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Brutal Murder of Two Chinese Sisters in Japan Sets Social Media Abuzz

Manya Koetse

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The bodies of two Chinese sisters, aged 22 and 25, were discovered in Japan this week. Autopsy reports have established that the women died of strangulation. Police have arrested the main suspect: a 30-year-old married man from Japan who allegedly had an affair with one of the sisters. The brutal murder has stirred heated discussions on Chinese social media, with many calling the sisters ‘unpatriotic.’

On July 15, Japanese police confirmed the cause of death of two Chinese sisters who were found to be murdered. The two women had been missing in Japan for a week. According to the autopsy report that was released by the Kanagawa Prefectural Police, they died from strangulation.

The bodies of the two women were discovered in bags in the woods on the night of July 13 in the town of Hadano (秦野市) in Kanagawa. According to Japanese TV network TBS, the women were almost entirely naked when they were found.

The sisters Chen Baolan (陈宝兰, 25) and Chen Baozhen (陈宝珍, 22) both lived in Yokohama, about 34 miles away from the place where their bodies were found.

The Chinese embassy in Japan received an urgent rescue request after the father of the two women could not reach them since July 7. Afterwards, China’s foreign ministry urged Japanese police to solve the case.

Different Chinese news sources report that persons familiar with the sisters said that they suspected one of the frequent Japanese customers at the cafe where Chen Baolan worked – he allegedly was seen entering and exiting the women’s apartment on July 6 in the early morning.

Xinjing News reports on Weibo that a 30-year-old Japanese man has now been arrested by the Japanese police. He allegedly is a married man who had an affair with Chen Baolan. The case is currently under investigation.

The murder case has drawn a lot of attention on Chinese social media, where the topic ‘# Chinese sisters killed in Japan #’ (#中国籍姐妹在日本遇害#) became one of the top trending topics on July 15.

 

“When Chinese citizens travel to other countries, they must be vigilant.”

 

Murder cases of Chinese nationals abroad often receive much attention on social media sites such as Weibo. Earlier this year, the disappearance of Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, became a much-discussed topic. In 2016, the murder of Michelle Leng in Sydney also drew a lot of attention on social media.

The case of the two women in Kanagawa is especially noteworthy; not only because it involves the murder of two sisters, but also because it happened in Japan – a country that only has 0,3 cases of homicide in per 100,000 people.

Many people on Weibo are worried that Chinese people are just not safe when they go abroad, and that they are targeted for their nationality. “Why does it seem that when Chinese people go to other countries, they either go missing or die, while when foreigners come to China, such things rarely happen?”, some people say.

A commenter from Anhui writes: “First of all, I think that when Chinese citizens are killed in foreign countries, for whatever reason, China must get involved in the investigation to keep up our honor in the world. Second, when Chinese citizens travel to other countries, they must be vigilant. After all, we are not familiar enough with the political environment and social atmosphere of other countries. We must learn to protect ourselves. Lastly, I hope these sisters can rest in peace.”

 

“People saying these women deserved to be killed for going to Japan – don’t you know the Qing dynasty is over?”

 

But that is not the only reason why this case has attracted so much attention on Chinese social media. Netizens also blame the sisters for having an alleged love affair with a married Japanese man and for going to live in Japan, something that is considered ‘unpatriotic’ by many commenters. “I sympathize with the parents, but these sisters were up to no good,” some say.

One person on Weibo comments: “A lot of Chinese girls go abroad to show off their wealth to their friends in China and give themselves some kind of status by finding a foreign boyfriend. There are really many of these women, what kind of example are they setting?”

“Why on earth did they go to Japan? That’s where they were wrong to begin with,” another commenter said.

But there are also many people who condemn the tone of the online discussions of the case. “I am stunned by these people saying these women deserved to be killed for going to Japan – don’t you know the Qing dynasty is over?”

“All these stupid people who say ‘don’t go to Japan’ are actually not patriotic at all (..) A true patriot would never say such a thing,” one netizen writes.

“It really pains me to see so many fools in these comment sections,” one person writes: “People have died, people have been murdered, and then they are bullied on by their own fellow Chinese countrymen. This comes from brainless people – have some integrity!”

