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China Memes & Viral

China Orders Closure of American Consulate in Chengdu, Weibo Responds: “Let’s Turn It Into a Hotpot Restaurant”

If it were up to Weibo users, America’s consulate in Chengdu, that’s been ordered to close, will be the next hotpot joint in town.

Manya Koetse



First published

The US-ordered closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston was big news on Weibo yesterday.

Today, it is the China-ordered closure of the American consulate in Chengdu that has become the number one trending topic on the social media site. The topic page garnered over 870 million views on Weibo just after 5 pm Beijing time.

The closure of the US Consulate in Chengdu is no 1 trending topic on Weibo on July 24.

On July 24, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the United States Consulate that its permission to operate in Chengdu was revoked and that it needs to halt all operations.

PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying (华春莹) tweeted on July 24 that the move is a “legitimate & necessary response to the unilateral provocative move by the US to demand the closure of China’s Consulate General in Houston.”

China state media outlet CCTV posted a blue banner on social media with the characters “反制” on it, meaning “to hit back” (or: “retaliation”).

According to the BBC, the American side has been given the time until Monday to close its Chengdu consulate. The United States Consulate at Chengdu opened in 1985.

Similarly, the Chinese consulate in Houston, the first Chinese consulate in the United States, was only given 72 hours to leave the compound, leading to the alleged burning of paper documents in the consulate courtyard.

On Weibo, over two million people ‘liked’ one of the news posts reporting on the closure of the consulate in Chengdu. The most popular comment of the comment thread, receiving over 231,000 ‘thumbs up’ suggested to “directly turn [the consulate] into a hotpot restaurant.”

Chengdu is one of China’s authentic hotpot hot spots, and is famous for its Sichuan hotpot, with many hotpot restaurants scattered around the city.

“I’ve already got a hotpot restaurant name ready, when can we move in?”, one commenter suggested, with others responding that the only suitable name for the imaginary hotpot place would be “Trump Hotpot.”

A photoshopped design of the future hotpot place was shared on Weibo and Douyin.

Many commenters applauded China’s response to American actions and support the ordered closure of the consulate and called it “delightful”, “as long as they don’t take our hotpot recipes with them.”

Others also joke: “The Chengdu American consulate has been frantically stealing our secret hotpot recipes, they’re a threat to our hotpot culture!”

According to reports on Weibo, people were hanging around the American consulate on Friday afternoon “in hopes of seeing some smoke,” with many expecting there to be some document-burning.

Meanwhile, a live streaming channel of CCTV broadcasting scenes around the consulate received a staggering 34 million views on Friday evening, Beijing time. Some people commented that they wanted to see what was happening around the area to “witness history.”

Weibo users shared videos of someone allegedly setting off firecrackers near the consulate on Friday evening.

One CGTN reporter who was reporting from the scene said that there was “no need to panic” because “local residents are having a wedding today” (see video embedded below). The reporter received some criticism from individual Weibo users who wrote it was not right for her to report something that was “not actually true.”

Photos of a man being taken away by the police in relation to the firecracker incident was individually reposted on Weibo many times, with netizens praising the “uncle” or “brother.”

A milk tea and ice jelly shop near the consulate did good business on Friday night with so many people hanging around to see if something would happen. “They’re the real winners of today,” one Weibo user said.

By Manya Koetse

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

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of 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 Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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China and Covid19

Chinese Tourism Bureau Chiefs Go Viral for Trying Really, Really Hard to Attract More Post-Covid Domestic Tourists

It’s a Culture & Tourism Bureau social media battle: China’s local tourist offices are fighting to go viral to attract more visitors.

Manya Koetse



Hoping to attract more domestic tourists in the post-Covid-era, Chinese local government officials are trying really hard to promote their hometowns. Various tourism bureau chiefs from across China are going viral on Weibo, Douyin, and beyond for dressing up in traditional outfits and creating original videos with low to zero budget.

Another local Chinese tourism bureau chief went viral today – it’s an entire trend by itself. Tourist department offices under several local governments in China are trying really hard to promote their hometowns these days in hopes of attracting more domestic tourists in China’s post-Covid era.

Government officials are showing their best side – and their most creative one – on social media to convince tourists to visit their region. In doing so, these local bureau chiefs have been attracting online attention for appearing in promo videos in various creative ways (#为了让你去玩儿文旅局长们能有多拼#).

