Sheep-raising game on WeChat goes viral, quarantine bus crash kills 27, woman on solo road trip seeks divorce, and monkeypox found in Chongqing—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.
Sheep-raising mobile game goes viral, accused of plagiarism
New Chinese mobile game Yang Le Ge Yang (“Sheep a Sheep“) has gone viral on WeChat, with the server crashing three times in two days since the game‘s release on September 13. The match-tiles game is noted for its difficulty, with only 0.1 percent of its millions of players passing. However, Beijing Jianyou Tech., the company behind the viral mobile game, was also accused of plagiarism by the company representing 3 Tiles, a matching game that has a similar type of gameplay involving tiles. Jianyou has denied the accusations.
Quarantine bus crash kills 27, injures 20
A bus transferring 47 people from to a quarantine facility in the southwestern province of Guizhou crashed and rolled into a ditch on the side of the highway at around 2:40 a.m. on September 18. The crash killed 27 people onboard, including the driver and a staff member, and injured 20. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but traffic laws prohibit long-distance passenger coaches from driving on the road between 2 and 5 a.m. Guizhou is seeing an ongoing Covid outbreak that has infected over 2,400 people and killed 2.
Preteen strangles grandmother to death
A disturbing viral video shows a 10-year-old boy in Heilongjiang province placing his grandmother in a choke-hold after she slapped him, not letting go until the elderly woman stopped moving. The person recording the video, which turned out to be another child, can be heard laughing as the boy cursed at his grandmother for constantly beating him. The boy was later arrested. Last year, China lowered its minimum age of criminal responsibility for serious crimes to 12, following a spate of headlines about increasingly violent crimes committed by minors.
Woman on solo road trip decides to divorce
Su Min, a 58-year-old woman who inspired the whole country when she left home for a solo road trip in 2020 to escape an abusive marriage, announced she will be getting a divorce from her husband. Previously, Su, who had beeing sharing her journey on short-video app Douyin, had stated she still wanted to make her marriage work. In early September, Su returned home to Henan province for the first time in two years to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival with her extended family, and posted a video of her husband insulting her and asking whether she came home because she “failed to make it,” explaining her decision to divorce.
First monkeypox case on Chinese mainland found in Chongqing
Chongqing recorded the first known monkeypox virus infection on the Chinese mainland on Friday, September 16. The patient had recently returned from abroad, and had been in isolation following Covid-19 prevention protocols when diagnosed. The virus can cause symptoms including fever, rash, headache, fatigue, and soreness, and is mainly transmitted through direct contact. Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China's Center for Disease Control, posted an article on Weibo introducing the public to facts about the virus and its outbreaks around the world. Among the tips for prevention, the article suggested "avoid skin-to-skin direct contact with foreigners," which courted controversy on social media.
Medicinal soda with 232 ingredients revealed to be false advertising
A soda beverage went viral for listing 232 ingredients in a 420 milliliter-bottle, mostly fruits and vegetables including dragon fruit, leeks, green onions, and bitter-melon, and making a host of health claims such as helping consumers to keep fit and slim down. Later, the manufacturer clarified the drink simply contains enzymes powder with elements from these 232 ingredients, which actually makes the product no different from ordinary drinking water, according to nutritionists.
Earthquake in Taiwan kills 1, injures 146
Rescue operations are ongoing for a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit Hualian county, Taiwan, on September 18, killing one person and injuring 146. Video footage shows buildings collapsed, mountain roads blocked, train carriages derailed, and bridges damaged. Coastal areas on the Chinese mainland, such as Fujian, Zhejiang, and Shanghai, also felt tremors.
Changsha skyscraper catches fire, no casualties
Changsha's China Telecom building, a 218-meter skyscraper built in 2000, caught fire from the fifth floor around 3:45 p.m. on September 16. Flame quickly engulfed the exterior of the whole building and left the entire construction charcoal black. The fire were put out within an hour and no casualty was recorded. One month prior to the accident, the Hunan branch of China Telecom has put out a call for contractors to bid on repairing the building's ill-maintained and sub-standard fire prevention system with a budget of 4.41 million yuan, but failed to attract competitive bidders.
52-year-old college freshman inspires praise and criticism
This month, Lu Xinlin, a 52-year-old re-enrolling at the Hubei Light Industry Technology Institute, became the oldest freshman in the school’s history. Lu had graduated from a technical college and began studying for the college entrance exams (gaokao) last year after having retired early due to health reasons. Though most of the public, including some educational experts, applauded Lu for his aspiration to learn in middle-age, a number of trolls accused him of "wasting educational resources" that should be offered to young people.