Foxcon workers fleeing
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Factory Workers Flee Lockdown on Foot and Other Trending News

Factory workers walk home on foot amid alleged Covid outbreak, women’s protection law updated, dog uses facial recognition, toddler gives laptop a bath, rapping villager goes viral—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.

Workers leaving Foxconn on foot lead factory to respond to Covid conditions

Videos of what looked like hundreds of factory workers fleeing Foxconn in Zhengzhou to return to their hometowns on foot led shocked netizens to demand transparency over conditions in the factory, which runs three campuses in the capital of Henan province. Parts of Zhengzhou have been under lockdown since mid-October, and Foxconn workers have posted videos (many since removed) alleging they are lacking food and safe places to isolate from infected coworkers. On October 26, Foxconn refuted allegations that over 20,000 workers have been infected in their factories, and on October 30, announced it would arrange transportation for workers who wished to leave and improve living conditions for those who stay.

China revamps women’s protection law, including rules on media coverage

China revised its women’s protection law for the first time in nearly 30 years on October 30, strengthening the protection of women against gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The new law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2023, makes employers accountable for violations of women’s labor and security rights, and local authorities responsible for rescuing kidnapped or trafficked women, while specifying that obstructing the rescue of trafficked women is an offense. It also stipulates that “media coverage of women’s issues should be objective and moderate,” though does not clarify the parameters of this rule.

Record-breaking civil servant positions

Last week, China announced that it will recruit for a record-breaking 37,100 civil servant positions in 2023. Applications are open until November 3, with exams held around December. The number of applicants hit a record 2.12 million last year, with 68 applicants competing for each post.

Rapping villager becomes social media sensation

A woman from rural Liaoning province in northeast China became a social media sensation overnight, racking up millions of views on Douyin with her cover of “Plain Jane” by American rapper A$AP Ferg. Netizens expressed surprise at her language skills and praised her American accent and flow, some even expressing doubts that she was really just the rural mom she claims to be.

Retirees recreate hit palace TV drama and get cited for copyright violation

A group of 16 retirees recently took a vacation to remember: traveling to the city of Hengdian, Zhejiang province, which hosts a replica movie set of Beijing’s Forbidden City, and re-shooting scenes from the 2011 hit TV drama Empresses in the Palace. While netizens initially applauded the seniors’ creativity in coming up with a cheap holiday for themselves (it apparently cost just 4,000 yuan per person including all the costumes, shooting, and living expenses) and living out their dreams of becoming actors, the heartwarming story took a turn days later when the show’s copyright holder claimed violation and asked the retirees to remove their video from streaming platforms.

Customer tip prompts police call

A woman in Lu’an, Anhui province, received visits from the police and her apartment’s property management after a food delivery worker misunderstood her tip as a cry for help. The woman sent the driver a tip of 1.10 yuan, the same number (“110”) for calling the police in an emergency in China. The delivery driver called the police, though the woman later explained she was in no danger, and the number was simply a coincidence. Nonetheless, the delivery worker’s considerate manner earned him praise from netizens.

Toddler washes laptop after father complains it’s “full of trash”

On October 20, a mother surnamed Zhang from Jinxiang county, Shandong province, discovered her 2-year-old daughter soaking her laptop in the bath and washing it with body lotion. The toddler was apparently trying to help clean the laptop after her father had complained that the computer was “full of rubbish,” likely referring to superfluous data clogging up its hard drive. The laptop, which Zhang said cost her 9,000 yuan, was beyond repair following its bath.

Dog unlocks facial recognition gate

Last week, a dog owner from Hefei, Anhui province, found her dog could unlock the facial recognition gate to her residential compound. The woman had been walking her dog when she tried to scan back into her gated community using the facial recognition software. After it failed to recognize her, she picked up her dog and tried its face instead, which, to her surprise, unlocked the gate. “I’ve tried it a couple of times and it has worked every time,” she told a reporter after a video of the incident went viral online.


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