By Manya Koetse

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    john lee

    July 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    once again we thank the Communist Party of China for pointing out how evil Japan is. We also thank the Chinese Communist Party for pointing out that it is in the vanguard of stamping out prostitution in its country and for eliminating human trafficking. The great helms man Mao never indulged in prostitutes!

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China Insight

Red Cross Society of China in Bad Light Due to Online Rumors after Gansu Earthquake

Even though the rumors surrounding the Red Cross might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

Manya Koetse

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A handwarmer for 500 yuan ($70), a tent for 2200 yuan ($308), a blanket for 100 yuan ($14)? An online list detailing items supposedly procured by the Gansu Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts has ignited controversy on Chinese social media in recent days. Although the Red Cross has denied all rumors, the incident underscores public skepticism towards the organization.

After the devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Jishishan (积石山), a county in China’s Gansu Province’s Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, on December 18, Chinese social media platforms were flooded with news related to the disaster. The overnight earthquake killed at least 148 people and left hundreds injured.

News of the earthquake resonated deeply throughout the country, and the ongoing search and rescue operations and relief efforts, hindered by landslides, ruined infrastructure, and freezing temperatures, have attracted major attention online.

While much of the discourse revolves around the goodness of the people contributing to charities and doing all they can to help victims in the affected areas, there is also public distrust surrounding the motives of some charities or helping organizations that might use the disaster as an opportunity to make a profit.

One hotly debated topic revolves around the Red Cross Society of China, after a list surfaced online of items allegedly purchased by the Gansu Red Cross for relief efforts in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake.

Image published on Weibo via Red Cross Society of China (@中国红十字会总会).

The procurement list raised controversy due to the high prices of the common items listed, and because of a supposed “management fee” (管理费) of 1.6 million yuan ($224k).

In response, the Red Cross refuted these claims, asserting that they had not issued any such list (#甘肃红十字称没发布任何物资清单#). On December 24, the Gansu Red Cross took to Weibo (@甘肃省红十字会) to clarify that the circulating information was “grossly inaccurate.” They assured the public that all donations would directly aid earthquake relief efforts, without incurring management fees.

The Red Cross statement on Weibo.

Even though the procurement list might be false, the public concerns surrounding charity efforts are real.

“Why does the Red Cross end up in the top trending lists every time?” one commenter wondered: “Their information should be more transparent and timely.”

Others also suggested that merely denying the rumors was not enough, and that they hoped that the Red Cross would provide more details and information to show netizens, of whom many donated money, how their charity money is being spent to help relief efforts in the affected areas in Gansu and Qinghai.

The fact that the Red Cross Weibo post did not allow any commenting did not help: “Why are you afraid to let us openly discuss this?”

 
Red Cross Society of China: Tainted by Suspicion
 

The Red Cross of China, the nation’s largest charitable organization, continues to grapple with a tarnished reputation that partly stems from the 2011 “Guo Meimei Incident.”

Guo Meimei (郭美美), whose real name is Guo Meiling, became an infamous internet celebrity in the summer of 2011 after flaunting her excessive wealth online whilst claiming to work as a “commercial general manager” for the Red Cross Society of China.

The issue severely eroded the society’s credibility, which has been designated by the government as the central public donation organization during times of disasters (Cheng 2016). From luxury handbags to sports cars, the 19-year-old Guo showed off her money on Weibo, and quickly went viral on various message boards as people were angered over corruption and potential misuse of charity money.

Guo Meimei

Despite efforts by the Red Cross Society to debunk these rumors and distance itself from Guo, speculations persisted. Many speculated about Guo’s potential ties to the organization, even if she did not officially work there. As highlighted by Cheng (2016), the public’s negative sentiment toward the Red Cross triggered “a chain of credibility crises” and even spread to other charitable groups in China.

During the 2020 Wuhan Covid outbreak, the Red Cross faced scrutiny for allegedly stockpiling public donations of medical supplies in warehouses rather than promptly distributing them to frontline medical personnel facing shortages.

The current allegations against the Red Cross of China in the aftermath of the Gansu Earthquake also echo other past controversies, such as the one they dealt with after the 2008 Sichuan quake. Red Cross officials were then also accused of misusing donations by purchasing needlessly expensive tents and vehicles.

