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China Health & Science

How Could a Cancer Patient’s ‘Crazy Shopping Spree’ Become the Subject of Ridicule on Weibo?

A trending story about a rich woman allegedly spending $600,000 during a shopping spree in a Sichuan mall has taken an unexpected turn.

Manya Koetse

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A story that went trending on Chinese social media this week about a rich woman spending $600,000 during a shopping expedition in a Sichuan mall has taken an unexpected turn. Family members have stepped forward to deny the rumors, and say the woman is suffering from brain cancer. She went missing after photos of her shopping spree went viral.

A young woman from Sichuan caught the attention of netizens on Weibo this week when images emerged of her extravagant shopping spree. Some people on Chinese social media alleged the woman had spent at least 4 million yuan (±600,000$) in one day.

The photos and videos, taken by bystanders, show the woman’s growing pile of shopping bags at the Wangfujing Shopping Mall in Chengdu on Sunday night. Dressed in a pink coat, the woman can be seen purchasing various items while being assisted by a group of employees at the mall’s boutique brand stores.

The woman was ridiculed on Weibo when she attracted the attention of netizens during her shopping spree.

She was called the “pink lady” on Weibo, with some saying: “We’ll never understand the tuhao.” Tuhao (土豪) is a popular word to describe China’s ‘uncultured’ nouveau riche.

Some netizens suggested that the woman was from a rich family and purposely spent large amounts of money to take revenge on her husband after having an argument. The story was spread on social media with the hashtag: “Woman spends thousands of dollars after fighting with husband” #女子和老公吵架商场狂刷上百万#).

 

They do not care about the fight, they do not care about the frantic shopping, they just care about the thought that money is the answer to anything.”

 

After rumors of the woman’s shopping spree made their rounds on Weibo on October 23, family members of the woman came forward, saying that the woman was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and that she has gone missing since Monday. They told Chinese media that they fear she might be suicidal.

Family members also dispelled the trending rumors about the woman and the alleged extravagant amount of money she spent. They say her bank records show that she only spent 50.000 yuan (±7530$), rather than the alleged 4 million yuan.

 

FAKE NEWS: rumors about the woman were dispelled earlier this week.

 

The truth behind the trending topic shocked many commenters. “How could the ‘crazy shopping spree’ of a cancer patient be ridiculed by the masses?”, one Chinese blogger wondered.

“This is not the first time these kinds of carelessly fabricated and exaggerated rumors make it on social media, and it won’t be the last time,” the Weibo blogger nicknamed ‘Listen Up’ (@青听我说) writes.

‘Listen Up’ argues that the masses, craving for material wealth, are so obsessed with the extravagant behavior of China’s ‘crazy rich’ that they will feverishly make up any “fake news” when the facts are lacking:

“The majority of onlookers really don’t care about the reasons behind the ‘crazy shopping spree’ or about the true amount of money spent. From their point of view, the more they exaggerate the story and the bigger the amount of money, the more excited they get.”

“At the same time, it is also about self-pity. It is about ‘look at her, she can max out her credit card when she’s having trouble at home, while I would have to return to my parents in my hometown.'”

The writer notes that there is a powerful mass hysteria bubble when it comes to news about China’s rich; people do not care that this woman might have had a fight, they do not even care about her frantic shopping, they just care about the thought that money is the answer to anything.

“A woman, who was just diagnosed with cancer, is distraught and goes shopping. Even if her spending 50,000 yuan might go against logic, it is something to understand and to sympathize with. In this case, it is the onlookers who have to be ashamed of themselves.”

“In the eyes of the masses, everything has become ‘entertainment’ now. Too often, they do not look at the facts, they do not question the what & how, and they do not investigate the outcome. They just want to satisfy a temporary crave for some excitement, and it doesn’t matter what it is. This is not just harmful to the persons involved and who become the target of ridicule, it is also harmful to yourself because eventually, it is really your own life that is becoming ridiculous.”

 

Money has become the sole criterion by which they judge the world.

