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Depositors Protest After Bank Blocks Withdrawals and Other Trending News

Protests by bank depositors who can’t withdraw money, knife attack at Shanghai hospital, Jay Chou new album splits opinion, and netizens fear non-melting ice cream—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.

Knife attack at Shanghai hospital leaves four wounded

A knife-wielding attacker stabbed four people at a Shanghai hospital on Saturday. After police arrived, they shot the assailant, who they found holding a crowd hostage on the seventh floor of Ruijin Hospital. The incident is still under investigation and none of the wounded sustained life-threatening injuries.

Poet with disability exposes domestic violence

Yu Xiuhua, a poet from rural Hubei famous for her work on relationships, rural life, and her cerebral palsy, made a post on Weibo accusing her partner Yang Chuce of choking her and “slapping [her] more than a hundred times.” The couple is once again at the center of controversy, after their wedding dress photo shoot also went viral on Weibo at the end of this April—many netizens suspected that Yang, 14 years younger than 46-year-old Yu, sought a relationship with Yu for fame and internet traffic. In response to Yu’s allegation of domestic violence and demand for legal justice, Yang responded on social media saying, “It’s not like I didn’t have control when I hit her, or she wouldn’t have been able to post on Weibo.”

Henan bank depositors protest

Over 1,000 protesters gathered outside the People’s Bank of China branch in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, on Sunday to demand the return of their money from rural banks. For several months, four rural banks in Henan have prevented customers from making withdrawals, while affected depositors also previously complained their Covid-19 health codes, used to identify people who have visited high risk areas, mysteriously turned red in what they suspected was an attempt by local government to stop them traveling to protest. Video footage of Sunday’s protest showed attendees holding banners and chanting, while clashes between the crowd and plain-clothed men also broke out. After the crowd was forcibly dispersed, provincial financial regulators issued a statement saying they would find a way to return savings to their owners.

Jay Chou’s new album splits fans

On July 6, 43-year-old pop icon Jay Chou released the music video of the new title track from his highly anticipated album, The Greatest Work of Art. The video received 150 million views in just 8 hours of its release, while 2.5 million copies of the new album, due for release on July 15, have reportedly been sold through presale channels. Some fans, however, are disappointed that the title track, “The Greatest Work of Art,” is very similar to Chou’s previous work, though others are happy to indulge in nostalgia, with one fan quoted by Xinhua saying “My youth is back as soon as the music starts.” The 12-track album will be Chou’s first in six years.

Local government admits “transferring” children born in contravention of one-child policy

A case in Guangxi re-opened old wounds around China’s defunct one-child policy, when county officials told a couple their seventh child, who disappeared as an infant 30 years ago, was “taken away for population adjustment.” In the official response to the couple’s request for information on their missing child, later shared on Weibo, authorities in Quanzhou county added that it was standard policy in the county at the time for local families to give up one “excess child” for this policy. No records were kept as to what happened to the child or where the child was sent. Outraged netizens expressed fear and dismay over what “transferring” children could mean, with some suggesting the child may have been sold to traffickers.

High-end ice cream criticized for suspicious lack of melting

Netizens questioned the quality of high-end Chinese ice cream brand Xue Zhong Gao (Chicecream) after viral videos showed its products don’t melt even if left at 31 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes. The discovery has led to various experiments online, with some netizens releasing videos of them burning the ice cream with a lighter or a blowtorch, and finding it doesn’t melt even when on fire. Amidst public concern over ingredients used in the ice creams, the company released a statement saying its uses a viscosity enhancer to keep the ice cream from easily melting, but that all of its products meet national quality standards.

China reacts to Shinzo Abe’s assassination

The hashtag “Abe Shows No Vital Signs” received over a billion views on Friday after Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan was shot at a campaign rally in Nara. Abe was a controversial figure in China for his pro-military stance, and was often viewed as a symbol of war crime denialism. Many comments on his death mentioned July 7, the date in 1937 regarded as the beginning of a full-scale Japanese invasion of China in which millions of Chinese perished. Soon after Abe’s death, the hashtag “Shinzo Abe Passed Away” became the number one topic on Chinese social media platform Weibo, with the hashtag page receiving over 280 million views within thirty minutes.

Huawei forced to refute internet rumors on researcher’s ties to company

Chinese tech giant Huawei went viral as over 10,000 articles posted on social media analyzed the relationship between its founder Ren Zhengfei and Chen Chunhua, president of BiMBA Business School of the National School of Development at Peking University, who some netizens claimed played a major role in in the company. Netizens also dug up photos of Ren opening a car door for Chen as supposed evidence of their work together. Huawei quickly refuted the rumors, claiming “Chen is totally unrelated to Huawei; Huawei does not know her, and it’s also impossible for her to know Huawei,” while Chen also clarified that she had nothing to do with the articles online. The incident has sparked discussion on how social media accounts drive traffic and profiting by fabricating seemingly baseless stories.

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