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Chinese People Attacked with Milk Powder in Amsterdam

Pictures and a video of Dutch men emptying boxes of milk powder over Chinese tourists in Amsterdam have become trending on Chinese social media networks Weixin and Weibo.

Manya Koetse

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Pictures and a video of Dutch men emptying boxes of milk powder over Chinese tourists in Amsterdam have become trending on Chinese social media networks Weixin and Weibo. Many netizens are angry with the men for insulting Chinese people. A commission has been set up to take legal actions against them.  

Chinese media report that two Dutch young men have recently attacked Chinese people with milk powder on the streets in Amsterdam. According to   Sina Weibo News, a Chinese netizen wrote on January 25 that two men in Amsterdam were looking out for Chinese people to pass by in the streets of Amsterdam, asking them if they wanted milk powder and then emptying a box of milk powder on them.

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According to Sina Weibo News, the attacks took place because Dutch people are not happy with Chinese people buying up milk powder in Amsterdam.

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The attacks occurred at different locations in Amsterdam, amongst others at the beginning of the Zeedijk, which is also known as Amsterdam’s ‘China Town’, and at the Stadhouderskade near the Heineken Brewery, which are both popular tourist places.

In the video, you can hear young men asking Asian-looking tourists if they want to buy some Nutrilon milk powder for twenty euros. They then proceed to throw milk powder over the tourists. “In the Netherlands, they are open about drugs and prostitution, and there is a free market, what’s the problem with buying milk powder?” one Weibo netizen wonders. “Only losers would take out their own frustration on other people like that,” another user responds. “They are only wasting milk powder like this!” one other Weibo netizen writes.

The two boys, who are named Rome Terbeek en Kenzo Hanter, have apologized for their actions in another video after their ‘prank’ caused controversy on social media in the Netherlands. In the video they say: “Hereby we would like to apologize for the prank we did in Amsterdam. We don’t have anything against Chinese or foreigners, but that is what it is made to look like now. We thought it would be a funny video and never thought it would turn out this way.” Their apology was also covered by Chinese media.

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Although the prank allegedly had no connection with Chinese buying up milk powder, Chinese media do connect this issue to earlier incidents where the ‘panic buying’ of milk powder has led to aggression, such as in last November in Rotterdam, where two Chinese got into a fight over milk powder (screenshot below).

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The boys have apologized, but the video and pictures have already become a much-discussed trending topic on Weibo under different hashtags, one being “Chinese splashed with milk powder” (#华人被泼奶粉#). Most Chinese netizens think the news has a direct connection to China’s milk powder problem, and many people are angry at the young men for insulting and bullying Chinese people this way and scold them on Weibo: “You fuckers really have a problem!” or “These fuckers really deserve a beating”, and “We should spill something over these son-of-a-bitches!” and “I only have a middle finger for you two!”

Chinese state media Xinhua and Tencent News report that the Chinese embassy hopes that legal measures will be taken against the two boys. The Chinese embassy in The Hague has stated on 27 January: “We are shocked that this nasty incident has happened in the Netherlands. We hope that the Dutch side will legally deal with this incident and that they will take the necessary measures to avoid such a thing happening again” (“我们对在荷兰发生这样的恶劣事件感到震惊,希望荷方依法处理并采取必要措施,避免此类事件再次发生”).

According to Xinhua News, Chinese media has been in touch with Dutch criminal lawyers, who think that the conduct of the two Dutch men could be classified as slander, discrimination, and bringing intentional harm to others. The Chinese community in the Netherlands has held a meeting and has decided to set up the “Dutch Overseas Chinese Rights Commission” (“荷兰华侨华人维权委员会”). They have asked the victims of the incident to come forward, as the Commission will help them in taking legal action against the men.

“This might have been just a street prank,” one netizen says: “but the issue of milk powder is a very sensitive one for Chinese people. It is just as insulting as it would be for a Muslim to be confronted with a pig’s head.”

Some examples of Chinese (state) media covering this news:
Global Times
Phoenix News
Epoch Times
China Youth
China Bridge
Sina News
China News Service
Sohu News

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.38.56

Screenshot of China Bridge News, naming the two boys and quoting a social media comment of a netizen who calls himself Geert Wilders (a well-known Dutch politician) and who says: “Guys guys, why would you do this? You know Nutrilon doesn’t care about this, they make loads of money.”  He also says: “Why would you bully Chinese people? They are very well integrated in the Netherlands! They are always very calm, why don’t you dare to bully people of other nationalities?” 

