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China Memes & Viral

Banter and Doubts on Weibo after Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19

Manya Koetse

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Screenshot via CGTN shared on Weibo

First published 15:00 CST, updated 20:00 CST

News of U.S. President Donald Trump testing positive for COVID-19 has immediately become one of the most discussed topics on Chinese social media.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” – it is the tweet that was sent out by American President Donald Trump on October 2nd, early afternoon Beijing time, on the second day of the Chinese Golden Week holiday.

This Golden Week marks a joyous occasion in China, as the country’s National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival both fall on October 1 this year.

News of President Trump testing positive for COVID-19 immediately spread on Chinese social media and reached a top position on the Sina Weibo platform, where many people respond to the news with banter.

“Is this a National Day gift?” (“国庆礼物?”) some commenters wonder.

Other responses just say “ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

“The whole world rejoices!” a top comment says, using a Chinese expression (“普天同庆”) that indirectly is also a reference to Trump’s name in Chinese.

Confirmation of President Trump testing positive for COVID-19 comes after Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s senior advisers, reportedly also tested positive. Hicks traveled together with President Trump to a rally in Duluth, Minnesota. News of Hicks getting infected with the coronavirus also went trending on Weibo earlier today (#特朗普女助理确诊新冠#).

Within moments, the Weibo hashtag “Mr & Mrs Trump Test Positive for Corona” (#特朗普夫妇确诊新冠#) rose from a few thousand clicks to 280 million views around 14:00 in the afternoon, to 660 million clicks an hour later.

The main news sources shared on Weibo are not official state media sources, but Chinese news outlets such as Phoenix News and Sina World. State media outlets People’s Daily and Xinhua News did not report the news on its main news pages at time of writing.

The responses on Chinese social media are partly because of how the American President has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in his own country, not just playing down the severity, but also calling it the “Chinese virus.”

But there are also Weibo users who doubt that Trump is actually infected with the virus, calling it a “crafty strategy” to win sympathy in the middle of the presidential election campaign. Getting criticism for how he dealt with the COVID-19 epidemic in America, “this is the chance for him to show he stands together with the American people,” one news blogger (@财神军哥, 85.550 fans) writes, speculating that the feelings of those people in the US who were infected and criticized Trump will “instantly change from hatred to sympathy.”

“If it is really true [that Trump is infected], I hope he drinks enough warm water,” one person writes: “If it is not true, I hope he drinks boiling water.”

Update 20:15 CST

By 20:00 Beijing time, the topic “Mr & Mrs Trump Test Positive for Corona” (#特朗普夫妇确诊新冠#) has attracted a staggering 1.4 billion clicks on Sina Weibo.

One of the topics discussed on Sina Weibo is “what is your first response to Trump testing positive for the new coronavirus?”

“It is a script that is well-written,” one popular comment says: “Pretend to be infected > then cured > no need to fear COVID-19 > it’s just like the flu > the economy can be restarted > the support levels [for Trump] will rise > he will be re-elected.”

This idea of Trump following a script is further spread on social media via a photoshopped film poster saying “TAKING THE CROWN”, “directed and written by Trump.” The character for ‘crown’ (冠) is also the Chinese term for the new coronavirus.

There are other memes and wordplay jokes relating to President Trump “taking the crown” / “getting corona” (夺冠) on Chinese social media. Another image designed by ‘Four Four Six Six’ (@就是四四六六) also shows Trump being ‘crowned.’

In an online poll held by Toutiao News, Weibo users could respond to what they first thought after hearing the news, allowing participants to choose between seven different answers, but the one chosen by a great majority is: “I already expected this to happen.”

In talking about Trump, netizens commonly refer to him as ‘川建国’ (‘Chuan Jianguo‘), meaning “Build-the-Country Trump,” an online joke to refer to the president as someone whose deeds and words only help to accelerate the further rise of China. The fact that the president’s positive COVID-19 test comes at a time when the mainland Chinese are celebrating their National Day only further adds to this joke.

One Weibo user jokes: “I didn’t expect that Trump would congratulate us on our National Day, let alone that he would do it in this way!”

