Connect with us

China Media

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.

Published

on

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.

AD6jpp

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

61c99730jw1f0ct08098sj20fd08n3zs

61c99730jw1f0ct07sa3jj20fe08q0u5

61c99730jw1f0ct07v31pj20fd08pwfg

61c99730jw1f0ct07fsghj20fe08omya

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.

R5lI-fxnzanm3725966

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).

whatsonweiboscreenshot

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.

Continue Reading
27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ed Sander

    January 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

    What makes you assume these were tourists?

    Ed

  2. 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!

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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. 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..

    • 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

    • 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    • laowai

      January 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Seriously, Frank man?
      Get a life, loser
      Lol

      • 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”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

China and Covid19

China’s ‘Sheep People’: The Stigmatization of Covid Patients

Has testing negative or positive for Covid become a matter of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’?

Published

on

As many people face Covid-related discrimination in China after testing positive, social media users are now speaking out against popular (online) language that refers to Covid patients as ‘sheep,’ saying the way people talk about the virus is worsening existing stigmatization.

As Shanghai is entering its sixth week of citywide Covid lockdowns, there have been over 60,000 confirmed cases of Covid, and more than 52,000 people have recovered. Meanwhile, other cities in China, including Beijing and Zhengzhou, are also seeing Covid cases rise.

Everyone who tests positive for Covid in China currently needs to go to a centralized quarantine location to ‘recover,’ even if they have no symptoms. Covid-19 patients are not allowed to isolate at home due to the risk of spreading the virus or developing severe illness.

Patients who have been discharged from quarantine locations do not always receive a warm welcome upon returning back to their community. They need to test negative for Covid twice in a row before being discharged, but then often face discrimination from neighbors or family members who fear they might still carry the virus.

In online conversations, people who have tested positive for Covid are also referred to as “little positive people” (小阳人). But because the Chinese (Mandarin) word for ‘positive’ (yáng 阳) has the same pronunciation as the word for ‘sheep’ (yáng 羊), the meaning has come to shift, going from ‘little positive people’ to ‘little sheep persons’ (小羊人).

Gradually, Covid patients have also started to be labeled as “two-legged sheep” (liǎngjiǎoyáng 两脚羊), with male patients sometimes referred to as rams (gōngyáng 公羊) and female patients as ewes (mǔyáng 母羊). On social media, netizens also simply use the emoticon for a sheep (🐑) to refer to Covid-positive people.

 

“Stop calling Covid patients ‘little sheep’!”

 

A recent WeChat article by the health and medical platform Dxy.com describes the trend of referring to Covid patients as ‘little sheep’ stigmatizing and disrespectful, calling on people to stop labeling (recovered) Covid patients like this (DXY 2022).

The article suggests it is harmful to discriminate against Covid patients, comparing the language that is being used to describe Covid patients to how people affected by leprosy have suffered stigma and discrimination throughout history.

Using the hashtag “Stop Calling Covid Patients ‘Little Sheep [Positive] People'” (#别再叫新冠患者小阳人了#), Weibo users are discussing the stigmatization of people with Covid, with many agreeing that the language used to talk about Covid patients needs to change.

“This is no different than when other countries talked about the ‘Wuhan virus’ at the start of the pandemic,” one commenter wrote. “I always felt puzzled when people would use ‘sheep’ to talk about infected people, it’s so disrespectful,” another person replied. “People are people, with feelings and dignity, it’s just inhumane to refer to them as ‘two-legged sheep.'”

In April, another online article – including a conversation with a Shanghai Disease Control and Prevention doctor – also pointed out the problem of Chinese Covid patients being stigmatized. Popular science author Wang Jie (汪诘), who is based in Shanghai, wrote that the misunderstanding and panic about the virus are actually more frightening than Covid itself and that the disdain for Covid patients is most harmful to them.

The article was controversial and ended up being taken offline from Wechat, mainly because Wang Jie stressed that in the midst of China’s zero-Covid policy and the Shanghai outbreak, the ‘cure’ against the wave of Covid infections seemed to be worse than the virus itself. In doing so, Wang also addressed that the way Covid patients are being treated is often based on fear and panic rather than science.