 

Writer Zeng Li recently noted on sixthtone.com that for many Chinese, “money has become the sole criterion by which they judge the world.”

As Chinese economy is growing, so is the gap between social classes. According to Zeng Li, a so-called ‘chain of contempt’ (鄙视链) is at work in Chinese society, where – like a food chain – there is a hierarchy of social layers where certain groups of people always look down on the other. On top of the chain are China’s rich and successful people.

But on Chinese social media, it is apparent that China’s ‘tuhao‘ or ‘filthy rich’ are also frequently mocked and despised, even if it might come with some sense of envy and self-pity as suggested by the ‘Listen Up’ blogger.

Some of the crazy rich stories that go trending online are a source of much hilarity, like a fancy tuhao car that gets stuck in the mud of a rural area – literally becoming a ‘filthy rich’ car.

This tuhao’s fancy car got stuck in the mud.

But people seem to be so hungry for “crazy rich” stories that they easily add to the hysteria by making up facts – soon turning one event into a completely different story.

 

She’s gone missing because of you.”

 

It is unsure if the woman, whose identity has not been revealed, has been found yet. According to insiders, before her disappearance, the woman was informed that her shopping spree had gone viral on Weibo and WeChat and was very unhappy about it.

On Weibo, many netizens now express their anger over the situation: “She just spent some money, so what? Now she’s gone missing because of you – the internet is a bad place,” some netizens write.

“Even if she had spent in fact 4 million yuan, then what’s it to you?,” another person commented: “She just spent 50,000 yuan and you all stand in a circle, watch her, and take pictures. Would you take pictures of other people spending money?”

Despite the support for the woman, there are also many people who are still wondering if she did in fact spent 50,000 yuan or more.

“What’s wrong with you people?”, some answer: “The only thing that matters is that she returns home safely.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 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 Health & Science

‘Two Sessions’ Proposed Ban on Single Women Freezing Their Eggs

Weibo talks egg freezing.

Manya Koetse

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It was the number one trending topic of the day on Weibo earlier this week: the proposal to make it illegal for hospitals and clinics in China to provide the service of freezing eggs to unmarried women.

Chinese physician Sun Wei (孙伟), National People’s Congress delegate, is the person to raise the issue of no longer allowing medical facilities in China to freeze eggs. She is the director of the Reproductive Medicine Unit at the No.2 Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Sun Wei submitted the proposal during the Two Sessions (lianghui), China’s largest annual legislative meetings, in order to encourage Chinese citizens to “marry and reproduce at the appropriate age.” Sun also mentions potential health risks as a reason to ban egg freezing services.

On Weibo, one news post reporting on the issue received nearly 835,000 likes. The hashtag “Proposal to Prohibit Single Women From Freezing Their Eggs” (#建议禁止单身女性冷冻卵子#) received over 710 million views.

Sun Wei (image by Vista看天下).

The proposal goes against the proposition of a National Committee member during the lianghui, that of Peng Jing (彭静), that supports single women’s rights in freezing their eggs.

It also comes after the 31-year-old Teresa Xu (Xu Zaozao) filed a lawsuit against a Beijing medical facility in December of 2019 for refusing her the treatment of freezing her eggs, arguing it was effectively discriminating against single women. In doing so, Xu challenged China’s regulations on human assisted reproduction, which bar single women from getting the procedure.

Artificial insemination itself is not illegal in China when it is done by a married couple; it is only against the law when done by those who are not lawfully married.

It is not the first time the discussion on egg freezing erupts on Chinese social media. In 2015, Chinese actress and director Xu Jinglei (徐静蕾) stated in an interview that she had nine eggs frozen in the United States at the age of 39, calling them her “back-up plan.”

Xu’s statement made artificial insemination an issue of public interest, especially because unmarried women in China cannot carry out this procedure.

Although single women in China technically could have their eggs frozen – if they have the financial capacity to do so – they would not be able to have them inseminated unless they provide three certificates: their identification card, their marriage certificate, and their ‘zhunshengzheng‘ (准生证 ) – the ‘Permission to give Birth’, which would not be issued without the marriage certificate. In short: single women would not be able to have a baby through artificial insemination, because they would not be able to get the required legal papers to go through with the procedure.

