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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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    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 and Covid19

Announced Changes in Nucleic Acid Testing and Further Easing of Covid Measures Across China

Bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate.

Manya Koetse

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On Monday, directly after that noteworthy unrest-filled weekend, the hashtag “Multiple Locations Announce Nucleic Acid Testing Changes” (#多地核酸检测通知发生变化#) went trending on Chinese social media, receiving over 660 million clicks by Monday evening.

Immediately following demonstrations in Beijing and a second night of protests in Shanghai and elsewhere, various Chinese media reported how different areas across the country are introducing changes to their current Covid19 testing measures.

On Wednesday, November 30, China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan made remarks at a meeting on epidemic prevention, underlining the importance of “constantly optimizing” China’s Covid-19 response and talking about a “new stage and mission” – without ever mentioning “zero Covid.”

This is what we know about easing Covid measures thus far:

▶ Strict lockdowns have been lifted in Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

▶ On November 28, Guangzhou announced that people who do not actively participate in social life will no longer need to participate in continuous nucleic acid screening. This includes elderly people who stay indoors for long periods of time, students who take online classes, and those who work from home. The change will apply to residents in seven districts, including Haizhu, Panyu, Tianhe, and Baiyun (#广州7区无社会面活动者可不参加全员核酸#).

▶ Guangzhou, according to Reuters, also scrapped a rule that only people with a negative COVID test can buy fever medication over the counter.

Harbin will follow the example of Guangzhou, and will also allow people who are mostly based at home to skip nucleic acid test screenings.

▶ Same goes for Shenyang, and Taiyuan.

▶ In Chongqing, various districts have done widespread Covid testing campaigns, but the local authorities announced that those communities that have not had a positive Covid case over the past five days do not need to participate in nucleic acid screening anymore. This means an end to district-wide testing.

▶ On November 30, Beijing also announced that it will start exempting some people from frequent Covid testing, including those elderly residents who are bound to home and other people who do not go out and have social interactions. This also includes younger students who are following classes online.

▶ Starting from December 5, bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate (announced on December 2nd).

▶ Although not officially announced, there have been various social media posts and reports about Covid-positive people in Beijing being allowed to quarantine at home if they meet conditions.

Chengdu Metro announced on December 2nd that it will no longer check passengers’ nucleic acid test reports. Passengers still need to scan their travel code and those with a green code can enter. Other public places will reportedly also start to accept the ‘green code’ only without a time limit on nucleic acid testing.

Tianjin metro announced that the 72-hour nucleic acid certificate check will be also be canceled for passengers on the Tianjin metro lines. As in other places, people will still need to wear proper face masks and undergo temperature checks.

▶ In Hangzhou, except for at special places such as nursing homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools, people’s nucleic acid tests will no longer be checked in public transportation and other public places. They will also stop checking people’s Venue Codes (场所码).

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China and Covid19

The ‘Blank White Paper Protest’ in Beijing and Online Discussions on “Outside Forces”

As people in Beijing, Shanghai, and other places take to the streets holding up white papers, some have dubbed this the “A4 Revolution.”

Manya Koetse

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A majority of social media commenters support those who have recently taken to the streets, using blank sheets as a sign of protest against censorship and stringent Covid measures. But there are also online voices warning Chinese young people not to be influenced by ‘external forces.’

Over the past few days, there have been scenes of unrest and protest movements in various places across China.

While there were protests in Shanghai for the second night in a row, Beijing also saw crowds gathering around the Liangmahe area in the city’s Chaoyang District on Sunday night.

Some videos showed crowds softly singing the song “Farewell” (送别) in commemoration of those who lost their lives during the deadly inferno in Urumqi.

Later, people protested against stringent Covid measures.

“The crowds at Liangmahe are amazing,” some people on Weibo commented.

Photos and videos coming from the area showed how people were holding up blank sheets of white paper.

Earlier this weekend, students in Nanjing and Xi’an also held up blank paper sheets in protest of censorship and as the only ‘safe’ way to say what could otherwise not be said. This form of protest also popped up during the Hong Kong protests, as also described in the recent book by Louisa Lim (Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong).

The recurring use of blank paper sheets led to some dubbing the protests an “A4 Revolution.”

“When can we have freedom of speech? Maybe it can start at Beijng’s Liangmahe,” one person on Weibo wrote on Sunday night.

Another Beijing-based netizen wrote: “Before going to sleep I saw what was happening in Liangmahe on my WeChat Moments and then I looked at Weibo and saw that the Xicheng area had added 279 new Covid cases. I started thinking about my own everyday life and the things I am doing. I can’t help but feel a sense of isolation, because I can’t fight and do not dare to raise my voice.”

“I didn’t dare to believe this is happening in 2022. I didn’t dare to believe this is happening in Beijing. I do not dare to believe that again it will all have been useless tomorrow morning,” one Weibo user commented.

During the night, various people at the scene shouted out things such as “we want to go out and work,” and other hopes they have. One person yelled: “I want to go out and see a movie!”

“I want to go and see a movie.”

The phrase “I wanna go watch a movie” (“我要看电影”) was also picked up on social media, with some people commenting : “I am not interested in political regimes, I just want to be able to freely see a movie.” “I want to see a movie! I want to sit in a cinema and watch a movie! I want to watch a movie that is uncensored!”

Despite social media users showing a lot of support for students and locals standing up and making their voices heard, not everyone was supportive of this gathering in Beijing. Some suggested that since Liangmahe is near Beijing’s foreign embassy district, there must be some evil “foreign forces” meddling and creating unrest.

Others expressed that people were starting to demand too many different things instead of solely focusing on China’s zero Covid policies, losing the momentum of the original intention of the protest.

Political commentator Hu Xijin (胡锡进) also posted about the recent unrest on his Weibo account on Sunday night:

The people have the right to express their opinions, and you may have good and honest aspirations and have the intention to express legitimate demands. But I want to remind you that many things have their own rules, and when everyone participates in the movement, its direction might become very difficult for ordinary participants to continue to control, and it can easily to be used or even hijacked by separate forces, which may eventually turn into a flood that destroys all of our lives.”

Hu also called on people to keep striving to solve existing problems, but to stay clear-headed, suggesting that it is important for the people and the government to maintain unity in this challenging time.

The term “outside forces” or “external forces” (外部势力) increasingly popped up in social media discussions on late Sunday night.

“I worry a lot of meddling by external forces. Let’s be vigilant of a color revolution. I just hope things will get better,” one netizen from Hubei wrote.

“Young people should not be incited by a few phrases and blindly follow. Everyone will approve of people rationally defending their rights, but stay far away from color revolutions.”

The idea that foreign forces meddle in Chinese affairs for their own agenda has come up various times over the past years, during the Hong Kong protests but also during small-scale protests, such as a local student protest in Chengdu in 2021.

The term “color revolution” is recurring in these kind of discussions, with some netizens suggesting that foreign forces, such as the CIA, are trying to get local people to cause unrest through riots or demonstrations to undermine the stability of the government.

“It’s not always external forces, it can also just be opposition,” one person on Weibo replied: “In every country you’ll have different opinions.”

“What outside forces?” another commenter said: “I’m not an external force! I am just completely fed up with the Covid measures!”

Read more about the “11.24” unrest in China here.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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