All of the panic surrounding the virus has placed those who are positive or even recovered under scrutiny. China’s low infection rates have also made persons who have tested positive for Covid an anomaly to many, and there is the simple fear the virus might be transmitted to them or their loved ones – a risk that would affect their family and might even have consequences for the entire community they live in.

In early stages of a local outbreak, some of the people who were among the first to test positive were also referred to as ‘spreaders’ (放毒). In many cases, their contact tracing records were made public to inform residents, leading to the entire country knowing a person’s recent whereabouts (in one case, this exposed the tragic story of a Beijing migrant).

 

“When did testing positive become a social problem, and not just a medical one?”

 

Despite using different vocabulary, Chinese state media reports on how to deal with discharged patients perhaps also do not help in fighting the Covid stigma. In April, Shanghai Daily reminded people that recovered Covid-19 patients won’t infect others after returning home, but at the same time, it also suggested that recovered patients should live in well-ventilated rooms alone and avoid close contact and meals with their family members, while also reducing contact with other residents in the community (Yang 20220).

The official guidelines for recovered Covid patients in Shanghai require seven-day home health testing (check temperature twice a day, another nucleic acid test on the seventh day), and also prescribe people to stay isolated at home in a room by themselves and keeping a safe distance from others.

“I talked to my neighbor who came back from the quarantine hospital. He said he felt that people were avoiding him, that he was discriminated against and getting stared at. He worried about how this might mentally hurt his daughter, afraid that others wouldn’t play with her anymore,” one Weibo commenter named ‘Walexandraw’ shared.

Another social media user nicknamed ‘Love is Torture’ wrote that the community where they lived did not allow them back in after returning from the quarantine facility, forcing them to stay at their company’s dormitory instead: “So what use is the government proof of recovery? Is it nothing but a piece of paper? I have a home I can’t return to, is this the correct way to handle things?!”

Recently, a photo showing a drawing on the back of the hazmat suit of an anti-epidemic worker also triggered some controversy online. The drawing shows a black and a white figure, and underneath it says “grabbing sheep” (捉羊).

The picture is based on Heibai Wuchang (黑白无常), two Chinese folk religion deities – the Black and White Guard, sometimes represented as one single person – in charge of escorting spirits of the dead to the underworld. Persons doing good will meet the deity of fortune, while persons committing evil will meet the malevolent deity (Eng 2019).

Many people condemned the drawing for the message it conveyed of wrong versus right, with the ‘sheep’ testing positive for Covid going to ‘hell.’ Some mentioned that this kind of objectification of people could contribute to a Lucifer effect where anti-epidemic workers actually start to internalize ideas about the people they are testing in terms of ‘grabbing sheep’ and ‘good versus evil.’

“This person is objectifying patients by referring to them as ‘sheep’ and using the Heibai Wuchang drawing along with it, really making people uncomfortable,” one person wrote, with another Weibo user commenting:

“Since when do you have to feel inferior and guilty about it all being your own fault if you get the virus? When did testing positive become a social problem, and not just a medical one? Why not give positive patients a respectful name instead of a wrong one like ‘little sheep person’?”

Weibo blogger ‘Directube’ also posted another digital art work highlighting this idea of medical workers fighting against the evil of Covid.

“Is this 2022 or 1822?” one person wondered.

Despite all the online calls to change the popular language related to Covid (“language is a tool for thought and shapes what we think all the time), there are also many netizens who find the nicknames funny and innocent, and continue to call Covid patients ‘little sheep’ and other related terms.

“I just thought the term was cute,” one person writes, with another netizen complaining: “We have another little sheep in the community – we’re in lockdown again.”

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check 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 weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

References

DXY.com. 2022. “别再叫新冠患者「小阳人」了 [“Don’t Call Covid Patients Little Sheep]” (In Chinese). Dingxiang Yisheng 丁香医生 WeChat Account, May 6 https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/XbqZpi0PlP55RFe8RLV_1g [May 7 2022].

Eng, Khoo Boo. 2019. Understanding Chinese Culture in Relation to Tao. Singapore: Partridge Publishing.