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 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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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ed Sander

    January 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

    What makes you assume these were tourists?

    Ed

  2. Avatar

    Pepsi

    January 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I was so angry when I saw this I was shaking. If any country knew anything about China, the Chinese, their traditions and culture, they would not even consider such a childish move. I, myself, have had 20+ years experience of the country itself.
    Baby milk is valuable in China, the powder on their shelves holds no nutrition, not their fault, but their governments fault. The country doesn’t have such luxuries which is why milk powder is bought abroad by many parents.
    I’m surprised the Chinese tolerate us westerners still and wouldn’t blame the Chinese if they rebelled. Which they won’t because they don’t like confrontation or debate.
    The Chinese are peaceful people. For all who are from outside of China…treat the Chinese with respect and how you yourselves wish to be treated. Otherwise, LEAVE THEM ALONE AND IN PEACE!

    • Avatar

      Sander from Holland

      January 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Hmmm… I think you missed that communist part of their culture. I had to work together with a Chinese girl for a few months and I noticed her enormous shyness and she was also afraid to tell about her country. She even was afraid for repercussions, even in Holland/Netherlands for the slightest critics onto her country. For me unimaginable that this is still possible in 2016

    • Avatar

      laowai

      January 30, 2016 at 6:03 am

      @Pepsi
      This was a tasteless joke and not funny at all. But you’re really a little whiner, my god.
      I live in Shanghai and I can tell you that there are a lot of Chinese who are not peaceful. So stop crying and get a life

    • Avatar

      Jason

      May 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Thank you for your understanding, as an exchange student in Barcelona, I am feeling shocked to see that as well. We buy the milk powder because we want our babies to grow up safely.

  3. Avatar

    LOL

    January 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Haha don’t get your panties in a bunch, it’s a tasteless joke but still pretty funny. Realize this is funny to some Dutch people as Chinese people literally fight each other over baby powder in our stores and more often then not baby powder milk is not available to Dutch people because Chinese people buy it all to resell it to China 😉

    The world would be a better place if folks wouldn’t get insulted so fast..

    • Avatar

      Sander from Holland

      January 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      It is literally a matter of life and dead for the Chinese, because they poison all their milk in China

    • Avatar

      A. from Groningen

      March 14, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      If this was the other way… Chinese adults throwing dirty water on Dutch tourists / Dutch students in China, you wouldn’t find it so funny. This is worse when baby milk-powder is actually a very sensitive topic in China.
      I am a Korean-Brit in the netherlands, I’ve gotten pushed off my bike while riding at times while being called a Shanghai c*nt wh*re. 🙂 I’ve had people chasing me around telling me they want to rape me :)….. because I am an asian looking woman.
      It’s not nice. It’s not funny.
      It IS insulting. And its frightening.

    • Avatar

      Bjorn

      March 15, 2016 at 5:43 am

      It’s tasteless, not funny, and uncalled for. Besides, powdered milk is scarce because factories don’t produce enough, you can’t blame Chinese people. What people do with products bought in supermarkets (use it themselves or resell) is up to themselves.

  4. Avatar

    Really?

    January 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    @Pepsi:

    The chinese people are peaceful people?
    Maybe, but tell that to the people in Tibet. They have a different experience with the Chinese.

    • Avatar

      Jason

      May 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Don’t mix up Chinese citizens with Chinese governments, and you do not understand the real situation on What Tibet is going through. Just like Catalonia wants independence, some people in Tibet wants independence but they could not represent the whole population of a region, what you hear and see is simply what those people wants to show.

  5. Avatar

    Maaike

    January 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    This just makes me so sad in many ways. Personally, I don’t think how anyone above the age of, let’s say, 5, could find this funny. But there’s no accounting for taste. Still, it angers me that people out of boredom spill good food, while others are starving, while at the same time being a real nuisance to the people they poke fun at. Shame on you, boys, shame on you…

  6. Avatar

    Simon

    January 28, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Reactions on a Dutch blog where this was published were all very negative. These guys have the brains of a shrimp and are not funny at all.