“It’s really not ok to take in other people’s misery,” one Shanghai netizen says: “…but I really can’t help myself.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Memes & Viral

Wedding Canceled over Too-Tight Underwear: Chinese Local Wedding Tradition Goes Trending

Chinese local traditions still matter. A size too small was the end of this Guizhou wedding day.

Manya Koetse

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A wedding in Guizhou was canceled after the bride discovered the underwear bought for her as part of a local wedding tradition was too small. The incident has sparked discussions on old-fashioned customs in modern-day weddings.

There is so much happening in the world right now, but besides the bigger issues, a local Chinese wedding scandal has been attracting major attention on social media over the past few days.

On January 2nd, a young man from Zunyi in Guizhou province had his own wedding day canceled by his prospective in-laws because the underwear that was bought for his bride turned out to be too small.

According to local customs, the groom’s side was supposed to buy the bride a new outfit from top to bottom, including shoes (a custom called shàngtoulǐ “上头礼”). But because the undergarment purchased by the groom was too tight, the wedding ceremony was called off at the very last moment.

Not wanting to waste the expensive food and arrangements, the groom’s relatives decided to turn the wedding reception into a New Year’s party instead.

A video that has been circulating on Weibo, also reposted by Xinhua News, shows how the wedding reception host explains to the guests why the wedding ceremony cannot proceed, proposing to continue the festivities anyway as a casual New Year’s social gathering.

The incident received massive attention on social media, with one hashtag about the news garnering over 740 million views (#小伙因买内衣不合适迎亲被拒#). On Q&A site Zhihu.com, one thread about the issue received over 4200 replies.

 

Size does matter

 

Although there are many commenters who say the bride “made a big fuss over nothing”, there are also those who think bad communication and outdated customs and beliefs are at the root of the canceled wedding.

Many people on social media also express their surprise at the different local wedding traditions within China, which can greatly vary from region to region.

The too-tight underwear case is about more than just being a size too small. The Chinese idiom “wear tight shoes” (chuān xiǎoxié ‘穿小鞋’) means “to make life difficult.” Giving someone tight shoes to wear (给人穿小鞋) means making things hard for someone by abusing one’s power.

In this case, although it is about the groom’s side giving the bride too-tight underwear instead of shoes, the bride’s side allegedly took it as a sign that the groom wanted to teach his future wife a lesson that he would not make life easy for her and would want her to be obedient.

The bride later spoke to Red Star News (红星新闻) to clarify that things were not as simple as presented in the viral news story. The fact that the underwear that was bought for her was too tight – the bra was two sizes too small – was indeed a problem, but it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The couple had conflicts before this occurred, and when the bride wanted to discuss the problem of the tight underwear, she was met with an unpleasant response from the groom’s side, as they refused to buy her suitable underwear.

She also said that after the wedding was canceled the bride price of 88,000 yuan ($13,650) was returned to the groom’s family.

The couple had previously already officially registered for marriage. The two are now filing for divorce.

 

“A struggle between modern society and feudal rubbish”

 

On WeChat, popular blogging account Xinwenge also posted about this matter, suggesting it was actually the groom’s mother who bought the tight underwear.

Xinwenge quotes some netizens from Guizhou who allege that in-laws often buy clothes or shoes for their future daughter-in-law to show the bride their own dominant position. “It’s a struggle between modern society and feudal rubbish,” the author writes.

Other netizens also share their own stories, such as the experience of ‘King Cat Wants To Travel’, who says that her mother-in-law was never involved in the planning of her wedding until she absolutely insisted on making the bed on the night before the wedding.

“I found out why on our wedding day,” she writes: “She put the duvet from their family on top of mine”, implying the husband’s side would be ‘on top’ in the marriage. She adds: “PS: we’re now divorced.”

Another local custom mentioned is that of the bride having to wait outside the house, not being able to go in until someone from her new husband’s family tells her to – allegedly in order to make the bride a more obedient wife afterward.

One Weibo user commented that local traditions and customs are getting in the way of the true meaning of marriage. Regardless of what the groom’s parents say, what the bride’s parents do, what the bride price is, how the guests behave, “do these two people who are getting married actually feel good about it? Do they approve of each other’s values and ideas about life? Do they feel they’re suitable to spend their lives together?”

