic papers. The ruse remained undiscovered until Zhemao herself posted a confession on Douyin, and her accounts have since been shut down on various social media platforms.

Father cries over son’s math score

A father went viral for bursting into tears after his son scored just six out of 100 on a math exam, despite the man’s tutoring efforts. The father had reportedly helped his son study daily until midnight for a year. A video shows the distraught man crying and wiping his eyes, while his wife laughs from behind the camera. Many netizens sympathized with his parenting struggle, though others suggested the father’s tutoring ability might be the problem.

Heatwave set to bring extreme weather to Xi’an

The China Metereological Administration has warned that Xi’an, Shaanxi province, faces temperatures up to 40 degrees Centigrade this week as a heatwave moves across the country. The extreme heat will sweep the country from east to west, according to the administration, with areas in the northwest and around the Sichuan basin potentially reaching record highs.

Popular bar area in Beijing destroyed after alleged landlord dispute

Outgoing subletters demolished part of a popular Beijing nightlife area on Wednesday night. The site, Nali Patio, is a landmark of the city‘s nightlife. Photos on social media showed an excavator tearing down cladding and a woman with a sledgehammer smashing shop windows. The evening marked the end of the subletter’s decade-long lease. It is unclear if the demolition occured with the original landlord’s knowledge or permission, but The Beijinger reports it was done as per a contract agreement to return the property to its original state. The site is closed until further notice.

Man rushing for divorce fails to stop at Covid checkpoint

A man who drove through a highway toll booth at speed and failed to scan his Covid-19 health code later told police in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, that he was in a rush to divorce his wife after they had quarreled in the car. Police officers asked him to volunteer for an afternoon as a toll booth worker as punishment. The man also apparently reconciled with his wife and the couple canceled their divorce plans.

Toddler left in elevator by nanny falls to her death

A 2-year-old girl fell from an eighth floor window and died after her nanny, surnamed Wu, accidentally left her in an elevator. Surveillance footage shows Wu exiting the elevator on the first floor with another child she was looking after, but appeared to forget the 2-year-old girl. The elevator then went back up to the eighth floor, where the toddler exited and then fell from an open window. Wu is currently under investigation for “negligent homicide.”

Netizens alarmed about emojis used in court cases

An article from the Jiangsu Higher People’s Court alarmed WeChat users by noting that since 2018, there have been 158 court cases nationwide in which emojis sent within the chat app have been admitted as evidence, increasing from eight in 2018 to 61 in 2021. As examples, it cited a dispute between a landlord and a tenant in Guangdong province in which the court ruled that a smiling “sun” emoji sent by the tenant was sufficient evidence they had agreed to renew their lease, and another case where the court ruled that a person who sent the “bomb” emoji multiple times was making a violent threat. The article concluded with a warning for WeChat users to be careful when using emojis in important conversations.


TWOC‘s editors are a bilingual, international team that is always on the lookout for original and human-centered stories to share with our readers. We are dedicated to accuracy, objectivity, and looking at each of China's stories through the eyes of its participants. Get in touch through our About Us page if you have a story to pitch!

Related Articles