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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.

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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

China’s COVID-19 Vaccine Freebies: Get One Vaccine, Get Milk & Eggs for Free!

“Do I get free transport and a freebie with that vaccine?”

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While American vaccine incentives – where some counties would offer a free beer and fries to encourage more Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine – made international headlines, Chinese vaccine incentives have also been attracting the attention on Weibo and beyond.

Forget about free beer and fries. How about getting free milk, eggs, toilet paper, laundry detergent, or sesame oil after getting your shot? In China, and especially in Shanghai, some local vaccine sites have been offering all kinds of noteworthy freebies to encourage citizens to come and get their shots.

Since March and April of this year, netizens are sharing photos of COVID-19 vaccine posters online, such as this one, where you get a carton of milk after getting vaccinated:

Or these, where you get free vegetable oil or sesame oil:

Or how about two boxes of eggs?

One local initiative even offered free toilet paper earlier this year:

Another place in Shanghai offered bags of rice for free with your shot:

And others offered free pick-up services to those getting vaccinated:

Here you see people leaving with their milk cartons (and vaccinated!):

The freebies were meant to encourage more people to get their shots. But because of recent new COVID-19 cases in places like Anhui and Liaoning, more people are now in a rush to get vaccinated. Viral videos and posts on social media showed long queues at vaccine sites.

Popular WeChat account Xinwenge (新闻哥) reported a rapid shift in attitudes among young people towards getting the vaccine, from “do I get free transport and a freebie with that vaccine?” to “I’ll stand in line and do anything as long as I can get vaccinated.”

“Confirmed local cases will motivate people more [to get the vaccine] than eggs and milk,” one blogger from Guangdong wrote on Weibo.

Despite the surge of people going out to get their vaccine, some places still offer vaccine freebies. On social media, people are sharing the photos of their ‘vaccine souvenirs’; plastic bags with milk and cookies.

One Weibo user writes: “I was never so enthusiastic about getting my shot, until I heard they offered free milk and laundry detergent.”

Another Weibo user also shows off their ‘vaccine present’, getting free milk, soap, and rice with their COVID-19 vaccine: “And I didn’t even have to stand in line!”

By Manya Koetse & 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 Health & Science

Chinese Doctor Knocks Herself Out in Controversial Self-Experiment

Dr. Chen wanted to warn about the dangers of sevoflurane and other drugs.

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A female doctor has become a topic of discussion on Chinese social media for her self-experimentation with anesthesia.

Dr. Chen (陈大夫), a Nanjing doctor who works in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department, conducted the experiment in response to an ongoing discussion on whether or not a handkerchief dipped in inhalation anesthetics could cause immediate unconsciousness (“一捂就晕”).

The discussion was triggered by news of the death of a 23-year-old woman from Foshan, Guangdong Province, on February 8. The recent college graduate was found in a hotel room and it was later ruled that the cause of death was acute respiratory failure due to sevoflurane toxicity. The victim’s company supervisor, a 39-year-old man named Peng, is now suspected of fatally sedating and raping the young woman.

The case led to speculation among netizens whether or not sevoflurane could have knocked out the woman in seconds. There have been ongoing debates on the effects of general anesthetics used to sedate unsuspected victims, with some specialists arguing that it is not so easy to make someone slip into unconsciousness within a matter of seconds – saying it would take much longer than and only if an unusually high dosage is used.

Dr. Chen posted on February 10 that she was certain that it is possible for certain inhalation anesthetics to immediately make someone pass out, but her claim was refuted by others. The popular Weibo blogger Jiangning Popo (@江宁婆婆), a police officer, was one of the persons involved in the discussion claiming Chen was wrong.

Dr. Chen is active on Weibo under the handle @妇产科的陈大夫, and with over two million followers on her account, she is somewhat of a ‘celebrity’ doctor.

Instead of spending time arguing back and forth on the internet, Dr. Chen decided to put the issue to the test herself with an unopened bottle of sevoflurane that she had previously purchased for the planned sterilization of her dog. The sevoflurane had already passed its expiry date.

On February 16, Dr. Chen then asked someone else to film her doing the self-experiment and she posted the video on Weibo, in which she inhaled sevoflurane on a cloth. The doctor soon passed out in the video, which has since been deleted.

The experiment in the video lasts 64 seconds, and shows Chen:

– 00:01-00:06 Opening the bottle of sevoflurane
– 00:07-00:12 Preparing a cloth
– 00:13-00:23 Putting the sevoflurane on the cloth
– 00:23-00:26 Closing the cap of the bottle
– 00:27-00:28 Putting the cloth on her mouth and nose
– 00:29-01:33 = the time frame of losing consciousness (with first symptoms starting at 0:44) to going limp and falling on the floor (1:20) and being completely unconscious (1:21-1:33).

Dr. Chen’s experiment immediately sparked controversy after she posted the video on social media.

Although sevoflurane is a prescription drug and a controlled substance, it is also sold online as a type of drug. According to The Paper, the number of rape cases in China facilitated by drugs have risen over the past three years, with many ‘date rape drugs’ being sold and bought over the internet.

With sevoflurane being a controlled substance, Dr. Chen’s video triggered discussions on whether or not she was actually involving in a criminal act by doing the self-experiment. She also received criticism from within the medical community that she used this medication outside of the hospital environment.

Dr. Chen soon deleted the video herself and then called the police to personally explain and apologize for the incident, with the news soon going viral (#女医生拿自己做实验后报警并致歉#, 270 million views).

But despite the controversy, the doctor still defends her actions to some extend. Although Chen stated on February 17 that her self-experiment was “not right,” dangerous, and should never be imitated by anyone, she later also explained on her Weibo page that she thinks sevoflurane as a prescription drug is too easy to get your hands on and that the existing laws to prevent people from buying it are too weak.

The doctor has succeeded in raising public awareness on the dangers of these kinds of drugs. She also reminds both women and men never to leave their drink unattended, as the dangers of someone slipping something in your drink are real and the consequences can be grave.

As the incident has gone trending on Chinese social media, many commenters praise Dr. Chen for her experiment, while others also praise her for being transparent and admitting her mistakes.

 
By Manya Koetse
with contributions by 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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