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Love and Sex in China

Italian Murder Case: Chinese ‘Comrade’ Suffocated and Stuffed in Suitcase by Ex-Lover

A Chinese man was reportedly suffocated in the Italian city of Modena. His remains were found in a suitcase under his bed.

Manya Koetse



A gruesome murder case is making headlines in China after the remains of a Chinese man have been found stuffed in a suitcase. The suspect is the victim’s 17-year-old Chinese ex-boyfriend.

A 20-year-old ethnically Chinese man named Hu Congliang (胡聪亮) has been reportedly murdered in Modena, a city in Northern Italy, on November 26.

On Weibo, the news was published by, China’s leading online LGBT news platform with the headline: “Ethnic Chinese ‘Comrade’ Harmed in Italy.” The Chinese word ‘comrade’ (同志) is also slang for homosexuals.

Danlan reports that Italian police have questioned and detained five Chinese minors in relation to the murder, and that among them, a 17-year-old man is the main suspect in suffocating and killing Hu Congliang. He used to be in a relationship with the victim.

Hu Congliang lived in Italy together with his parents, who were both working there.

According to the Straits Times, the 17-year-old suspect previously tried to break up with Hu, who then refused and allegedly threatened his boyfriend to publicise intimate photos he had of him.

The underage suspect then went to Hu’s residence with four friends, where they allegedly suffocated him with a pillow and put his remains in a suitcase under the bed. As they left they told Hu’s mother, who was present in the house, that her son had left earlier.

Italian local media reported that the mother found her son’s remains a couple of hours later.

Murder cases involving (ethnically) Chinese in foreign countries often make headlines in China. Earlier this year, the brutal murder of two Chinese sisters in Japan also set social media abuzz.

Another case, in which a Chinese woman was reportedly killed by the ex-boyfriend of her roommate in Japan is still receiving a lot of media attention in China. The suspect, a 25-year-old Chinese exchange student, is to be put on trial in December.

By Manya Koetse

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of 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 Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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China Memes & Viral

Innocent Fight or Gaslighting Problem? Couple’s Argument Over a Bowl of Noodles Goes Viral

As the video of a fight over a bowl of noodles went viral, thousands of netizens turned into armchair therapists and advised the couple to break up.

Manya Koetse



Why did a private argument between a Chinese couple over an unappetizing bowl of noodles at a local noodle shop attract over 300 million views and thousands of comments? The video unexpectedly led Chinese netizens to analyze the toxic dynamics within the couple’s relationship.

A video showing a woman and her partner arguing over a bowl of noodles has gone completely viral on Chinese social this week, with one hashtag about the topic attracting over 160 million clicks on Weibo (#女生因为吃面崩溃#).

One thread about the topic received over one million likes and more than 30,000 comments and shares on Weibo, and the video went viral on China’s Douyin (TikTok).

The video shows the moment a woman loses it because her partner criticizes her for complaining about the food at a local noodle shop. The couple apparently had to wait half an hour for their 15 yuan ($2.20) noodle dish. When it finally arrived, it did not taste good at all, and the woman proceeded to complain about it to the noodle shop owner.

Her partner, however, felt that they were “losing face” over a small issue and walked off. If your noodles aren’t tasty, you just leave and find another place instead, he argued.

The video, allegedly recorded in Anhui’s Hefei, is just 1,5 minutes long and shows the discussion between the woman and her partner as they are seated in the car after the incident happened. The woman is clearly very upset about her partner blaming her for embarrassing them – she feels she has every right to complain about a dish that smells and tastes funny and is very emotional about her partner not supporting her.

The video went viral for various reasons. The very fact that a private argument between a couple was posted online for everyone to see is one of the reasons, but it goes further than that.

According to some views, the partner posted the video online to show the behavior of his wife and get people to side with him, but instead many saw a red flag in his behavior: this was not about a bowl of noodles anymore, but about the man making his partner think that her normal behavior was completely out of line.

This is why many blame the man for “gaslighting” his partner. The word in Chinese is “méiqì dēng xiàoyìng” (煤气灯效应), “gaslight effect,” and refers to a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting is a psychological method in which a person – often a romantic partner – repeatedly questions or denies the victim’s reality, leading them to doubt their own perceptions and experiences. As a result, the victim becomes confused and agitated, feeling as though they are wrong or at fault for situations that they are not responsible for. This can cause significant distress and erode the victim’s self-confidence and sense of identity, which then might cause them to stay in a relationship that is actually toxic.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 American film Gaslight, which was previously a play, in which a husband manipulates his wife into believing she is mentally unwell by causing the gas lights in their home to flicker on and off, and then denying that anything is wrong with them.

On Weibo and Douyin, hundreds of commenters pointed out that the man was gaslighting his wife, especially because her extreme emotional response showed that his accusations greatly confused and upset her – suggesting this might happen more often. Others called this a case of cyberbullying, and they advised the woman to separate from her husband. Some bloggers recorded entire videos as armchair therapists, analyzing the incident from start to finish.

