Connect with us

China Insight

Mass Sex Attacks in Europe: Chinese Social Media Reactions

News of the mass sex assaults during New Year’s in Cologne and others cities has shocked people across Europe. Chinese media extensively covered the attacks and their aftermath, leading to many reactions on Weibo and other social media platforms in China.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

News of the mass sex assaults during New Year’s in Cologne and others cities has shocked people across Europe. Chinese media extensively covered the attacks and their aftermath, leading to many reactions on Weibo and other social media platforms in China.

On New Year’s Eve, an estimated thousand men assaulted, raped and robbed dozens of women around Cologne’s train station. The men were   said to have a North African and Arab appearance. News of the mass sexual assault made the headlines days after it took place. Similar incidents, on a smaller scale, have also been reported in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

07d8bc3eb13533fa46e46136afd3fd1f41345b5c

The Cologne police initially filed a report saying that New Year’s Eve had “passed off peacefully”. It was later reported that city police had identified suspects who harassed women on the night of December 31st, but that they did not want to publicize it because of its “politically awkward” nature, since some were asylum seekers (Deutsche Welle). On January 11, it also became known that Swedish police covered up mass sex assaults by mostly migrant youths at a music festival earlier in 2015.

As reports on the New Year attacks are still coming in, Cologne police stated on Saturday that the number of reported violence cases in the city had reached 379. On Monday it had risen to 516.

The sex attacks have launched a heated public debate in Germany over immigration and refugees, pressuring Merkel, who has instituted the country’s open-door migrant policy. Women’s rights activists, Islam critics and left-wing counter-protesters demonstrated in Cologne on Saturday. Clashes with the riot police led to a number of arrests.

2a9b033b5bb5c9ea798cf1fbd239b6003af3b3af

On China’s social media platform Sina Weibo, news account Weitianxia reported on Saturday that 31 suspects linked to the mass assaults are currently under investigation and that more than half of them are refugees (德国调查31名科隆大规模性侵案嫌犯 其中过半数为难民).

“This group of men apparently is strong and vigorous enough to rape women, but not to fight for their own country,” one netizen responds to the news. Another one says: “You’ve led the wolf into the house.”

A female netizen called Lin Maomao writes: “I have lived in Germany for so long (..), and I am quite pleased with the public security and morals in this country. Hearing about the public robberies and assaults in Cologne, I feel that every nationality is in charge of its own image. Don’t talk about political correctness – respect and discrimination are responses to one’s own behaviour.”

Swiss model and artist Milo Moire, who protested near the Cologne cathedral on January 8, was also discussed on Weibo. Moire held up a banner saying “Respect us! We are no fair game, even when we are naked!”

52fac0fajw1ezvutr57nkj20zp1wktrz

“I really admire this woman’s courage,” says an account named ‘Impressions of Germany‘ on Weibo: “She moved people by enduring the cold like this for ten minutes. If German’s politicians would follow in her footsteps, they could really have the power to influence people.”

Sun Jin, a ‘Germany expert’ and professor at Beijing Normal University (9445 followers), writes on his Weibo account: “The Cologne sexual harassment of New Year’s Eve has made people see that there is actually no freedom of speech in Germany. According to reports, German criminology expert Pfeiffer agreed to a television interview about the matter, and was told by the public television director that he was not allowed to talk about refugees, or else they would immediately be cut off. Previously, the Cologne police chief tried to conceal that the suspects were refugees who had just arrived in Germany. In Germany, it is a political taboo to speak about foreigners committing crimes – whoever criticizes it is right-wing.”

9f22223agw1ezulg35ktwj20i40i4jum

One netizen comments on this post: “Sweden has done elaborate studies on how the crime rate amongst East Asian immigrants is lower than those of their own people, and that those of Muslim immigrants is much higher than the average. Similarly, in Germany, the percentage of Muslims in prisons is relatively very high. Why the hell should other foreigners be made the scapegoat for them? It is only right to report people’s ethnicity and religion!”

“How about we don’t call them “refugees” but call them “the honored Arabic guests invited by Merkel” – would that be ok?” another netizen responds.

On different other message boards, netizens are also discussing the events in Cologne. People generally react with disbelief to the sex attacks and their aftermath: “Germany is doing good by giving them shelter, why would they commit crimes there? Isn’t this a conspiracy theory to expel them?” one netizen on Baidu wonders. Others seem to have little sympathy for the Germans, and say: “You have made your bed, now lie on it.”