At the time of the 2015 discussion, the famous Chinese blogger and writer Han Han (韩寒) shared his thoughts on the issue: “Why can’t women decide for themselves whether or not they want to have children? And what if an unmarried woman does get pregnant, and they don’t get a ‘Permission to give Birth’? Then the child cannot even get a residence registration.”

“Why should having a baby be bound together with marriage? Even I, a simple straight guy, cannot see the logic in this,” Han Han wrote.

In the discussions that are going around Chinese social media this week, there are many netizens that take a similar stance as Han Han did, arguing that single women should have the right to freeze their eggs, and wondering why they would not be allowed to do so in the first place.

Various Weibo commenters write that individuals should have the right to make their own decisions about whether or not they would like to have children. One Weibo thread where people are asked about their opinion on the matter, the majority of the 16,000+ responses say they support single women being able to freeze their eggs.

“[I] support [it], [I] support [it], [I] support [it], [I] support [it], [I] support [it]…” – this Weibo user clearly thinks single women should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they would like to freeze their eggs.

However, there are also some web users opposing this idea, arguing that it is “not morally right” and does not provide a “normal family environment” to children.

Whether Sun Wei’s proposal will lead to actual changes in the law is yet to be seen, although it would virtually not alter the current situation regarding egg freezing in China. It already is virtually impossible for unmarried women to freeze their eggs as a “back up plan” and it would just make the impossible even more impossible.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions from Jialing Xie

Featured image Photo by 东旭王

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.

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China Health & Science

Schools in China Are Reopening, But Will Lunch Breaks Ever Be the Same Again?

Chinese students are back to school, but school life is not back to normal.

Manya Koetse

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As most schools across China are opening their doors again, social media users are sharing photos of what school life looks like in the post-COVID-19 outbreak era this week.

Some videos and images that are circulating on Weibo and Wechat show somewhat dystopian images of the post-COVID-19 school life at primary and (senior) high schools – students eating while standing outside in straight lines, or pupils wearing face masks taking turns to eat their lunch (supposedly to reduce the chances of contagion via respiratory droplets, see tweeted video below).

Most schools in China have already started or will open later this month. Only Hubei province and Beijing have not yet announced school reopening plans, Caixin reports.

But although China is gradually back to business after its weeks-long coronavirus lockdown, daily life is far from normal as the country remains on high alert for a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Schools are therefore also taking strict precautions to reduce infection risks both in and outside of the classroom.

Lunch break policy and procedures are just one of the many things that have changed at Chinese schools now.

On Weibo, ‘Henan Education’ is one of many accounts posting about the dramatically different way of eating at China’s school canteens in these post-COVID-19-outbreak times.

In Xingyang city, for example, special supervisors have been allocated to high schools to maintain the order and reduce the number of students gathering at the school entrances and assist students with lunch break seatings at the canteen.

Canteen at Xingyang’s Second Senior High School

At a senior high school in Kaifeng, all students have their lunch breaks in the canteen at one side of the table only, leaving enough space in between the other students.

Other schools have set up their canteens like examination rooms, only allowing one student per table, only facing one direction.

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One Weibo user posts how her Tianjin school is preparing for the lunch break arrangements, with indicators on the floor marking the direction students should walk in and the distance they have to keep from each other.

One other school in Jiangsu’s Huai’an has put dividers on all lunch tables to separate students while having their lunch break.

“It feels like taking exams,” some commenters write about the new lunch break policies. “We can no longer look around and whisper in each other’s ear.”

One school board in the city of Beihai has decided to make use of its new separating screens to stimulate more studying during lunch breaks; they have printed study material for the upcoming ‘gaokao‘ exams on the dividers.

Some netizens think that other schools will follow this example if it appears to be effective. In that way, the post-COVID-19 lunch break will turn into just another study opportunity.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
With contributions from Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

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.

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