Meanwhile, some commenters wonder if the entire video might have been staged for clout.

It is not uncommon for small, private affairs among unknown people to go viral like this. Last year, an individual female blogger posting about her upcoming trip to West Africa went completely viral after she stopped updating her blogs and netizens feared she had been abducted.

The issue grew so big that even the Chinese Consultate in Nigeria responded to the issue (#大使馆回应周周在西非已失联#) and said they would look into the matter. The girl later posted she was doing ok.

Another example of an individual post becoming trending nationwide happened in 2016 when a Shanghai girl was so disappointed about what her boyfriend’s parents served her for Chinese New Year, that she ended her relationship because of it.

Stories such as these often gain so much attention because parts of the story resonate with netizens and trigger wider discussions about morals, emotions, and people’s relationships.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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Part of the featured image was created by M. W.

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China Insight

Writings on the Wall: Removing China’s One-Child Policy Propaganda

While there are more efforts to erase old propaganda slogans, some people don’t understand the rush: “It’s ingrained in our memories already.”

Manya Koetse



For decades, slogans written on walls all across China propagandized the country’s one-child policy.

In many places, especially in rural areas, these old slogans withstood the test of time and are still visible on brick walls or roadside signs.

Image via The Observer on Weibo @观察者网

China implemented its one-child policy in 1979, which lasted until the ‘two-child policy’ was introduced in 2016.

Especially in China’s rural areas, wall propaganda was an important way to disseminate the country’s one-child policy.

This year, these old propaganda slogans have been getting more attention in Chinese media. In February, Health Times (健康时报) noted how this kind of propaganda was still visible in many places in China, from Hebei to Gansu, from Shanxi to Hunan, despite their messages being completely outdated.

While the messages emphasize that it is better to have one child and that couples should not have a second or third child, Chinese authorities are now encouraging couples to have more than one child due to the country’s falling birthrates (see our recent article here).

The propaganda from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, therefore, is not just outdated, it also goes against everything the government is currently promoting to citizens.

Image via Weibo user @冰霜里的火焰瓶.

These are some examples of well-known or common one-child policy propaganda slogans:

■ 超生者倾家荡产 Chāoshēngzhě qīng jiā dàng chǎn
“Those who have more children than allowed will lose a family fortune.”

■ 少生优生,幸福一生 Shǎo shēng yōushēng, xìngfú yīshēng
“Give birth to fewer but better [healthier] children, and you will have a happy life.”

■ 晚婚晚育,少生优生 Wǎnhūn wǎnyù, shǎo shēng yōushēng
“Late marriage and late childbearing, fewer and better births”

■ 一人超生,全村结扎 Yīrén chāoshēng, quán cūn jiézā
“One person bears one more child, and the whole village gets their tubes tied”

■ 宁可血流成河不可多生一个 Nìngkě xuè liú chénghé bùkě duō shēng yīgè
“Rather blood flowing like streams than have an extra child”

Image via Weibo user @冰霜里的火焰瓶.

In the article “Wall Slogans: the Communication of China’s Family Planning Policy in Rural Areas” by Guoyan Wang, the author notes how many of these ubiquitous slogans – especially the shocking ones – were “obvious misinterpretations” of China’s official family planning policy – locally widely used, but not part of the central slogans. Instead of giving warning or providing information, these bloody slogans actually provoked people’s antipathy and resistance instead of (p. 102, 2018).

Nevertheless, they lasted for years and became a “mirror of social times” (p. 99).

According to Wang, the campaign to clean up these slogans already started in 2007, long before the end of the one-child policy, because the National Population and Family Planning Commission wanted to get rid of those slogan that were not “people-oriented” (p. 105-106).

While getting rid of non-official slogans was already part of China’s “family planning efforts in the new age” in 2007, it is all the more important now in a time when China moved away from the one-child policy and also allows couples to have three children – or even more.

“Fewer and better births are good for the country and the people.” Image via Btime.

On Weibo, where the topic of the old slogans being removed was discussed under various hashtags (#计划生育宣传语应及时清理#, #多地清理计划生育过时宣传语#), some people think the slogans should not be removed because they have historical value or that they should be preserved in other ways.

Cleaning up old propaganda, image via Netease/Weibo @搜狐新闻.

Removing old propaganda posters or info boards, image via Sanlian Weekly 三联生活周刊.

“It does not matter [if they remove them or not],” another commenter wrote: “They’ve already become ingrained in our minds.”

“Is removing them like pretending it never happened?” others wondered: “Why the rush?”

By Manya Koetse 

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Wang, Guoyan. 2018. “Wall Slogans: the Communication of China’s Family Planning Policy in Rural Areas.” Rural History 29 (1): 99-112.

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.

©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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