Yang, Jian. 2022. “11,000 Patients Discharged after Recovery.” Shanghai Daily 23 (7496), April 11.

Wang Jie 汪诘. 2022. “比新冠病毒更可怕的,是对病毒的误解和恐慌 [What Is More Frightening Than the Novel Coronavirus Is the Misunderstanding and Panic about the Virus]” (In Chinese). Sohu.com, April 3 https://www.sohu.com/a/535112126_120083328 [May 7 2022].

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

China and Covid19

Chinese Netizens Respond to ‘Uplifting’ Covid News: “We’re Not That Dumb”

A viral WeChat blog criticizes Chinese journalists for ‘dumbing down’ and exaggerating Shanghai Covid news.

Published

on

Weibo commenters say they do not know “whether to laugh or to cry” about some state media news items that are desperately trying to turn news about Shanghai’s Covid situation into something ‘uplifting.’

This week, a WeChat article criticizing ‘uplifting’ news about Shanghai’s Covid situation has been making its rounds on Chinese social media.

“Sometimes, I really doubt the intelligence of some institutionalized journalists, I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it,” the author (大松子哟) of the Wechat article titled “Please Guys, Give Us Less Retarded News” (“求求你们了,少整点弱智新闻吧“) writes.

One of the recent news stories that is mentioned as an example of Shanghai blowing its own horn while also dumbing down news readers, is that of state media outlet Xinhua News about a drone flying over the Huangpu River to deliver priority life-saving medication to a cancer patient.

According to the state media report, the Shanghai local Committee of the Communist Youth League in Xuhui District received a help inquiry on April 27th from an elderly patient with advanced liver cancer who needed their emergency medicine from Shanghai’s Pudong District.

With the help of the fire and emergency department, the Committee immediately arranged for two drones to go on a mission over the Huangpu River to pick up and deliver the medicine, a journey of about 20 kilometers. The mission was reportedly accomplished in thirty minutes and the entire ordeal was filmed by the second drone for a Xinhua video.

“Such positivity,” one popular blogger wrote: “But what about just putting these medications in a car for transportation – they won’t go bad, and there are no traffic jams in Shanghai now. Transportation by car is a bit safer than flying them over the Huangpu river don’t you think?”

Another Weibo user wrote: “Shanghai bridges aren’t bombed, are they? The tunnels aren’t blocked, are they? Couldn’t the firemen just drive a car and deliver the medicine?” The idea that the two drones needed to fly out because the bridges and tunnels were bombed or blocked then became somewhat of a running joke on Weibo.

“This is all just to fit the propaganda messages, did you think people are stupid or something?” others wrote, with many commenters repeating the sentence: “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it.”

“I’m laughing so hard over this, all this trouble with a drone delivering medication and then another drone following it to film it, they’re making things so difficult.”

Following online criticism, a hashtag page related to the news was temporarily disabled and later only eight comments praising the video were displayed below the Xinhua thread, which actually received nearly 5000 replies.

 

Grateful Sick Man in Wheelchair

 

Another example raised is a news story about an elderly sick man with an amputated leg living on the fourth floor of an apartment building (without elevators) who had to go downstairs for a mandatory Covid test. Unable to leave his apartment by himself, the old man was helped by five anti-epidemic workers who carried him all the way down in his wheelchair.

According to the original news report, the old man was moved and thanked the workers for helping him get downstairs.

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to bring the test upstairs?” many people wondered. “Wasn’t the news editor a bit entertained about this news himself?”

Others also wondered how and if the man in the wheelchair ever got back to his fourth-floor apartment again.

“So you think it’s not a good idea for one person to go to the house to do the nucleic acid test, but you do think it looks good for five people to carry the old man down with a wheelchair and take pictures of it?” the WeChat article author wrote: “And he was moved and actually thanked you? Are you sure he didn’t call you idiots?”

The blogger also wrote: “I understand the goal of these kinds of articles is to express positivity and to convey a feeling of urgency that ‘every second counts,’ but could you please also take our IQ into considering when setting the atmosphere?”