  7. Avatar

    Sander from Holland

    January 28, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I sincerely hope for this guys the Chinese laws don’t apply here in the Netherlands. I can imagine the Dutch government will be held under pressure by the CCP to punish these guys, because of the economic dependency of Holland to China. They probably won’t survive it and their families can buy their organs back…

  8. Avatar

    Peppi

    January 28, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I had to laugh at the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands in this article, they are notorious for refusing to pay their rental fee of the building, and they don’t care. But now they want justice?

  9. Avatar

    Henk

    January 28, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I am Dutch and there is absolutely no excuse for such behavior. Hell nobody cares if Chinese buy the milk powder especially not those two boys. They are plain and simple just morons trying to be funny to get attention. If I saw them do it I would punch them in the face until they apologized. I feel really bad for their victims. Let’s hunt them down, and hand them over to the authorities.

  10. Avatar

    Dutch J

    January 28, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    =January 28, 2016 at 5:57 pm
    Hell nobody cares if Chinese buy the milk powder especially not those two boys.=

    Oh hell yes we care. More often than not, Dutch nationals stand for an empty shelf because the milkpowder has been hamstered by the Chinese.

    The fact that babies die in China because of bad powdered milk is not our problem to begin with but becomes so because our product gets bought up in wholesale to ship it to China.

    • Avatar

      Ting

      September 20, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      I’m chinese, but I’m absolutely against the chinese people buying up milk powder in europe, no matter they’re tourists or residents. Those people have very good excuses to cover themselves up, such as: we care about our own people, or we’re doing it in legal way, not robbing or stealing, we’re buying with money! The hell they care, it’s money they are making out of, living in another country but causing problems to the local people, not trying to integrate into the country but doing such business, robbers with money. At the same time they show off on Weibo about their “happy” lives in Europe, I see these people as real losers.
      Now that I’m living in Germany myself, I’ve always planned to write one article about this phenomenon, instead of focusing on the milk powder scandle or food safety in China, I’ll write about the people who are doing this. It’s not only about milk powder, but also other baby stuff.
      I want to say to those chinese people: fingers off! (in real life I would say that in Chinese though)

  11. Avatar

    Ed Sander

    January 28, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    True, this punks could not care less about milk powder themselves. But the fact that they came up with this ‘prank’ does prove that the issue of milk powder and Chinese is a sensitive and controversial one.
    This recent Dutch article gives a very thorough analysis of the problem: http://www.deondernemer.nl/nieuwsbericht/38064/babymelkmaffia-deinst-nergens-voor-terug

    To me, the biggest Chinese mystery has always been that Chinese government can employ 2 million people to police the internet, but they can’t clean up an essential sector like the dairy industry.

  12. Avatar

    Sjaak

    January 29, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Ok it might have been stupid prank like most pranks are.
    Dont take it so hard, nobody got hurt and if China wants more Nutrilon than ask the producer to produce more.
    I think not long ago they decided to produce it in Germany specially for Chinese market.
    Give it some time.
    Oh and they’re €10-12 here 😉

  13. Avatar

    Richard Woltz

    January 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I am Dutch and think these two stupid boys are very confused about the concept of humour.

  14. Avatar

    T

    January 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    What a stupid behavior. In Holland and Amsterdam especially, we don’t have any problems with Asians and/or Chinese people. As a Dutchman living in Amsterdam I feel really embarrassed by this ‘joke’.

  15. Avatar

    Jan

    January 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    L.s.

    In any country you have scum.
    This is a Dutch guy – scum
    and an Maroccon guy – scum.

    Most people in Amsterdam are nice.
    Too bad they have not been beaten up.

    I am a 4th generation man from
    Amsterdam.

    Now fanatic Muslims are invading Holland/Europe so things will
    become much worse. I hope
    for the Chinese people to be more
    smart than Merkel and keep them out of your country. By the way.
    If YOU like these people please let us know We will be glad to send them over. We will pay the tickets.

    Take care.

    Han..

  16. Avatar

    frank man

    January 30, 2016 at 1:27 am

    We start a group on face book “NIET leuk,NOT amused,不再容忍,for the chinese communities in Holland to show they are not amused and we hope you will sign our petition too. Please support us.

    • Avatar

      laowai

      January 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Seriously, Frank man?
      Get a life, loser
      Lol

      • Avatar

        Walao

        July 12, 2016 at 4:26 am

        You live in Shanghai and you get your panties in a bunch over people speaking up for the chinese people? How about you get out of that country, “laowai”?

