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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.

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24, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the United States Consulate that its permission to operate in Chengdu was revoked and that it needs to halt all operations.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

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©2020 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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  1. Pingback: Chinese Researchers Arrested in U.S. as Beijing Hits Back for Consulate Closure - EuroNews

  2. Pingback: Chinese nationalists call online for more retaliation measures against US diplomacy that targets Beijing · Global Voices – NewsForTime

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China Memes & Viral

Prohibited to Promote Top Students, Chinese Schools Are Praising their Excellent ‘Fruit’ Instead

Who knew Chinese schools were so good at harvesting fruit?

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It is that time of the year again: China’s gaokao results are in. Chinese schools that are proud of their top-scoring students would like to scream it from the rooftops, but they are banned from doing so. So they are now posting about their very successful fruit production instead.

This week, the scores came out for China’s gaokao (高考), the National Higher Education Entrance Examinations that took place earlier this months.

The exams are a prerequisite for entering China’s higher education institutions and are taken by students in their last year of senior high school. Scoring high grades for this exam can give high school students access to a better college, which enlarges their chances of obtaining a good job after graduation.

Those who succeed in becoming top scorers in their field and area are known as the gāokǎo zhuàngyuán (高考状元, ‘gaokao champions’). Gaokao champions are usually widely praised, not just by families and friends, but also by their hometowns and schools for which the top-scoring students are their pride and unique selling point.

But since 2018, as explained in this article, it is prohibited for Chinese media and schools to give publicity to gaokao top scorers. The Chinese Ministry of Education banned the promotion of top achievers in line with Xi Jinping Thought, emphasizing the value of equality and sociability instead.

This year, local authorities again reiterated the message that in order to set the right example and “establish the correct orientation of education,” the hyping up of school exam results and publishing top score rankings are strictly prohibited.

Because of the Ministry of Education guidelines, schools can not openly flaunt the successes of their top scorers, but some have found creative ways to do so anyway.

“Of a batch of 1320 ripe mango’s, there are over hundred weighing more than 600 grams,” one school in Guangxi’s Nanning wrote. The ‘weight’ refers to the score, with 600 being a very high score (the maximum score is usually 750, depending on the field and area). “”[We] picked a mango weighing as much as 696 grams, the king of Qinzhou fruit. Two fruit dealers in the capital have already heard of it and are eager to take it.”

Besides mango’s, there were also other schools mentioning their successful production of ‘plums or peaches.’

One blog by Jiangchacha (姜茶茶) listed various examples of schools boasting about their ‘fruit harvest’ in social media posts.

The blog explained that some schools in Guangxi used the mango metaphor because Guangxi has some of the country’s largest mango-producing regions. Meanwhile, the word for ‘peaches and plums’ in Chinese (桃李) also refers to one’s pupils or disciples.

Another school’s post said: “It is harvest season (..), and the campus is fragrant with peaches and plums, and fruitful results!”, adding that “a total of 2400 high quality peaches and plums have been harvested, and over 93% are of high quality!”

There was also one school that mentioned other schools were below them in scores, writing that its “excellence rate” was “clearly ahead of the three other big gardens on the east coast.”

“Our king peach weighs no less than 689 grams,” another school announced. There were also schools that did not discuss fruit but were making references to fish, trees, and high-speed trains instead.

The issue of schools reporting their ‘harvest’ became a trending topic on Weibo, where some found it very funny. But others also voiced criticism that schools cannot publish about some of their students being gāokǎo zhuàngyuán, top scorers.

“There is nothing to hide, the exam scores are the result of hard work by both the teachers and students,” one popular comment said, with others replying: “Why wouldn’t you announce the scores? It might inspire other students!”

“This entire guideline is just nonsense,” another typical comment said.

Meanwhile, some netizens suggested that Sichuan schools could use pandas as a metaphor for their top scorers, while Chongqing could use chili peppers next year, with others suggesting other types of fruit that could be used in these ‘covered-up’ gaokao score publications. It’s bound to be another fruitful year in 2023.

Want to read more about gaokao? Check out more related articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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Photo by Bangyu Wang on Unsplash

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China Local News

Chinese Twin Sisters Switched Identities to Illegally Travel Abroad over 30 Times

The lookalike sisters thought it was “convenient” to use each other’s passport to travel to Japan, Russia, Thailand and other countries.

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Weibo Shorts are concise articles on topics that are currently trending. This article was first published

On June 27, a local public security bureau in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, released a press statement regarding the peculiar case of twin sisters who used each other’s identity to travel abroad over thirty times.

The two Zhou sisters, *Hong and *Wei (pseudonyms), started switching identities when Hong’s husband, a Japanese national, returned to Japan. Hong wanted to join her husband in Japan, but her visa application was repeatedly denied due to not meeting the requirements.

Hong then decided to use her sister’s travel documents to travel to Japan to see her husband various times. She reportedly also used her sister’s passport to travel to Russia. She ended up traveling between China, Russia, and Japan at least thirty times.

Wei, who reportedly thought this way of switching identities was “convenient”, also used her sister’s passport to travel to Thailand and some other countries on four different occasions.

After authorities found out what the sisters had been up to earlier in 2022, they were advised in May to return back to China. While the case is still under investigation, the sisters are now being held for the criminal offense of border management obstruction.

The case went trending in the hot-search topic list on Weibo, where many people are wondering how this could have happened so many times. “If you exit and enter the country, aren’t fingerprints collected?”, some wondered, with others saying the border technological systems were apparently not good enough to detect such identity fraud.

There were also those who thought the story was quite “amazing” and sounded “like the plot of a television series.”

By Manya Koetse

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