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China Memes & Viral

How a Boy Duped by Hair Salon Became the 2018 Internet Sensation

The footage of the awkwardly smiling and disillusioned teenager unravelled an endless stream of memes. Little did the teenager know that a few weeks after the incident, he would be the face of advertisement campaigns all over the country.

Gabi Verberg

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What was supposed to be a quick visit to the hairdresser turned into a disaster when the 18-year-old Wu Zhengqiang (吴正强) was presented with a 40,000 yuan ($5795) bill and a bad haircut. For Chinese social media users, the story became a source of countless memes this year.

Looking back at Chinese social media in 2018, one unexpected internet celebrity is at the center of one of the most meme-worthy stories of the year, reaching over 470 million views on Weibo.

It all started earlier this year, when Wu Zhengqiang (吴正强), an 18-year-old teenager, walked into a salon in Hangzhou to get himself a haircut. It looked like it was going to be a great day when he was offered a special hair and skin treatment for “free” – until the bill came.

Before the treatment was finished, the boy was surrounded by several people and was presented with a paper he was asked to sign. Only after the treatment was finished, Wu found out that he had given his approval to a staggering bill of 39,600 yuan ($5756).

Wu, who only makes a little less than 3000 yuan a month ($435) as a real estate agent, was not willing to pay the bill. When the salon employees refused to let him pay 480 yuan ($70), the original price on their price-list, Wu reported the incident to the police. In the end, Wu paid the shop a total of 2500 yuan ($363) instead.

But as time passed, Wu got increasingly annoyed about the whole incident. Not only did he feel robbed of his money, he also found his freshly plucked eyebrows looking even worse than before the treatment. So, he reached out to a local Hangzhou tv station to share his grievances (footage below).

The interview soon attracted the attention on Chinese social media, where most commenters did not focus on the story of the struggling teenager, but instead focused on Wu’s strangely shaved-up hairline, his thick characteristic eyebrows, the disillusion in his eyes, and his nervous smile – it all turned out the be the perfect ingredients for an endless stream of funny memes.

The hashtag “Hairline-boy expressions” received over 470 million views on Weibo, featuring many memes in which people captured feelings such as “I feel terrible wronged,” “Smile gradually disappearing,” “I’m puzzled,” and “Excuse me.”

But the popularity of the teenager reached further than just netizens using his face for memes; Wu soon appeared on several tv-shows including one of China’s most popular variety shows Happy Camp. He also starred in several commercials, making his face well-recognized all over the country.

Also, Wu’s personal Weibo account received thousands of new fans in his rise to fame. At time of writing, his Weibo page reached little over 400,000 followers.

How Wu’s career will further develop is hard to say. However, when Wu is asked what he will do when his popularity has faded away, he coolly answers: “I’ll just work.”

By Gabi Verberg

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Gabi Verberg is a Business graduate from the University of Amsterdam who has worked and studied in Shanghai and Beijing. She now lives in Amsterdam and works as a part-time translator, with a particular interest in Chinese modern culture and politics.

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China Memes & Viral

Dancing Schoolgirl from Xi’an Becomes Viral Hit

This 10-year-old girl from Xi’an is taking over the internet with her boyish looks, confidence, and cool moves.

Manya Koetse

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A 10-year-old schoolgirl from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, has become a viral hit on Chinese social media for her bold dance moves.

The girl, who is named Zhang Xinran (张忻然), became instantly famous this week when a video showing her dancing in the classroom on April 24 spread on social media. The girl’s strong moves, short haircut, and confidence attracted the attention of netizens on Douyin and beyond.

On Weibo, one page dedicated to the topic received over 120 million views over the past few days.

According to Xinran’s mother, the young girl has been confident ever since she was little. Xinran also models and previously walked the catwalk in children’s fashion shows. Xinran is active on Douyin (TikTok), where she’s had an account since 2017.

Although many people online are raving about the young girl’s star quality, there are also those who worry that her sudden rise to online fame could do her more harm than good. Stories of children who went viral on social media do not always end well, as the recent example of the ‘Little Jack Ma’ shows. Some also think that Xiran’s dance moves are “inappropriate.”

Nevertheless, many people are hoping to see Xinran perform on stage. “She is so confident and natural,” some say: “I would definitely buy a ticket to see her perform. “This girl is cool.”

Other people comment on the fact that the girl has short hair. “I was ridiculed at school for having short hair,” one female Weibo user writes: “It’s good to see these esthetics are changing and are more diversified now.”

In 2005, ‘Supergirl’ Li Yuchun was one of the first female pop stars in China to become famous for her boyish appearance, which was a major part of her success. Li was often called ‘handsome’ rather than ‘pretty.’

Many people are now also calling the little Xiran a ‘handsome girl.’

By Manya Koetse

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©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 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.

Manya Koetse

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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

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

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