Legendary figure skater retires, more attacks on women shock the public, Chinese paddlefish officially extinct, livestreamers fake assault to avoid work—it’s Viral Week
Figure skating superstar Yuzuru Hanyu announces retirement
On Tuesday, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu announced his retirement from competition. Hanyu is one of the most decorated figure skaters in history, with two Olympic gold medals and seven world championship medals, and has a huge fanbase in China. His Chinese fans, nicknamed “Fan-yus,” took figure-skating fandom to a level never seen before. A hashtag related to his retirement received 250 million views on Weibo, with many thanking the “ice prince” for his years of dedication.
After the violent assault on a group of women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan, Hebei province, last month, more attacks on women last week drew the ire of the public. In a bar in Zhongmu county, Henan province, shocking surveillance footage showed a man violently dragging a 16-year-old girl into a toilet stall by her hair, and tearing her coat in the process. The girl eventually managed to escape when bystanders forced there way into the toilet stall to help her. According to The Paper, the girl had entered the bar with the man and two other friends, and earlier in the night the man had exposed his genitals to her. The 27-year-old man, surnamed Li, is under investigation for “forcible indecency.”
Another case on July 16 saw a woman attacked by a man while she was waiting for an elevator in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Security footage shows a man in white tank top charging toward the woman from behind, shoving her into a wall where her head hits the elevator control board, before the man flees the scene. The victim, who required six stitches above her eye as a result of the attack, said she did not know the attacker or his motive. On July 20, local police reported having captured the suspect, but didn’t release details of punishment or further investigations.
A recent viral video shows two popular videogame livestreamers getting beaten up by eight people on the streets of Zhanjiang, Guangdong province. However, after the police investigated the incident, it turned out the two men, who have millions of followers online, had staged the attack allegedly so they wouldn’t have to livestream any more and could “take leave” from their followers who expect regular content from them. Local police detained the two livestreamers for ten days for the scam, while some netizens suspected the attack was staged for publicity.
Grandmother, 36, sparks debate about marriage and childbirth
A 36-year-old woman surnamed Zhang in Nanyang, Henan province, went viral after posting a video of her grandchild on Douyin, China’s TikTok. The baby is the child of Zhang’s 18-year-old son. The video sparked debate about whether getting married and having children at a young age should be encouraged. In a follow-up video, Zhang explained that having children young is “nothing new” in her hometown, and apologized for setting a "negative example" to others.
Chinese paddelfish officially exctinct
On July 22, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) officially announced that the Chinese paddlefish is extinct. A freshwater species that lived in the Yangtze River and could measure up to 7.5 meters long, the Chinese paddlefish suffered from overfishing since the 1970s. Construction of dams and pollution along the Yangtze River also affected its habitat and blocked the fish’s migration routes. The last known sighting of the Chinese paddlefish was in January 2003 in Yibin, Sichuan province. The IUCN also released a new Red List of threatened species, listing China’s Yangtze sturgeon as “extinct in the wild.”
Baidu launches self-driving taxi
Chinese internet giant Baidu unveiled an all-electric autonomous taxi vehicle, the first launched using its Xinghe self-driving platform. The Apollo RT6, Baidu’s sixth- generation autonomous vehicle, costs 37,000 US dollars per unit to produce, the company said. Baidu said they intend to operate the four- to six-seater vehicle in major cities in 2023.
Elderly man complains at not being allowed to swim
Li Guoyu, an 82-year-old Nanjing resident and swimming enthusiast, sued a local gym for discriminating against the elderly after it refused to renew his swimming membership card due to his age. The gym is apparently worried about Li’s safety, and cited the 2013 list of high-risk sports published by China’s General Administration of Sports that included swimming. The case is still under consideration by the courts.
City offers rewards for reporting unregulated swimming
In an attempt to prevent drownings, the city of Yibin, Sichuan province, announced rewards of 100 to 200 yuan for anyone who puts a halt to elementary and secondary school students who frolick in unregulated waters. Activities subject to reporting and interventions include swimming, playing in water, rafting, or fishing. An announcement on the Yibin education and sports bureau WeChat account states the reward applies to anyone who presents “at least three photos” of a student engaging in dangerous water activities, returning to shore after intervention, and leaving the water bank, “or a full video” of the incident. Students found swimming in unregulated areas will be ineligible for honors and awards for the school year.