Since early 2020, China’s tourism industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and China’s strict Covid measures and lockdowns. At various moments during the pandemic, China’s domestic tourism saw an increase in holiday bookings as tourists still wanted to travel but could not easily travel abroad.

Now that China has lifted blockades on foreign travel, the post-zero-Covid itch to travel is back in full swing. As travel to other countries is seeing a boom again (while tourist visas to mainland China are still halted), local tourist offices are doing all they can with a minimal budget to encourage domestic travel to their lovely hometowns.

The trend of China’s tourist bureau chiefs finding innovative ways to promote their regions or towns via social media has been going on for some time already, but it wasn’t until recently that they really gained nationwide attention for their efforts.

The recent viral trend is not only generating more attention for the specific towns and regions promoted in the videos, it is also bringing more recognition for the drive of China’s Culture & Tourism Bureau chiefs – officials who usually rarely get the limelight. Many Chinese netizens agree that it must take a lot of talent and creativity to become a local tourism bureau chief nowadays.



Riding a horse through a windy snowy country, He Jiaolong (贺娇龙) was the first local official to feature in a social media video to promote the Yili region. The video of the vice-county head of Zhaosu, all dressed up, went viral in the winter of 2020.

Chief He later told reporters that she did not expect the video to go as viral as it did. According to Shine, He Jiaolong said: “I invited two horse lovers to help us promote local tourism on social media. We borrowed the costume from a local art troupe. They posted my horse-riding videos on Douyin and received enthusiastic responses.”

A ‘behind the scenes’ video later published on Douyin showed He falling over and battling the cold during the filming, only making the local official more popular for her dedication.



In October of 2022, Xie Wei (解伟), director of the Suizhou Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism in Hubei province, made headlines for his performance in videos produced and directed by himself.

As reported by South China Post, Xie made the videos himself because the local tourism bureau did not have the budget for a professional production. Although the videos made by Xie went viral, they also received some criticism because of how Xie was role-playing and dressing up as an ancient knight.

Nevertheless, Xie Wei did breathe new life into this creative approach to destination marketing, inspiring other Culture and Tourism Bureaus across China to take a similar social media strategy and join on the battleground to win over the hearts of domestic travelers.



In February of 2023, it was the bureau chief of the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Tourism Office, Liu Hong (@甘孜刘洪), who went viral with various videos featuring him in traditional clothing, which earned him the nickname of “most handsome bureau chief” (“最帅局长”).

It was not the first time for Liu to star in his own tourism promotion video, as there was another video in 2022 in which he also did some cosplay to promote the Garze region (Sichuan).

Liu Hong is now known as one of China’s “celebrity tourism bureau chiefs” (网红文旅局长). The videos actually helped to promote the region but also turned Liu into a celebrity.



On February 10 of 2023, it was the Cultural Tourism Bureau chief Jiangze Duoji (@降泽多吉) of Dawu County who professionalized the social media video trend and featured in a super slick 3-minute video with beautfiul shots and a creative idea.

In the intro of the video, Jiangze Duoji speaks English when he talks about his life question of “Who am I?” The video then shows the local official dancing in an astronaut’s costume in Moshi Park, one of the area’s most beautiful scenic spots that will make you feel like you’re in outer space.

The local official is then dressed as a Tang emperor at the Daowu dwellings, moves on to be a an old painter in the Yuke grasslands and King Gasar while galloping over the Longdeng prairie.

The video did not just go viral, it was also promoted by several state media outlets, making it among the most famous videos in this list. It’s also on Youtube here.



On February 27, the Heilongjiang Tahe Culture and Tourism Bureau (Daxing’anling prefecture) released a video in which a team of 34 people simulated a rocket launch in the snow.

Du Bo (都波), director of the Tahe County Bureau of Culture and Tourism, told reporters that the decision to shoot the video like this was made during lunch, with the position plan drawn out on a napkin.

With this original video, the local tourist office literally took the social media battle to another level (#塔河县文旅局长卷出新高度#). But Du Bo also stated that other tourist offices in China should not hold back and be scared to join the social media battle, saying they were all in this together to recover China’s domestic tourism industry (“不要怕卷,这种卷是一件好事,大家凝聚在一起,共同期待文旅行业的复苏”).