 
Donations for the ‘Underdog’: The Han Hong Foundation
 

The growing public distrust towards the Red Cross has arguably paved the way for other Chinese charities to gain prominence. A prime example is the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation (韩红爱心慈善基金会), established in 2012 by renowned Chinese folk singer Han Hong (韩红, 1971).

Although Han Hong has been engaged in charity for many years, during which she invested a lot of her own money, the charity she established became more known after the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation was committed to aid efforts during the Wuhan Covid outbreak in 2020 and the Henan floods in 2021.

Han Hong (center), picture via Xiaohongshu fan of Han Hong.

After the earthquake in Gansu on December 18th, Han Hong’s organization immediately organized rescue teams and provided people in the affected areas with clothes and (medical) supplies. Hang Hong was able to rake in millions thanks to her reputation of being compassionate and altruistic, as well as through her strong network in China’s entertainment industry, leading numerous Chinese celebrities to support her relief efforts.

But Han Hong’s organization is also affected by the public distrust surrounding charity in China. On December 23, it was rumored that her Charity Foundation was officially asked to leave the disaster area as well as to hand over a portion of their donations.

The foundation refuted these claims by issuing a statement on December 25 (#韩红基金会辟谣#).

Statement by Han Hong Love Charity Foundation refuting rumors that their charity work was hindered by officials.

In the public view, there seems to be a big difference between perceptions of large entities like the Red Cross and other ‘official’ charitable organizations versus smaller, more independent initiatives like the Han Hong foundation, which operates as a private charitable entity.

Reflecting on the rumors surrounding both the Red Cross and Han Hong’s foundation, one Weibo commenter noted: “These rumors come into existence because so many of these so-called charitable foundations actually treat charity as their business. And so, they become ‘competitors.’”

Meanwhile, Han Hong’s organization stresses that it operates under the guidance and oversight of the party and government, and only provide emergency support through their support.

In online discussions on the power of the Red Cross versus Han Hong’s organization, some commenters suggest that it is time for the government and authorities to reflect on why a private organization would be more trusted than the Red Cross, a government organized NGO.

One Weibo commenter wrote: “What Han Hong does is true charity instead of business.” Another person replied: “The biggest disaster here is actually the erosion of public trust.”

By Manya Koetse

References

Cheng, Yang. 2016. “Social Media Keep Buzzing! A Test of Contingency Theory in China’s Red Cross Credibility Crisis.” International Journal of Communication, June 2016: pp. 3241+.

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©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Brands, Marketing & Consumers

Tsingtao Brewery ‘Pee-Gate’: Factory Worker Caught Urinating in Raw Material Warehouse

The pee incident, that occurred at a subsidiary Tsingtao Beer factory, has caused concerns among consumers.

Manya Koetse

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A video that has circulated on Chinese social media since October 19 shows how an alleged worker at a Tsingtao Beer factory climbs over a wall at the raw material production site and starts to urinate.

The incident reportedly occurred at the Tsingtao Beer Factory No. 3, a subsidiary of the Tsingtao Brewing Company, located in Qingdao, Shandong.

After the video went viral, the Tsingtao Brewery Company issued a statement that they took the incident very seriously and immediately report it to the authorities, who have started an investigation into the case. Meanwhile, the specific batch in production has been halted and shut off.

The incident has caused concern among consumers, and some commenters on social media wonder if this was the first time something like this has happened. “How do we know this hasn’t happened many times before?”

Others speculate about what might have motivated the man to urinate at the production site. There are those who believe that the man is part of an undercover operation orchestrated by a rivaling company, aimed at discrediting Tsingtao. It’s even suggested that there were two ‘moles’ leaking in this incident: one doing the urinating, and the other doing the video ‘leak.’

Meanwhile, there are voices who are critical of Tsingtao, suggesting that the renowned beer brand has not effectively addressed the ‘pee gate’ scandal. It remains uncertain how this incident will impact the brand, but some netizens are already expressing reservations about ordering a Tsingtao beer as a result.

But there are also those who joke about the “pissing incident,” wondering if Tsingtao Beer might soon launch a special “urine flavored beer.”

By Manya Koetse

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Featured photo by Jay Ang (link).

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