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Dorm Violence: Kunming University Student Killed by Roommate for Singing A Song

A dorm murder in Yunnan province has become the focus of public attention. The lethal altercation, that took place at Kunming University, allegedly started over a song. Weibo netizens are increasingly worried about the recurring problem of dorm violence.

Manya Koetse

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A dorm murder in Yunnan province has become the focus of public attention. The lethal altercation, that took place at Kunming University, allegedly started over a song. Weibo netizens are increasingly worried about the recurring problem of dorm violence.

Weibo netizens recently exposed that a dorm room murder took place on June 13 at the Kunming University of Science and Technology. The topic became trending on June 17 on Sina Weibo under the hashtag of ‘University Student Killed by Roommate’ (#大学生遭舍友杀害#).

The person who was killed, a young man named Peng, was known to be previously involved in a dispute with another male dormitory student, according to Legal Evening News.

Local police has confirmed the deadly altercation started when Peng was listening to music and singing in the dorm room while others were sleeping, triggering a fight with the suspect, People’s Daily writes. Peng first assaulted the suspect with a chair, after which the suspect stabbed and killed him with a knife. The suspect has since been arrested.

News about the case, that is currently under police investigation, leaked online through netizens who shared pictures of the murder scene.

The pictures, that are blurred, show students kneeling down around the place of the murder and another picture allegedly shows the body of Peng wrapped in a bag.

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News of the murder has caused much commotion on Weibo, where many netizens worry about living conditions and dorm violence in China’s universities: “There seems to be something on the news about universities every day, from roommates killing each other to girls being molested..”

“If China doesn’t care more about mental health education, then I am afraid what’s next. Our society already is a bit messed up…”, one netizen says.

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What’s on Weibo previously reported about China’s dorm life problems. In many of China’s university dorms, the poor living conditions and full rooms can lead to altercations amongst dorm students. Because there often is a lack of campus counseling and no available alternative housing, there can be extreme tension buildup amongst roommates. Small irritations can lead to deadly arguments.

“In universities nowadays, anything can lead to conflict. For example, in the afternoons, some students want to play a game in their dorm, while others want to sleep, and others want to watch a comedy show. In the evenings, while some people want to sleep, others want to sing. Who can stand this? Everything happens for a reason. But university students shouldn’t be so selfish and should learn to respect others. Their dorm is not their house,” one netizen writes.

According to China’s University Student’s Essential Website (大学生必备网), the dorm rooms at Kunming University of Science and Technology are generally shared between 4 or 8 persons, with every person paying 1200 RMB per year (±182US$) for the 4-person rooms, and 400 RMB per year (±60US$) for the 8-person rooms.

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Over the past few years, there have been many incidents in Chinese dorms that ended up with people being killed by their fellow dorm students. A sum-up of a few of these cases:

• 2004: Student Ma Jiajue at Yunnan University kills four roommates with a hammer because he thought “they looked down upon him”.
• 2013: Student Huang Yang (黄洋) dies after the common water cooler was purposely poisoned at Fudan University. The student guilty of murdering Huang was sentenced to death in 2015. The two male students shared a dorm room and did not get along.
• 2013: A student is stabbed to death by his dorm roommate at Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University after a quarrel.
• 2013: A Nanhang Jincheng College student is stabbed to death by his roommate with a fruit knife after an argument broke out between the two young men.
• 2016 (March): A student from Sichuan Normal University is killed and beheaded in his dormitory by his roommate.

Many netizens blame the recent Kunming dorm murder on China’s education and dorm system, but there are also those saying that it is a global phenomenon: “This incident cannot just be traced back to China’s faltering education system, that would be too much. Many say that foreign education is good, yet they also still have campus violence and massacres. It’s too simple to say people’s personality is formed by education, as there are many factors influencing them, and nobody’s perfect. No matter if you live in the West or in the East, our societies all have problems we need to sort out, and this process influences everybody.”

News about dorm violence has become so commonplace that the topic “how to avoid getting murdered in your dorm room” (如何避免在宿舍被杀) has now become a point of discussion amongst Chinese netizens.

– 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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China and Covid19

Announced Changes in Nucleic Acid Testing and Further Easing of Covid Measures Across China

Bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate.

Manya Koetse

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On Monday, directly after that noteworthy unrest-filled weekend, the hashtag “Multiple Locations Announce Nucleic Acid Testing Changes” (#多地核酸检测通知发生变化#) went trending on Chinese social media, receiving over 660 million clicks by Monday evening.

Immediately following demonstrations in Beijing and a second night of protests in Shanghai and elsewhere, various Chinese media reported how different areas across the country are introducing changes to their current Covid19 testing measures.

On Wednesday, November 30, China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan made remarks at a meeting on epidemic prevention, underlining the importance of “constantly optimizing” China’s Covid-19 response and talking about a “new stage and mission” – without ever mentioning “zero Covid.”

This is what we know about easing Covid measures thus far:

▶ Strict lockdowns have been lifted in Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

▶ On November 28, Guangzhou announced that people who do not actively participate in social life will no longer need to participate in continuous nucleic acid screening. This includes elderly people who stay indoors for long periods of time, students who take online classes, and those who work from home. The change will apply to residents in seven districts, including Haizhu, Panyu, Tianhe, and Baiyun (#广州7区无社会面活动者可不参加全员核酸#).

▶ Guangzhou, according to Reuters, also scrapped a rule that only people with a negative COVID test can buy fever medication over the counter.

Harbin will follow the example of Guangzhou, and will also allow people who are mostly based at home to skip nucleic acid test screenings.

▶ Same goes for Shenyang, and Taiyuan.

