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China Memes & Viral

‘Chinese Traditional Culture University’ Turns Out to Be Fake

The ‘Chinese Traditional Culture University’ sounded so refined, but it turned out to be a sham.

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A crackdown on an educational institute known as the “China Traditional Culture Institute University” (“中国国学院大学”) has become a major news topic on Chinese social media this weekend. The institute was banned for being an “illegal social organization” (“非法社会组织”) without any accreditation.

The ‘China Traditional Culture University’ was found to have forged official documents and registration certificates. Besides its main location in Beijing, the institute has 70 branches in various cities across China, including in Tianjin, Guangzhou, Guangdong, and Shenzhen.

These branches, including a “China National University of Chinese Medicine and Life Sciences” (中国国学院大学国医药生命科学院), an institute of “Mao Studies” (中国国学院大学毛学研究院), and a “Laozi Research Institute” (中国国学院大学老子研究院) have now also all been banned.

Beijing Youth Daily reports that the institute was not officially registered and forged official credentials. The organization collected money by holding various award and inauguration ceremonies and events across the country. They claimed to be an affiliate institution of the Ministry of Culture to train Chinese officials as well as international ambassadors and cultural workers.

Because of its name, its nationwide presence, and its alleged association with many high-reliability organizations, the fake university apparently fooled many into thinking it was a qualified and renowned educational institute.

According to its own former website, which has since been taken down, the institute was established in 2009 and taught courses in Chinese language and literature, Chinese Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, calligraphy and painting, martial arts, Chinese medicine, and more.

On Weibo, the hashtag page “China Traditional Culture University Taken Down” (#中国国学院大学被取缔#) received over 210 million views on Saturday. A video report showing authorities taking down the university’s sign was widely shared.

Many people on social media express disbelief at how this university could go on for so many years, establishing 70 branches, without being caught. The institute’s new branch openings or award ceremonies made it to local newspapers multiple times.

“Their name sounds so high-end, but they were passing off fish eyes for pearls,” one Weibo commenter said. Other commenters also note how the fact that the institute’s name contained “China” (中国) and “academy” (学院) and “university” (大学) made it sound trustworthy.

In 2019, a social media storm broke out when it turned out that students studying at the Nanjing Institute of Applied Technology (南京应用技术学校) had actually been studying for a ‘fake Major’ (假专业) since their study programmes were not even registered.

“How many fake schools are there out there?”, some people wonder.

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.

©2021 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 Memes & Viral

This ‘Chinese Lego’ Brand Takes Its Toy Space Mission VERY Seriously

This miniature sign – ‘you’ll lose your head if you steal secrets’ – seems a bit much for a Lego set for kids, but at least it’s ‘true to the original’!

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The ‘if you steal secrets, you’ll be decapitated’ warning that comes with this Lego set seems a bit much for ages 6 and up, but it’s based on an actual sign at the Chinese satellite launch center.

A toy set by Chinese Lego clone brand Sembo Blocks (森宝积木) has been making its rounds on WeChat for showing a remarkable propaganda quote on one of its miniature signs, warning people they’ll be caught and then decapitated if they steal secrets.

China’s Sembo Block toy manufacturer has released an entire series themed around China’s space mission in collaboration with CASCI (航天文创), the China Aerospace Science and Cultural Innovation center.

The series, meant for kids ages 6 and up, is all about celebrating China’s space program.

One of the toy sets is themed around China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (酒泉卫星发射中心), which is the first of China’s four spaceports. It features the Long March 2F, a Chinese rocket which is launched from the Jiuquan Center and made its maiden flight in 1999.

The set is so ‘true to the original’ that it also features a sign saying: “Those stealing secrets will be caught, once they’re caught they will be killed [decapitated]” (“窃密必被抓,抓住就杀头”).

Perhaps the slogan is not something to expect on a Lego toy set, but it comes from an actual warning sign outside of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch center.

Over the past years, fighting (foreign) espionage and underlining individual responsibility in protecting national security has become an intensified effort in China.

Sign of the warning outside Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Stang, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Sembo Blocks is a Chinese alternative Lego brand founded in January 2015.

Although Sembo also sells a similar set for consumers outside of China, that same set does not contain the “Don’t steal secrets or you’ll die” warning sign. The sign for the foreign market is left blank instead.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)

With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Food & Drinks

Adapted to the Desert: This Yurt-Style KFC Opened in Inner Mongolia

Special KFC in Inner-Mongolia: “Is home delivery done by camelback?”

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A KFC restaurant that has opened up in Ordos Prefecture, Inner-Mongolia, is attracting online attention in China for its yurt-style building.

The KFC restaurant is located in Xiangshawan, also known as Whistling Dune Bay, a tourist area – China’s first desert-themed tourism resort – in the Kubuqi Desert.

Some web users praise the fast-food giant for “following local customs” (“入乡随俗”). Others jokingly wonder if their home delivery services are also done by camelback.

Although KFC is not China’s first fast-food restaurant, it is one of the most popular ones. Nowhere else outside of the US has KFC expanded so quickly as in China. Since the first KFC opened in Beijing in 1987, the chain had an average of 50% growth per year.

With thousands of locations across the country, KFC often adapts its restaurants’ style to the local environment. On Weibo, web users share various examples of local KFCs.

A KFC sign at a Fuzhou branch, by Weibo user @渭城朝雨玉清宸.

A KFC in Shanxi province, shared by Weibo user @sheep加水饺.

KFC in Suzhou, by Weibo user @是宜不是宣呀.

KFC in Pingyao, by Weibo user @车谦渊

KFC in Orange Isle, Hunan, by Weibo user @DzDanger_

One Weibo user (@阳山花非花) points out that KFC is not the only chain to adapt to the local environment in Ordos. Chinese fast-food chain Dicos (德克士) apparently also has a special restaurant in the area.

Besides adapting its buildings, KFC is also known to be quite localized in its product offerings. KFC China offers products such as Chinese-style porridge, Beijing chicken roll, and youtiao (deep-fried strip of dough commonly eaten for breakfast).

In 2019, KFC also made headlines in China for adding, among other things, hot and spicy skewers (麻辣串串) to its menu.

For now, the KFC yurt-style location is bound to gain more visitors who are coming to check it out. Already, various Weibo users are sharing their own pics of their KFC visit.

 

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By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)

With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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