Writer Zhan Hao (807941 followers) writes: “Merkel is facing tough challenges, with some serious back pressure. Now Merkel can only hope that Germany will not have a terrorist attack like in Paris, otherwise it will be difficult for her to stay in office.”

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
6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Cassius

    January 19, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Don’t worry China when we say foreigner we do not mean Asians. We know which foreigners are the ones causing trouble and which are the ones whom are very welcomed and respected.

  2. Avatar

    Steve

    January 19, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Let’s hope the Chinese will never make the same mistake and leave these muslim savages in. Muslims will never integrate. Europe is doomed and civil unrest is looming; I am saying this as a European myself.

    • Avatar

      Lando

      January 19, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Say what you want about the Chinese, but if there’s anything to be admired about them it’s that they don’t buy into the political correctness scam. I think the globalists have their work cut out for them if (or rather when) they decide it’s China’s turn.

  3. Avatar

    Tibetan

    January 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    What goes around comes around for Syria, Iraq and Libya.

    Good, rape these cracker hoes whites all look like girls anyway.

    • Avatar

      Shinkai Nakazawa

      January 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Hahahaha I agree

      I think its great that America is letting my country(Japan) restore our military and plutonium storage which allows us develop hidden underground nukes and ICBMs. These are finally moving in our favor when America tries to use us against Russia and China.

      Trust me, as soon as my country sees a chance and sees a crises happen, were gonna finally nuclear holocaust these white satanic devils.

      Westerners actually think that my great samurai race forgot revenge and honor when it is enveloped into the psyche of every Japanese. However, its best to lie low until before the US retarded government realize
      my countrymen’s real thoughts.

      • Avatar

        mil92xi

        January 31, 2016 at 9:31 pm

        I think you are forgetting how many countries are more powerful than Japan and would absolutely obliterate it. Japan is a weak, alcoholic country with aging/dying society. And whenever it tries to become strong, China will just remove you from the face of earth. Chinese did not forget savage crimes.

        “Nuclear holocaust”… Lol, Japan has 0 nukes, China, USA, India, Russia all have thousands.
        Dream on, little nazi man, dream on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

China Brands & Marketing

About Lipstick King’s Comeback and His ‘Mysterious’ Disappearance

After Li Jiaqi’s return to livestreaming, the ‘tank cake incident’ has become the elephant in the room on social media.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Earlier this week, the return of China’s famous livestreamer Li Jiaqi, also known as the ‘Lipstick King’, became a hot topic on Chinese social media where his three-month ‘disappearance’ from the social commerce scene triggered online discussions.

He is known as Austin Li, Lipstick King, or Lipstick Brother, but most of all he is known as one of China’s most successful e-commerce livestreaming hosts.

After being offline for over 100 days, Li Jiaqi (李佳琦) finally came back and did a livestreaming session on September 20th, attracting over 60 million viewers and selling over $17 million in products.

The 30-year-old beauty influencer, a former L’Oreal beauty consultant, rose to fame in 2017 after he became a successful livestreamer focusing on lipstick and other beauty products.

Li broke several records during his live streaming career. In 2018, he broke the Guinness World Record for “the most lipstick applications in 30 seconds.” He once sold 15000 lipsticks in 5 minutes, and also managed to apply 380 different lipsticks in another seven-hour live stream session. Li made international headlines in 2021 when he sold $1.9 billion in goods during a 12-hour-long promotion livestream for Alibaba’s shopping festival.

But during a Taobao livestream on June 3rd of this year, something peculiar happened. After Li Jiaqi and his co-host introduced an interestingly shaped chocolate cake – which seemed to resemble a tank, – a male assistant in the back mentioned something about the sound of shooting coming from a tank (“坦克突突”).

Although Li Jiaqi and the others laughed about the comment, Li also seemed a bit unsure and the woman next to him then said: “Stay tuned for 23:00 to see if Li Jiaqi and I will still be in this position.”

The session then suddenly stopped, and at 23:38 that night Li wrote on Weibo that the channel was experiencing some “technical problems.”

But those “technical problems” lasted, and Li did not come back. His June 3rd post about the technical problems would be the last one on his Weibo account for the months to come.

The ‘cake tank incident’ (坦克蛋糕事件) occurred on the night before June 4, the 33rd anniversary of the violent crackdown of the Tiananmen student demonstrations. The iconic image of the so-called ‘tank man‘ blocking the tanks at Tiananmen has become world famous and is censored on China’s internet. The control of information flows is especially strict before and on June 4, making Li’s ‘tank cake incident’ all the more controversial.