▶ In Chongqing, various districts have done widespread Covid testing campaigns, but the local authorities announced that those communities that have not had a positive Covid case over the past five days do not need to participate in nucleic acid screening anymore. This means an end to district-wide testing.

▶ On November 30, Beijing also announced that it will start exempting some people from frequent Covid testing, including those elderly residents who are bound to home and other people who do not go out and have social interactions. This also includes younger students who are following classes online.

▶ Starting from December 5, bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate (announced on December 2nd).

▶ Although not officially announced, there have been various social media posts and reports about Covid-positive people in Beijing being allowed to quarantine at home if they meet conditions.

Chengdu Metro announced on December 2nd that it will no longer check passengers’ nucleic acid test reports. Passengers still need to scan their travel code and those with a green code can enter. Other public places will reportedly also start to accept the ‘green code’ only without a time limit on nucleic acid testing.

Tianjin metro announced that the 72-hour nucleic acid certificate check will be also be canceled for passengers on the Tianjin metro lines. As in other places, people will still need to wear proper face masks and undergo temperature checks.

▶ In Hangzhou, except for at special places such as nursing homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools, people’s nucleic acid tests will no longer be checked in public transportation and other public places. They will also stop checking people’s Venue Codes (场所码).

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China History

Mourning Jiang Zemin, Weibo Turns Black and White

Since the rise of Chinese social media, Jiang Zemin became a recurring part of Chinese memes.

Manya Koetse

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Following the announcement that Jiang Zemin (江泽民), the former president of the PRC, has passed away, various Chinese online platforms have turned into ‘grey’ mode as a sign of mourning. Jiang Zemin died due to leukemia and organ failure. He was 96 years old.

Besides Weibo, the home page of major Chinese websites such as Baidu, Sogou, Taobao, Alipay, Xinhua, People’s Daily, The Paper, and many others all turned into black-and-white mourning mode on Wednesday.

Bilibili turns into grey mode on November 30.

Search engine Sogou also in black and white mode.

On Weibo, one post about Jiang Zemin’s passing received a staggering one million reposts and over two million ‘likes.’ The hashtag “Comrade Jiang Zemin Passed Away at the Age of 96 in Shanghai” (#江泽民同志在上海逝世享年96岁#) had received over 2,5 billion clicks by Wednesday night.

Jiang Zemin was appointed as President of the People’s Republic of China in 1993. In the years before, the former Shanghai Party chief already held official positions as the chairman of the Central Military Affairs Commission and general secretary of the Party. In 2003, Jiang Zemin retired and was replaced by Hu Jintao (Sullivan 2012).

Since the rise of Chinese social media, Jiang became a recurring part of Chinese memes. Jiang had created a wide group of online fans, who are commonly referred to as ‘toad worshippers’ as the online phenomenon of ‘worshipping’ Jiang Zemin is called mo ha (膜蛤), ‘toad worship’ (Fang 2020, 38). The entire phenomenon has become its own subculture that is called ‘mo ha culture’ (móhá wénhuà, 膜蛤文化).

What started as a joke – nicknaming Jiang a ‘toad’ due to his big glasses, signature pants, and wide smile, – became an actual online movement of people who were appreciative of Jiang Zemin.

They loved him, not only because the former leader spoke many languages and other talents, and because of his unique appearance, but mainly because he was not scared to show his emotions, was very expressive, and good at telling stories.

One famous example of this, is when Jiang Zemin got upset with a Hong Kong journalist in 2000 and told them off using three languages (link to video, also here). The much-repeated quote “too young, too simple, sometimes naive” comes from this noteworthy moment as Jiang told journalists that they still had a lot to learn, whereas he had gone through “hundred of battles,” saying “I’ve seen it all.” This also led to Jiang later being called ‘the Elder’ (长者) by netizens.

Another popular Jiang Zemin video is when he met with American journalist Mike Wallace in August of 2000 in Beidaihe. During the interview, the two discussed sensitive topics including the Falun Gong and Tiananmen protests. The interview reportedly was one of the longest ever between an American journalist and a Chinese head of state (watch here).

A study by Kecheng Fang (2020) about ‘China’s toad worship culture’ suggests that for many online fans of Jiang, the cult around him is apolitical, playful, and part of a shared digital cultural tradition.

For some, however, it does hold some political meaning to ‘worship’ Jiang, who only became a popular online meme around 2014, after Xi Jinping took power as a conservative strongman who is not as emotionally expressive. Fang describes how one meme creator said: “We couldn’t express our criticism through normal channels, so we turned to other indrect ways, including lauding Jiang’s personality and characteristics in various ways” (2020, 45).

Although Jiang became popular among younger Chinese on online platforms over the past decade, he was not necessarily that popular at the time of his leadership, and opinions vary on the legacy he leaves behind. Jiang continuously pushed for reform and opening-up after Deng Xiaoping’s rule.

As summarized by Foreign Policy, Jiang oversaw two crucial transitions that shaped and improved the lives of the people of China: “First, he peacefully guided his country out of the shadow of China’s founding revolutionaries, who had spent decades purging one another and at times caused great pain and sorrow for everyone else. Second, although hesitant at first, Jiang came to embrace the market economy.”

As various places across China have seen unrest and protests over the past few days, the announcement of Jiang’s death comes at a sensitive time.

Many on Chinese social media are burning virtual candles in memory of Jiang Zemin today. “I will fondly recall your style and manners,” some say.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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References:

Fang, Kecheng. 2020. “Turning a communist party leader into an internet meme: the political and apolitical aspects of China’s toad worship culture.” Information, Communication & Society, 23 (1): 38-58.

Sullivan, Lawrence R. 2012. Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Communist Party. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press. See page: 3-43, 208.

 

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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.

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