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China Insight

Press Conference on Chinese Student’s Death: Hu Xinyu Left Message on Voice Recorder

These are the most important details shared during the 2.2.23 press conference on the disappearance and death of Hu Xinyu.

Manya Koetse

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The disappearance and death of the Chinese 15-year-old Hu Xinyu has become one of the biggest topics on Chinese social media recently, with dozens of hashtags related to the story receiving millions – sometimes even billions – of views.

Hu Xinyu went missing from school on Oct. 14, 2022. The boy’s whereabouts were a mystery for 106 days, during which family, friends, police, and dedicated search teams searched for the student all across the Yanshan County region in Jiangxi Province and beyond.

On Jan 28., 2023, Hu’s remains were found by a local guard on the premises of a grain warehouse not far from the school. For a full timeline of Hu’s disappearance and the details surrounding his death, see our previous article here.

A voice recorder was also found near Hu’s remains, but the data on the small 4GB recorder initially seemed to be unretrievable, and it was sent back to the manufacturer for analysis.

On the morning of Feb. 2, 2023, local authorities and the dedicated task force organized a live-broadcasted press conference on the case and the latest findings.

The most important pieces of information provided in the press conference on February 2nd are as follows:

◼︎ Hu Xinyu’s death has been ruled a suicide by hanging. Hu used shoelaces, which were removed from the shoes found near Hu’s remains.

◼︎ As previously reported, Hu was found at a nearby grain warehouse. It has now been clarified that the area where Hu’s remains were found is a grain reserve depot area. The grain reserve depot area is prohibited to enter and is guarded 24/7. It is a very large plot of land that includes a zone (over 8000 square meters) with twenty buildings on it – including warehouses and living quarters, – and a forest area of approximately 9300 square meters. Although the area is encircled by a wall, some parts of the wall are lower due to uneven ground. Hu’s body was found in the wooded area, hanging from a tree near the wall, close to one of the spots where the wall height was significantly lower.

School area (top circle) and the grain reserve depot area (lower circle).

◼︎ The location where Hu’s remains were found is just 226 meters away from the Zhiyuan Middle School and it had been searched before, not only through the use of thermal drones, but also by search teams on four different occasions in October and November of 2022. Although all the buildings in the area were searched along with other parts of the zone, the specific wooded area where Hu was later found was not searched. There were also no clues that led search teams to believe Hu Xinyu had walked a specific route through dense vegetation surrounding the grain depot area.

People’s Daily released a 3D video visualising the situation in the area where Hu’s remains were found. Due to uneven ground / piled-up mud, the high wall is relatively easy to jump over from outside. Inside the wall (which is on the grain reserve depot grounds) there is a wooded area.

Hu Xinyu’s body was found hanging from a tree at the interior of the wall, in a place that was not clearly visible.

◼︎ The voice recorder plays a major role in this case. It was previously known that Hu Xinyu had purchased a voice recorder and that it could not be located after Hu Xinyu went missing. Although earlier reports stated that the data on the recorder could not be retrieved as the device had been exposed to sun, rain, moist, etc., it has now been announced that the audio files have been retrieved and that Hu Xinyu recorded two messages on Oct. 14, 2022, at 17:40 and 23:08, in which he expressed the will to commit suicide.

◼︎ The involved experts in this case have also concluded that through analysis and based on Hu’s own notes and other evidence, the 15-year-old boy was struggling with his mental health and emotional disorders related to loneliness, insecurity, and lack of communication. Hu also experienced additional stress when he was getting lower grades, and he suffered from insomnia, difficulty concentrating, abnormal eating patterns, and an overall sense of hopelessness.

During the press conference, reporters were allowed to ask questions related to the case. In response to a question related to the many rumors the Hu Xinyu case has attracted over the past months, one official declared that at least two persons have been arrested for fabricating videos and purposely spreading false rumors about the case.

After Thursday’s press conference, it has once again become clear just how big the social media attention is for this case. The hashtag “Content of Hu Xinyu Voice Recorder” (#胡鑫宇录音笔内容#) received over 390 million views on Weibo; the hashtag “Hu Xinyu Expressed Will to Commit Suicide on Voice Recorder” (#胡鑫宇录音笔中音频表达自杀意愿#) received over 640 million views; the hashtag “Hu Xinyu Died due to Self-Hanging” (#胡鑫宇系自缢死亡#) received over 950 million views.

Among the many responses, there are those who argue that schools should offer more channels to provide support to students dealing with mental health issues. Others hope that Hu Xinyu can now finally rest in peace.