But no official media nor the official Li Jiaqi accounts acknowledged the tank cake incident, and his absence remained unexplained. Meanwhile, there was a silent acknowledgment among netizens that the reason Li was not coming online anymore was related to the ‘tank cake incident.’

During Li’s long hiatus, fans flocked to his Weibo page where they left thousands of messages.

“I’m afraid people have been plotting against you,” many commenters wrote, suggesting that the cake was deliberately introduced by someone else during the livestream as a way to commemorate June 4.

Many fans also expressed their appreciation of Li, saying how watching his streams helped them cope with depression or cheered them up during hard times. “What would we do without you?” some wrote. Even after 80 days without Li Jiaqi’s livestreams, people still commented: “I am waiting for you every day.”

On September 21st, Li Jiaqi finally – and somewhat quietly – returned and some people said they were moved to see their lipstick hero return to the livestream scene.

Although many were overjoyed with Li’s return, it also triggered more conversations on why he had disappeared and what happened to him during the 3+ months of absence. “He talked about a sensitive topic,” one commenter said when a Weibo user asked about Li’s disappearance.

One self-media accountpublished a video titled “Li Jiaqi has returned.” The voiceover repeatedly asks why Li would have disappeared and even speculates about what might have caused it, without once mentioning the tank cake.

“This cracks me up,” one commenter wrote: “On the outside we all know what’s going on, on the inside there’s no information whatsoever.”

“It’s tacit mutual understanding,” some wrote. “It’s the elephant in the room,” others said.

Some people, however, did not care about discussing Li’s disappearance at all anymore and just expressed joy about seeing him again: “It’s like seeing a good friend after being apart for a long time.”

By Manya Koetse 

Elements in the featured image by @karishea and @kaffeebart.

 

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

Backgrounder

More Than Just a Visit: Explaining the Chinese ‘Cuànfǎng’

‘Cuànfǎng’ became a popular word on Chinese social media and in official Chinese discourse this year. But what is it?

Jin Luo

Published

on

By

Since Pelosi’s stopover in Taiwan, the word ‘cuànfǎng’ has been all over Chinese social media to refer to this controversial visit. But ‘cuànfǎng’ is more than just ‘visiting’ alone. Jin Luo explains.

It was a sleepless night for many Chinese people when U.S. House Speaker Pelosi flew to Taiwan on August 2nd of 2022. A new Chinese word created in recent years, cuànfǎng (窜访) appeared in the official statement that was issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry at 11 pm that night, and subsequently it appeared all over social media.

Meanwhile, a pop song released more than 30 years ago titled “Tonight, Are You Coming or Not” (“今夜你会不会来”) suddenly became a Weibo hot topic before it was taken offline. What is this word lost in translation, and why did people suddenly get nostalgic over an old romantic song?

 
Cuànfǎng: A ‘Sneaky Visit’
 

Here is the original wording in Chinese and the official translation to English from the statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the evening on 2 August:

In disregard of China’s strong opposition and diplomatic discontent, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited China’s Taiwan region” (“美国国会众议长佩洛西不顾中方强烈反对和严正交涉,窜访中国台湾地区.”) The word ‘visited’ in Chinese that is used here is “cuànfǎng” 窜访.

While the English verb “visit” is a neutral word by itself, the Chinese “cuànfǎng” 窜访 has much stronger connotations. According to the Wiktionary, the word is a derogatory, officialese way to say “to visit.” But it is not an easy word to translate, as there is no direct equivalent in English, and both the literal and implied meaning of the word need to be understood.

Cuànfǎng is actually a compound word: cuàn 窜 refers to fleeing, escaping, hiding, or running away; fǎng 访 refers to inquiring, seeking, or visiting.

Cuan as a compound character (Sohu).

To make matters more complicated, cuàn by itself is also a compound character. It is written as ‘竄’ in traditional Chinese: the top radical ‘穴’ means ‘hole,’ and the lower part is the character ‘鼠’ which means ‘mouse.’ The character, having the shape of a mouse hiding in a hole, therefore has the meaning of ‘hiding’ and ‘escaping.’

The origins of the character ‘cuan’ explained, image via Sohu.com.

The mouse or rat is an animal that is more often associated with negative things in Chinese culture. They are often considered sneaky, dirty, running around everywhere, and able to reproduce quickly. With mice so often carrying a negative association, cuàn ‘窜’ also refers to a kind of hiding and escaping that is negative or objectionable.

The second character fǎng 访 is a neutral word that simply means “to visit.”