The tourist office also released a second video that gained popularity online, featuring a ‘snow queen’ in beautiful snowy landscape.



This video, which premiered late February of 2023, is also professionally made, with the Meishan Tourism Office taking the video trend very seriously.

The bureau chief demonstrates the beauty of kung fu in this short film, which also received many thumbs up on social media (#文旅局长用功夫带你游眉山#).



On March 7, a video from the tourist office in Gaoping, a county-level city in Shanxi’s Jincheng, also went viral on Chinese social media as “yet another tourist office chief joining the war” (#又一文旅局长申请出战#).

The video shows the local tourist bureau chief “going to war” in traditional costume to promote Gaoping as the hometown of Emperor Yan (#文旅局长戏服代言炎帝故里#).



The video posted on social media ‘on behalf of’ the Tourism Bureau of Huanggang, Hubei, also attracted a lot of attention online since many people believed the cosplaying bureau chief had suddenly turned into a handsome young idol.

It later turned out that this video was actually not an official one and was posted on social media without the permission of the tourist office by enthusiastic locals.



The hashtag is “Jiangsu’s Culture and Tourist Office Bureau Chief Joins the Battle” (#江苏文旅局长卷起来了#). Liu Bing (刘冰), the deputy director of the Tourism and Culture Bureau in Suqian, Jiangsu, is another local official who is going viral these days for his appearance in a self-produced promo video on social media (#江苏一文旅局长变装项羽代言家乡#).

In the video, Liu Bing is dressed as Xiang Yu (项羽), Hegemon-King of Western Chu, to endorse Suqian tourism. Suqian is the hometown of Xiang Yu (232–202 BC), who is considered one of the greatest military leaders in ancient China.

Although Suqian is one of the later Tourism Bureau hypes to join the hype, the video – published on March 9 – is still welcomed by netizens and is actually putting some pressure on other Chinese cities and regions to come up with their own videos featuring their own historical local heroes.




Fujian might be a bit late in “going to war” and joining the social media battle between the Chinese Tourism and Culture Bureau chiefs, its new video (March 9) obviously took a lot of effort, as it features different members of staff in various tourist spots in Fujian province.

The hashtag “Fujian Culture and Tourism Bureau Joins the Battle” (#福建的文旅局长卷起来了#) circulated on Thursday, attracting nearly five million views on Weibo in one day.

By Manya Koetse 
with contributions by Miranda Barnes


Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our 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.

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

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China Media

Meanwhile in Panda News: Concerns over China’s Giant Panda Yaya in Memphis, while Ruyi Is Rocking It in Russia

A lot has been going on when it comes to panda-related news in China, where pandas are all the talk, from Yaya in America to Ruyi in Russia.

Manya Koetse



From Xiangxiang in Chengdu to Qiqi in Shanghai, and from Yaya in Memphis to Ruyi in Moscow: China’s giant pandas have been all over Chinese social media recently.

Since there is a lot of trending panda news on Chinese social media recently, it is perhaps time to introduce a special Panda News category on What’s on Weibo to give you more regular updates on all the trending panda topics, including the controversies and politics surrounding them.

What’s been trending recently? There has been a lot of panda-related news. The following topics have been trending over the past week.



Hashtags: #香香回国是为寻找合适伴侣#,#终于看到香香了#


Earlier last week, news of China’s female giant panda Xiangxiang (香香) returning home to the mainland from Japan made headlines.

Xiangxiang was born in June 2017 at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Because her parents Riri and Shinshin are both on loan, China maintains ownership of their cubs.

Xiangxiang is planned to be part of a breeding project in Chengdu. Female pandas are said to reach breeding age between 3,5 and 4,5 years, and Xiangxiang is back in time to meet her partner.

“Welcome home, Xiangxiang,” was one of the most popular replies in the comment sections on the panda’s return to China.



Hashtags: #七七确诊肠梗阻将进行手术#, #熊猫七七#


Panda Qiqi (七七), one of the famous pandas living in the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, has recently attracted attention on Chinese social media as many netizens are concerned about the panda’s health.

The 4-year-old panda recently had a CT scan that showed there was an intestinal blockage, and the panda was rushed to hospital for surgery.