 
For information and support on mental health and suicide, international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
 

By Manya Koetse 

 

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China Insight

What Happened to Hu Xinyu? Disappearance and Death of 15-Year-Old Student Attracts Widespread Attention in China

Although Hu Xinyu’s school had 119 cameras, his disappearance remained a mystery for 106 days. Near Hu’s remains, a voice recorder was found.

Manya Koetse

Published

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After 106 days of searching, Hu Xinyu’s parents now know their son has passed away. The student’s remains were found at a grain warehouse near his school, but questions still linger on what happened to the 15-year-old and why it took so long to find him.

The case of a Chinese 15-year-old student named Hu Xinyu (胡鑫宇) has been trending on Chinese social media over the past few days. Ever since October of 2022, Hu Xinyu’s case has been a much-discussed topic.

The young man from Jiangxi was missing for 106 days before his body was discovered, leaving many unanswered questions surrounding his death and why search teams were unable to find Hu in the months before.

One of the reasons why Hu Xinyu’s disappearance has been attracting widespread attention is because many people believe there are some details or occurrences surrounding Hu’s case that are purposely being hidden or not revealed to the public.

 
Hu Goes Missing: A Timeline

The story begins on Oct. 14, 2022, when Hu Xinyu, a student at the Zhiyuan Middle School (致远中学), first went missing in Yanshan County, Shangrao City. The Zhiyuan Middle School is a private school where students live in the dorms, only going home to their families on days off. Hu allegedly had good grades as a student at Zhiyuan.

The incident attracted attention due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding it. It was first reported that security cameras allegedly had not recorded the student leaving the school’s premises and that Hu’s family suspected that the security camera system had been tampered with. The school reportedly has a total of 119 cameras installed on its premises.

Later reports claimed that security cameras did in fact capture how Hu left the dorms at 17:51 that day, but there was no footage of him actually leaving the school premises.

On Oct. 15, after unsuccessful attempts by friends and family to locate Hu Xinyu, he was reported as a missing person at the local police office.

On Nov. 20, when Hu had already been missing for over a month, local authorities set up a joint task force to try and speed up efforts to find Hu and further investigate his disappearance. Hu’s social media and bank accounts reportedly had zero activity since he went missing.

On Nov. 22, 2022, Chinese media reported that rescue and search teams still had not found a single clue about where Hu might be. Meanwhile, his parents were gradually losing hope of finding their son back alive.

Missing person posters for Hu Xinyu (via 163.com).

On Nov. 29, 2022, 46 days since Hu went missing, a chemistry teacher by the name of Wang was called in for questioning but he was later released. Weeks later, on Jan. 1, the police informed Hu’s relatives that – despite rumors – they ruled out the possibility of school staff being involved in Hu’s disappearance.

On Dec. 25, 2022, Hu Xinyu’s mother shared some more information via social media about some contents in her son’s old notebooks, in which Hu allegedly had noted how he felt that it was not easy for him to adapt to his living environment at the school and that he felt hindered by his introvert personality. These contents were later deleted again.

After Jan. 7, 2023, the search for Hu continued, including teams with search dogs, and thousands of people volunteered to join.

On Jan. 28, 2023, a body was found hanging near the woods in the Jinji mountain area in the town of Hekou. A voice recorder was also found at the scene.

The body was reportedly found by a local guard who was near the premises with his dog to look for a chicken that had wandered off. The dog started barking at something, and the guard then discovered the remains, which were not immediately clearly visible.

One day later, on Jan. 29, Chinese media reported that DNA research confirmed that the remains belonged to Hu Xinyu. He was wearing his school uniform when his remains were found. Hu’s parents decided to have a post-mortem examination of the body to determine the cause of death. The voice recorder found near Hu’s body was sent for analysis.

The hashtag “Hu Xinyu’s Remains Found” (#胡鑫宇遗体被发现#) was viewed over two billion times on Weibo.

 
The Latest Details Surrounding Hu Xinyu’s Death

Chinese news outlet The Paper reported that the location where Hu’s remains were discovered is a large grain warehouse area just about 300 meters or a 5-minute walk southeast of the Zhiyuan Middle School.

According to a spokesperson of the search & rescue team, the area where Hu was found had been previously included in search efforts (#搜救队曾去胡鑫宇被发现地周围搜寻#).

