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Chinese New Year Brings a Baby Boom

The new Lunar Year will bring a baby boom in mainland China. Not only because the ‘two child policy’ has come into effect, but also because the Year of the Monkey is a particularly good time to have a baby: kids born under this zodiac are generally believed to be smart and happy.

Manya Koetse

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The new Lunar Year will bring a baby boom in mainland China. Not only because the ‘two child policy’ has come into effect, but also because the Year of the Monkey is a particularly good time to have a baby: kids born under this zodiac are generally believed to be smart and happy.

Many people in China believe that children born in the Year of the Monkey are smart, resourceful, confident and happy (“聪明机智自信快乐”). The coming year is therefore a popular one to have a baby, and many (future) parents do all they can to give birth during this year.

At the same time, the recent implementation of the ‘two child policy‘ means that many couples in China will now either hurry to have a second child or have their first baby. It is highly likely that these factors will lead to a baby boom in the coming year, Sina News reports.

Another third reason for China’s baby boom year is that the previous year, the Year of the Goat, is considered a bad time to have a baby. There is an old Chinese saying that nine out of ten people born in the Year of the Goat are incomplete and will suffer from great misfortune throughout their life (“十羊九不全”). Women therefore rushed to the hospital in early 2015, ahead of Chinese New Year, to make sure their baby was still born in the Year of the Horse (2014). For this year, it means that couples might have planned it so they would not have a baby during the Goat year, but during the Monkey year.

The coming baby boom is already leading to a growing demand for ‘postnatal attendants’ (月嫂), women who take care of the newborn baby and the mother in the month after childbirth. During this time, most new mothers will ‘sit the month‘, meaning they will stay indoors and rest for the first four weeks after giving birth.

The monkey is considered the symbol of intelligence. Those born in the year of the monkey are believed to be powerful, sociable and gifted. According to the Chinese Zodiac Guide, those born under the Monkey zodiac will have a career as a politician, diplomat, ambassador, writer, spokesman or actor.

“Poor kids,” one Weibo netizen says, as the topic is much discussed on Chinese social media: “They will have so much pressure on them, especially during their university entrance exams.”

“The zodiac is not that important,” another Weibo user comments: “What is important is if you have money. If you don’t have money, don’t have a baby. I don’t want to insult poor people, I’m poor myself, I’m just saying that financial conditions are just as important as spiritual ones.”

Besides careers in politics or diplomacy, people with Monkey zodiacs are also believed to make excellent thieves. But that might not be what most parents are hoping for when having their babies this year.

Year of the Monkey:
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

By Manya Koetse

Image via Sohu

©2016 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 Media

CCTV New Year’s Gala 2020 Overview: Highlights and Must-Knows

What is Chinese New Year without the CCTV Spring Gala? What’s on Weibo reports the must-knows of the 2020 ‘Chunwan.’

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Chinese social media is dominated by two topics today: the CCTV New Year Gala (Chunwan) and the outbreak of the coronavirus. Watch the livestream of the CCTV Gala here, and we will keep you updated with tonight’s highlights and must-knows as we will add more information to this post throughout the night.

As the Year of the Rat is just around the corner, millions of people in China and beyond are starting the countdown to the Chinese New Year by watching the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, commonly abbreviated in Chinese as Chunwan (春晚).

The role of social media in watching the event has become increasingly important throughout the years, with topics relating to the Chunwan becoming trending days before.

Making fun of the show and criticizing it is part of the viewer’s experience, although the hashtag used for these kinds of online discussions (such as “Spring Festival Gala Roast” #春晚吐槽#) are sometimes blocked.

The Gala starts at 20.00 China Central Time on January 24. Follow live on Youtube here, or see CCTV livestreaming here.

 
About the CCTV New Year’s Gala
 

Since its very first airing in 1983, the Spring Festival Gala has captured an audience of millions. In 2010, the live Gala had a viewership of 730 million; in 2014, it had reached a viewership of 900 million, and in 2019, over a billion people watched the Gala on TV and online, making the show much bigger in terms of viewership than, for example, the Super Bowl.

The show lasts a total of four hours, and has around 30 different acts, from dance to singing and acrobatics. The acts that are both most-loved and most-dreaded are the comic sketches (小品) and crosstalk (相声); they are usually the funniest, but also convey the most political messages.

As viewer ratings of the CCTV Gala in the 21st century have skyrocketed, so has the critique on the show – which seems to be growing year-on-year.

According to many viewers, the spectacle generally is often “way too political” with its display of communist nostalgia, including the performance of different revolutionary songs such as “Without the Communist Party, There is No New China” (没有共产党就没有新中国).

To take a look at what was going on during the Spring Gala’s previous shows, also see how What’s on Weibo covered this event in 2016, in 2017, in 2018, and in 2019.

 
Live updates
 

Check for some live updates below. (We might be quiet every now and then, but if you leave this page open you’ll hear a ping when we add a new post).

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

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China Memes & Viral

Video of Chinese Employees Crawling on Ground at Annual Dinner Goes Viral

Employees crawling on the ground during annual business dinner: “Is this really the year 2020?”

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A somewhat bizarre video made its rounds on Chinese social media this week, showing Chinese employees crawling on their hands and feet during an official event.

The video, that was recorded during a Chinese New Year annual company dinner, was first posted by a popular Weibo blogger (@社畜茶水间) on January 18.

The 15-second clip shows how both men and women dressed in formal attire crawl on the ground while loudly repeating: “I had promised, I take responsibility” (“我承诺,我担当”). The scene was filmed by one of the people attending the annual dinner.

With over 21,620 shares on Weibo and over 300,000 ‘likes,’ the post stirred controversy among Chinese netizens this week. A hashtag relating to the incident received approximately 60 million views (#业绩没达标在年会上爬三圈#).

According to the post, crawling on the ground is a punishment for those employees who fail to achieve their promised sales performance. The company was later identified as a Chinese food and beverage corporation.

The majority of netizens criticized the video. Many consider the punishment to be degrading to these individuals, calling it a “practice of slavery.”

Employees of the company have reportedly responded to the controversy, saying that nobody was forced to crawl on the ground and that it was a “voluntary” action. The response was widely disregarded on Weibo.

This is not the first time a video like this, in which employees seemingly punished in bizarre ways, goes viral on Chinese social media.

In 2017, another video in which employees slapped each other’s face with great force also spread on Weibo.

The rise of these peculiar business practices result partly from the growing focus on “wolf culture” (狼性文化), a term that was popularized by tech giant Huawei and was meant to promote a team spirit among employees.

Although “wolf culture” should encourage strong teamwork, it is also used by some companies to justify the cruelty of these kinds of punishment.

In an online poll by Sina Tech asking Weibo users if they would quit their job if their work environment was similar to that in the video, 70% of respondents indicated that they would not tolerate such a situation at all. Over 2000 of the survey respondents, some 15%, indicated that they would not necessarily quit their job.

“Watching this video, I wondered, are we really in the year 2020?” one Weibo commenter asked.

By Yuhao Feng
Follow @whatsonweibo

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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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