Connect with us

China Environment

A Can of Beijing Smog: Here is the Smell of Home

For those longing for a breath of Beijing air, there is now a special can of ‘Beijing air’ available for purchase.

Avatar

Published

on

An extraordinary item listed on shopping platform Taobao has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens. For those longing for a breath of Beijing air, there is now a special can of ‘Beijing air’ available for purchase.

As winter approaches, inhabitants of Beijing and its surrounding areas fall victim to choking smog again. But as always, the infamous Beijing smog is a source of banter and jokes for Chinese netizens.

This time, the topic of their attention is a can of ‘Beijing smog’ that is sold on e-commerce platform Taobao for 28 RMB [±4 US$]. The can is supposed to give Chinese expats a nostalgic smell of home.

beijing-air

“When I really miss Beijing I will open a can and sniff it,” hydropower engineer Mr. Zhang tells The Times in its recent article reporting on a Brit in China who is selling canned Beijing Air online.

Dominic Johnson-Hill, or 江森海 (@江森海), owns a creative clothes shop in Beijing (Plastered is a quirky T-shirt shop that is well-known amongst locals). But it is his most recent product, Beijing Air (北京空气), and not his clothes, that has attracted huge attention to his business.

can

On Dominic’sTaobao shop, a can of Beijing Air of 28 RMB [±4 US$] is described as:

We are very proud to introduce you to a new and unique product: Beijing Air. You can take your Beijing everywhere. Each can of Beijing Air contains a unique blend of Nitrogen, Oxygen and some other stuff. Naturally occurring and lovingly delivered in a beautiful can.

On the “item” tag of the can is the exact component of Beijing Air: Nitrogen 77%, Oxygen 20%, and others 3%. Other information on the can includes a slogan- “Hard to say I Love You”, a short description- “Beijing Air- a must-breathe air”, and the number 2.5 under a picture of Beijing.

Dominic has even created a video advertisement for his new product. In this 1-minute video, a traveling Beijinger says what he loves most about Beijing is the Beijing air, which, though coming from Beijing, belongs to the whole world.

Dominic’s dark humor is echoed by many Chinese netizens.

“My friends in Beijing, congratulations!” one netizen writes: “You are now breathing stuff that is worth 28 RMB! What a deal!”

“We should mark the difference in fog price in every region of Beijing,” comments another netizen, “breathing thousands of dollars of fog every day- this makes me really excited.”

Some netizens also wonder: “Isn’t this considered drug trafficking?”

Chinese netizens never fail to derive pleasure from the poor air quality air in many Chinese cities.

Last year, a WeChat game went viral during the worst smoggy days of Beijing. In this game, people are presented with pictures of heavy smog, among which they should find the one where Tiananmen Square is vaguely visible. Other games where players “kill the smog” were also popular.

gameWeChat game “Repel Smog”

More recently, “Take Smog for the People”, a parody of “Service for the People” (a.k.a. “Serve the People”) has become a popular online meme. “Service for The People”, Wei Renmin Fuwu (为人民服务), is a famous slogan from the Mao-era. In Chinese, “take smog” (服雾) sounds exactly the same as “serve” (服务).

Behind the banter and joking, however, many Chinese still feel helpless and powerless on China’s heavy air pollution. Smog is not only impacting the everyday lives of Beijingers, it is also posing a serious threat to people’s lives. A GreenPeace report reveals that in 2013, death caused by high PM2.5 rate is 10 times higher than that caused by road accidents.

Jokes aside, serious measures must be taken to tackle the problem of air pollution, one netizen comments, “as smog blockades the city, it is really not something to joke about.”

-By Diandian Guo
Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

China and Covid19

Fresh Off the Boat, Xiamen Fish Are Tested for Covid-19

Catch of the day! These fish in Xiamen can’t escape their daily Covid test.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

It does not matter if you’re old or young, shrimp or fish – you can’t escape China’s zero-covid policy.

In the Jimei district of the coastal city of Xiamen, some fish and shrimp also had to do a nucleic acid test this week, leading to some banter on Chinese social media.

In the area, fishermen returning from a day of work have to undergo nucleic acid tests together with some of the fish that they caught during the day.

After the fishermen themselves have done the Covid test, they reportedly have to grab a few fresh fish from their catch of the day for the anti-epidemic workers to test. They open the mouth of the fish so that the fish can be tested with the cotton swab.

Chinese media outlet Sohu (搜狐新闻) posted a video about the issue on its Weibo account on August 17th, receiving over 90,000 likes and more than 8000 shares.

“I thought fish didn’t any lungs?” a popular comment said, with other commenters suggesting that this news made it clear that Covid “doesn’t affect the lungs but the brain instead.”

Another commenter suggested that if this matter concerned authorities, they should also start testing mosquitos.