The biggest questions that remain and that are asked by so many on Chinese social media are: how is it possible that search teams previously did not find Hu if this is where he was all along? Is the place where Hu was found a crime scene or not? How is it possible that security cameras did not capture Hu beyond the dorms?

Some details that surfaced over the past few days provide further information on the case.

On Jan. 31, Chinese media reported that one of Hu’s teachers had discovered something written down by Hu Xinyu on the last page of his notebook: “What would it be like if I’m not longer here?” (#胡鑫宇曾写如果我不活了将会变得怎么样#).

It has also become known that Hu Xinyu purchased the voice recorder that was found with his remains. He purchased the 4GB-capacity recorder on October 4, 2022.

At the time of writing, the data on the recorder was not able to be retrieved (#胡鑫宇购买录音笔数据删除后无法恢复#). A recording device such as the one found near Hu’s body might become damaged due very low or high temperatures or by moist and liquid (#胡鑫宇录音笔已送深圳检测#).

A recording device that allegedly is similar to the one found near Hu Xinyu.

If the original manufacturer would be able to get the data on the recorder, Hu’s relatives finally might get some of the answers they have been waiting for for so long.

According to Hu Xinyu’s father, search and rescue staff previously had in fact been inside the grain warehouse premises, but apparently did not come to the exact location within the warehouse area where Hu was later found (#胡鑫宇父亲称未到达遗体发现点#).

On February 2nd, 2023, a press conference on the latest developments is planned to take place in Yanshan county in Shangrao at 10:00 AM. (Update: read about the press conference here).

 
Societal Distrust, Armchair Detectives, and Social Media

There are multiple reasons why the Hu Xinyu case is attracting such wide attention, and in some ways, the case is similar to the 2021 ‘Chengdu 49 Middle School Incident.’

At the time, the death of 16-year-old Lin Weiqi (林唯麒) also attracted nationwide attention and led to a wave of online rumors and theories on what might have happened to him.

Although Lin never went missing – he fell to his death from the school building, – there was also online speculation about corporal punishment and abuse taking place in the school, with one theory suggesting Lin had been hurt by a chemistry teacher. Just as in the Hu Xinyu case, netizens speculated that the school was trying to cover up the incident.

According to a joint statement later issued by the local propaganda department, police, and the Education Bureau said that they had come to the conclusion that the student had taken his own life due to personal problems.

The Lin Weiqi story sparked concerns at a time when security cameras had become a part of everyday lives. The fact that there were blind spots in the surveillance footage and that cameras never captured how and if Lin actually took his own life triggered doubts among Lin’s relatives and netizens alike.

The case surrounding Lin’s death also attracted nationwide attention in May of 2021.

Many reasoned that since there are security cameras all over the school, there must be a cover-up going on if the incident was not captured on camera. A similar thing happened in the case of the Tangshan BBQ Restaurant Incident in which female customers were assaulted and beaten by a group of men. Although the beating incident was captured by security cameras, the last part of the incident occurred at a nearby alley and was not captured by the outdoor security cameras. This led to a lot of speculation on what happened there and if local government officials were covering something up.

Another factor that plays a role is that there have actually been stories about schools or other institutes covering up scandals in recent years, such as in the RYB Education incident of 2017 that shocked the nation and did not help in improving trust in educational institutes.

Social media also plays an important role in how and why the Hu Xinyu case received so much attention. For some online communities of armchair detectives, identifying suspects and uncovering clues becomes like solving a puzzle, while following the latest details in these high-profile cases also becomes like a form of infotainment for others – comparable to the online sleuthing and major attention for the case of Gabby Petito in the U.S.

Furthermore, those who are closely related to the case also use social media to attract more attention. In Hu Xinyu’s case, his family members personally turned to social media and media reporters to ask for help or update with information. This also makes social media users more involved since they get the feeling they know the family, and sympathize with them. Very different from just reading a headline in the local newspaper, social media users feel involved and get involved.

For now, many social media users would like to see some clarity in this case and a conclusion so that Hu’s family can finally get some of their questions answered.

While many think it is highly likely that local authorities will soon come out with a statement that Hu committed suicide, others think there might still be other outcomes.

“It’s lasted long enough now,” some Weibo commenters write: “What is most important now is to finally know the truth.”

READ UPDATE TO THIS STORY HERE.

By Manya Koetse 

with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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For information and support on mental health and suicide, international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
 

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