“If this is a modern-day wedding, why should the bride still be expected to wear the underwear bought for her by her mother-in-law?” another person writes.

“It’s 2021. You’re not getting married over customs, nor over underwear,” another person says.

But not everyone agrees, with some still valuing the power of tradition: “Buying her small underwear means making her life difficult. It’s impossible that they did not know this. It’s good that they didn’t marry.”

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Celebs

Angelababy, Huang Xiaoming, Li Fei’er: Love Triangle Rumors From Decade Ago Revisited

Weibo explodes after Angelababy addresses rumors that have been going on for over ten years.

Manya Koetse

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On Wednesday afternoon, Beijing time, Weibo exploded when Chinese celebrity couple Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy addressed some strong rumors about the start of their relationship.

Their posts resulted in various hashtags and search terms going viral, including the phrases “When Angelababy Met Huang Xiaoming, He Said He Was Single” and “Angelababy Was Not My Mistress.” At least three out of today’s top trending Weibo topics are related to Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming.

Angelababy (nickname for Yang Ying 杨颖) is practically a household name in China. The famous actress and model married actor Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) in 2015, and ever since, their marriage and relationship status is a popular gossip topic on social media. The two have a son together.

With Angelababy having over 100 million fans on her Weibo page (@angelababy) and Huang Xiaoming having over 61 million followers on his (@黄晓明), the two are practically Weibo’s most followed couple. Their $31 million wedding is probably the most-discussed Chinese weddings of the past decade.

Chinese actress Li Fei’er (李菲儿) previously dated Huang Xiaoming after working with him in the 2008 television series Royal Tramp (鹿鼎记). The two are said to have started a relationship in 2007, and to have broken up in 2010 – the same year when Huang got together with Angelababy. The ending of the relationship with Li and the start of the new love affair with Angelababy has been a source of gossip for over a decade.

In a 2011 interview with a Hong Kong magazine, Li had hinted that Angelababy was previously ‘the other woman’ during her relationship with Huang.

The rumors surrounding that alleged love triangle between Angelababy, Li, and Huang reached a new peak this week when Huang Xiaoming and Li Fei’er shared a stage on the super popular reality series Sisters Who Make Waves 2, which features 30 female celebrities over the age of 30. Huang hosts the show.

Apparently, Angelababy felt that the waves of rumors became too strong for her not to speak out. In the late afternoon of January 6, she posted a Weibo post in which she stated that Huang Xiaoming told her he was single when they first met. When Li made ‘groundless’ comments about Angelababy in a magazine interview, she asked Huang about it, and “he told me they had broken up.”

“A decade has passed by. Today, I’ve chosen to stand up for myself and to explain the entire thing clearly. I don’t want to take the blame anymore,” Angelababy writes.

She also added that she felt this is “a matter between Mister Huang and Li Fei’er,” suggesting that Huang is the person who needs to clarify the matter to the public.

Angelababy’s post was followed up by a post by Huang just an hour later, in which he stated the success of the Sister Who Make Waves tv show lies in the values it conveys to respect women, suggesting that the recent flood of rumors is harmful to the show’s central theme, the women participating in it, as well as to his own family.

He further clarifies that Angelababy “was not a mistress,” refuting ongoing rumors about the start of their relationship.

The huge attention for this matter seemed to temporarily put a strain on Weibo’s servers, with the site momentarily showing a notification that its servers were too busy. In 2017, Weibo servers could no longer handle the peak in traffic after Chinese singer ad actor Lu Han announced his new relationship.

Weibo servers were busy after Angelababy posted about the decade-old ‘love triangle’ rumors.

For now, the statements by Angelababy and Huang have only brought about more speculation. The fact that Angelababy refers to her husband as “Mr. Huang” in her post intensifies ongoing rumors that Huang and Angelababy might already be separated.

Meanwhile, Li Fei’er, who has over 11 million followers on her Weibo page (@李菲儿love) has not posted anything about the recent developments. In her last post on January 1st, she wished her followers a happy new year.

By Wednesday night, Beijing time, Angelababy’s post had received over 1,3 million likes and 100,000 comments; Huang’s post got over 850,000 likes, already making this celebrity news one of the most talked-about topics this week.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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