Born on 17 July of 2018, Qiqi is the 14th cub of mother panda Princess. Princess was born in 1998, and she was the first giant panda in the world that was brought up by people right after its birth.

Qiqi was admitted to Shanghai’s Renji Hospital (仁济医院南院). When one of the medical staff members saw “Panda” coming up on the patient records, they initially thought it was just a funny name before discovering it was actually a real panda (#三甲医院有位患者叫熊猫是真熊猫#, #男子在医院遇到熊猫拍CT#).

“Qiqi, please get well soon!” a typical comment on social media said.



Hashtags: #上海野生动物园多次抽查发现问题#, #上海野生动物园曾回应多只熊猫病死#


The online worries over panda Qiqi are connected to wider concerns over Shanghai Wild Animal Park (上海野生动物园), which has also become a trending news topic on Chinese social media.

The Shanghai Wild Animal Park, founded in 1995, was previously slapped on the wrist after inspections found the zoo did not comply with all regulations. They also received a 200,000 yuan ($29,100) fine in 2020 for their liability in the injuries and deaths of animals at the park.

A total of six pandas have reportedly died at the park since it opened. In 2016, mother panda Guoguo and her cub Peanut both fell ill and died in December of that year. Both pandas suffered from an acute inflammatory disease affecting the intestines.

Besides Guoguo and Peanut, the pandas Jiasi, Guoqing, Wuyang and Yunhui also died in the park in between 2007-2016. Jiasi was the only one who died due to old age.

Chinese netizens are also concerned over one particular zookeeper, named as Zhang Xin (张鑫), who previously could be seen bullying and hitting a panda cub nicknamed Huani (华妮, now known as Aibao 爱宝). Surveillance videos showing how he handled the little panda also circulated on social media. Zhang allegedly also took care of Guohuo and Peanut at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park.

Most of all, Weibo commenters,and also those on the Douyin and Xiaohongshu apps, just want answers on the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and want to make sure the pandas and other animals are well taken care of.



Hashtags: #网友呼吁提前接旅美大熊猫丫丫回国#, #北京动物园已做足准备迎接丫丫#


More panda news sparked concerns this week. At the Memphis Zoo in the state of Tennessee, the seemingly deteriorating condition of the giant panda Yaya (丫丫) also became a trending topic on social media this week. As reported by Global Times, Ya Ya arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2003 as a part of a joint conservation and research project between the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and the U.S. with an agreement duration of 10 years, which was extended by 10 more years in 2013.

Yaya arrived in Memphis together with male partner Lele (乐乐), who suddenly died at the zoo earlier last month at the age of 25 due to heart disease. Pandas can reach an age of approximately 30 years; the oldest known panda reached the age of 35.

Yaya has apparently been suffering from hair loss and looked skinny; her condition has triggered online rumors that the Memphis Zoo was not properly taking care of her. Her return to China is scheduled to take place in early April of this year, but netizens have been calling for Yaya to come back to China at an earlier time. “Give her back to us!” some commenters wrote.

Meanwhile, some netizens have closely been following the live streams of Memphis Zoo showing Yaya’s room and were happy to see she was back to eating bamboo and seemed to have a good appetite.



Hashtags: #旅俄大熊猫画风突变体重狂飙40公斤#, #俄罗斯养的大熊猫相当炸裂#


In the context of the recent news of Yaya seemingly not doing all too great at the Memphis Zoo, there have also been several Chinese media reports on how well China’s pandas are doing at the zoo in Moscow. Ruyi (如意) and Dingding (丁丁) are rolling, slinging, pulling, and moving around while gaining plenty of weight at the Russian zoo.

One post about the pandas thriving in Russia – compared to the less frivolous situation of China’s panda in the U.S. – attracted over 342,000 likes and thousands of comments on Weibo, where some top commenters concluded that the panda treatment in Russia versus the U.S. was like a “kind stepmother” (Russia) versus a “ruthless stepmother” (U.S.).

“Look at the contrast with Yaya in Memphis,” some Weibo users write, while others suggest that Russia has been putting in a lot of work for the pandas by building a special pavilion, setting up a special expert communication team with China, and flying in bamboo from the mainland.

Want to stay tuned for our next update on what’s trending in panda news? Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here.

By Manya Koetse 
with contributions by Miranda Barnes


Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our 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.

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

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