Some also felt bad for the fish: “They still have to undergo this before getting killed.”

“The fish should be grateful for receiving a Covid test for free,” others wrote, while there were also people who wondered if parts of the sea would go into lockdown mode if some fish would test positive for Covid.

There were also critical commenters wondering about any scientific reasoning behind testing fish, asking who was getting paid to test them – suggesting commercial benefits outweigh scientific basis in this case.

“You can’t get Covid if you don’t have lungs, let alone if you live in the sea,” one Weibo user wrote, another person asking: “Have we all gone mad?”

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

China Animals

‘Welcome Home, Molly’ – Chinese Zoo Elephant Returns to Kunming after Online Protest

One small step for animal protection in China, one giant leap for Molly the elephant.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Following online protest and the efforts of animal activists, Molly has returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born and where mother elephant Mopo is.

The little elephant named Molly is a big topic of discussion on Chinese social media recently.

The popular Asian elephant, born in the Kunming Zoo in 2016, was separated from her mother at the age of two in April of 2018. Molly was then transferred from Kunming Zoo to Qinyang, Jiaozuo (Henan), in exchange for another elephant. Over the past few years, fans of Molly started voicing their concerns online as the elephant was trained to do tricks and performances and to carry around tourists on her back at the Qinyang Swan Lake Ecological Garden (沁阳天鹅湖生态园), the Qinyang Hesheng Forest Zoo (沁阳和生森林动物园), the Jiaozuo Forestry Zoo (焦作森林动物园), and the Zhoukou Safari Park (周口野生动物世界).

Since the summer of 2021, more people started speaking out for Molly’s welfare when they spotted the elephant chained up and seemingly unhappy, forced to do handstands or play harmonica, with Molly’s handlers using iron hooks to coerce her into performing.

Earlier this month, Molly became a big topic on Chinese social media again due to various big accounts on Xiaohongshu and Weibo posting about the ‘Save Molly’ campaign and calling for an elephant performance ban in China (read more).

Although zookeepers denied any animal abuse and previously stated that the elephant is kept in good living conditions and that animal performances are no longer taking place, Molly’s story saw an unexpected turn this week. Thanks to the efforts of online netizens, Molly fans, and animal welfare activists, Molly was removed from Qinyang.

A popular edited image of Molly that has been shared a lot online.

On May 15, the Henan Forestry Bureau – which regulates the holding of all exotic species, including those in city zoos – announced that Molly would return to Kunming in order to provide “better living circumstances” for the elephant. A day later, on Monday, Molly left Qinyang and returned to the Kunming Zoo where she was born. In Kunming, Molly will first receive a thorough health check during the observation period.

Official announcement regarding Molly by the Henan Forestry Administration.

Many online commenters were happy to see Molly returning home. “Finally! This is great news,” many wrote, with others saying: “Please be good to her” and “Finally, after four years of hardship, Molly will be reunited with her mother.”

Besides regular Weibo accounts celebrating Molly’s return to Kunming, various Chinese state media accounts and official accounts (e.g. the Liaocheng Communist Youth League) also posted about Molly’s case and wished her a warm welcome and good wishes. One Weibo post on the matter by China News received over 76,000 likes on Monday.

Although many view the effective online ‘Save Molly’ campaign as an important milestone for animal welfare in China, some animal activists remind others that there are still other elephants in Chinese zoos who need help and better wildlife protection laws. Among them are the elephant Kamuli (卡目里) and two others who are still left in Qinyang.

For years, animal welfare activists in China and in other countries have been calling for Chinese animal protection laws. China does have wildlife protection laws, but they are often conflicting and do not apply to pets and there is no clear anti-animal abuse law.

“I’ll continue to follow this. What are the next arrangements? What is the plan for Molly and the other elephants? How will you guarantee a safe and proper living environment?”

Another Weibo user writes: “This is just a first step, there is much more to be done.”

To follow more updates regarding Molly, check out Twitter user ‘Diving Paddler’ here. We thank them for their contributions to this article.

To read more about zoos and wildlife parks causing online commotion in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse

References (other sources linked to within text)

Arcus Foundation (Ed.). 2021. State of the Apes: Killing, Capture, Trade and Ape Conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

China Daily. 2012. “Animal Rights Groups Seek Performance Ban.” China Daily, April 16 http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-04/16/content_25152066.htm [Accessed May 1 2022].

Li, Peter J. 2021. Animal Welfare in China: Culture, Politics and Crisis. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Contribute

Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor or intern at What's on Weibo? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.
Advertisement

Become a member

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What's on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles.    

Support What’s on Weibo

What's on Weibo is 100% independent. Will you support us? Your support means we can remain independent and keep reporting on the latest China trends. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our website. Support us from as little as $1 here.

Popular Reads