Adding: “I once heard a story as a kid about an Arab who had won a camel at a competition. When he got home, he wanted to slaughter the camel but discovered his knife was on the third floor, so he asked three of his neighbors to help him get the camel up to the third floor…” I always thought this story was just fabricated, but now I’ve come to realize I was just too naive.”

 

A Life or Death Mission

 

Another news story mentioned was originally published by Jiefang Daily (解放日报), the official daily newspaper of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It is a personal narrative of a Shanghai official who is going back to work ‘in the field’ for the first time in a decade.

This is how the story begins:

“On the evening of April 12, close to 10pm, I received a call from my unit that I would be part of a team of ten people as the first batch of cadres to get into the village. Actually, I felt afraid, I didn’t know what the situation would be like in the place where we were heading. What challenges would we face? Also, I have two sons in junior high school, I always help them in their schoolwork, I worried their studies would be delayed.”

“I told my sons to go up to the attic to get the biggest suitcase. They were stupefied, asking me: ‘Mum, how long will you be gone for? Why do you need such a big suitcase?’ I told them: ‘You can never be over-prepared. I don’t exactly know how long.’ I could see the panic in their eyes.”

“The next day, when my sons carried my luggage to the car, I turned around and hugged them both. I had never been so sad to part with them, and tears started welling up in my eyes. I held myself back and told myself: ‘You can’t cry, you need to be a good role model for your sons, when facing a catastrophe someone must stand up and bravely step forward. Besides, I’m not the one who is suffering the most – if others can do it, so can I.”

The WeChat blogger responds to the news article, writing: “I first thought the protagonist was leaving their family to go abroad for some secret all or nothing mission, moving heaven and heart, between life and death,.. but then I read on and, oh, my dear, it turns out to be an official who’s going to work at a neighborhood committee!”

The author criticizes the article for presenting the work of a local cadre at a neighborhood committee – doing simple work such as scanning QR codes and collecting PCR tests – as some life or death mission.

“Where does this kind of ‘self-moving’ [‘自我感动’, like stroking one’s own ego] come from? Isn’t it embarrassing?”

Meanwhile, on Weibo, the banter continues: “I remember someone saying that the person in charge of the Shanghai propaganda line came back from North Korea.”

This is not the first time that this kind of ‘positive’ reporting in times of Covid is deemed out of place and exaggerated.

In February 2020, Chinese media reports praised female nurses as true heroes for having their heads shaved before going to Wuhan to help in the fight against Covid-19. The reports and videos showed some women crying while having their hair completely shaved, and the media segment caused anger among Weibo and Wechat users who thought it was all about propaganda.

Gansu Daily report on women having their head shaved in preparation of their Wuhan mission, February 2020.

Many wondered why the women needed to shave off all of their hair while male nurses could keep their hair. Some experts chiming in claimed that having a bald head would not be helpful in the fight against the virus, as (short) hair also has a protective function, reduces irritation from wearing hats and masks, and prevents sweat from dropping into the eyes.

More recently, a CCTV video report on the situation in Shanghai went viral on WeChat after people thought the part showing a supposed Shanghai supermarket was “too fake,” with many suggesting it was filmed inside a film studio instead of inside an actual Shanghai supermarket in times of lockdown and grocery problems.

Afterward, a video made by social media users edited a Joker Xue song into the state media video, in which he sings about a relationship in which one person is faking it and the other just plays along and pretends not to notice for the sake of their relationship.

Official media then reported that the supermarket scenes were “authentic.” The very fact that state media outlets apparently felt the need to convince netizens that the state news program was legitimate, instead of being staged as some netizens suspected, says a lot about the current relationship between state media and Chinese netizens amid tensions surrounding the situation in Shanghai.

“These kind of news reports are an insult to my brain,” one commenter wrote.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check 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 weekly 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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Contribute

Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor or intern at What's on Weibo? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.
Advertisement

Become a member

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What's on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles.    

Support What’s on Weibo

What's on Weibo is 100% independent. Will you support us? Your support means we can remain independent and keep reporting on the latest China trends. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our website. Support us from as little as $1 here.

Popular Reads