At the New York Times, Chris Buckley captured the underlying meaning of this word in writing: “The Chinese word used in the official statements for ‘visit’ — cuanfang — connotes a sneaky or illicit encounter, not an aboveboard meeting.”

 
The Evolution of Cuànfǎng
 

Although it is a relatively new word, cuànfǎng already existed before the Pelosi incident and was not created in light of this controversial visit.

Since the word’s first appearance, translators have had some difficulties in properly translating the term into different languages.

Research papers in translation studies and international relations in China suggested that cuànfǎng is a “new derogatory term invented in recent years, specifically for the purpose of maintaining national security and unity, and condemning and exposing the national separatists” and “demonstrated the big wisdom of Chinese diplomatic discourse users; vividly described the image of the separatists, that they go on the run sneakily, just like thieves and mice” (source, in Chinese).

Other sources interpret it as “the unjust, improper visit conducted in order to reach hidden political agenda, to agitate and peddle the separatist ideas,” and:

1. You went somewhere where you were not supposed to go;
2. The visit was not accepted or welcomed by the (Chinese) government;
3. The purpose is to shake justice and create conflicts
” (source, in Chinese).

Cuàn was mainly meant to add an emotional aspect to the term and shows the contempt of the person who uses it.

Image via Wainao.

The word was first prominently used in Chinese official discourse when the Foreign Ministry in 2006 referred to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Israel. Since cuàn has the meaning of fleeing, it is especially suitable when referring to political dissidents who went into exile overseas.

Since then, it has been used again for further visits of the Dalai Lama to other countries (US 2014, Mongolia 2017), as well as for Rebiya Kadeer, Lee Teng-hui, Shinzo Abe, Joshua Wong, and others.

Although it is clear that the term is not only applied to Chinese dissidents, it is generally applied to those who conducted visits that were perceived to be hostile towards China, with Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit serving as a clear example.

Since the Dalai Lama has been living outside of China and conducted numerous visits to other countries, cuànfǎng was previously mostly used in this context until Pelosi’s visit, which ended up being good for more than 80% of the search results of cuànfǎng on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.

If cuànfǎng is a word with such strong emotional connotations, why was it simply translated as “visit” in official English-language documents? Some say it is because of the mere difficulty to translate this word, while others say it is the routine sanitization of English translations by the Foreign Ministry.

David Gitter, president of the Center for Advanced China Research based in Washington D.C., said that the external goal of Beijing can be different from the internal goal towards the nationalist domestic audiences, and that “more accurate yet counterproductive translations … [often] breach normal diplomatic language.”

At this point, it remains up for debate whether this is a linguistic constraint or a political choice.

 
Tonight, Are You Coming or Not?
 

While the term cuànfǎng has been widely used in official discourse, it has also become a popular online word. Chinese netizens seemed to be as passionate as the Chinese Foreign Ministry – and perhaps even more so –  in condemning Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and demanding radical countermeasures.

Chinese netizens were watching the entire event unfold with mixed feelings – on the one hand, there was a strong sense of patriotism and anger, on the other hand, the massive attention to the event also turned it into something that was almost as exciting as a celebrity drama.

On that specific evening of Pelosi’s nearing arrival in Taipei, Chinese netizens were doing two things: watching real-time tracking of Pelosi’s flight, and listening to a classic pop song released in 1991 titled “Tonight, Are You Coming or Not” (今夜你会不会来) (video). Back in the previous century, Hong Kong singer Leon Lai expressed the emotions of someone waiting for his lover to arrive in this melodic song, singing:

“你是否愿意为我停留

Would you be willing to stay for me

今夜你来告诉我

Tonight, you tell me

你是否愿意陪我走过我的梦

Are you willing to accompany me through my dream?

我的所有

My everything

(Chorus)

今夜你会不会来

Tonight, are you coming or not?

你的爱还在不在

Is your love still there or not?

如果你的心已经离开

If your heart has left already

我宁愿没有未来

I would rather not have a future

今夜你会不会来

Tonight, are you coming or not?

你的爱还在不在

Is your love still there or not?

别让我所有的等待

Don’t let all my wait

变成一片空白

Go all in vain

 

In the middle of the uncertainty about whether Pelosi would come to Taiwan or not, this song served as entertainment for netizens and became a “collective carnival” of people jokingly applying the song to Pelosi, turning her into a ‘mysterious lover’ that might or might not show up. (Later, some were unable to play the song anymore, although it remains unclear if this was due to geographic restrictions or because the song was actually taken offline by censors.)

“Taiwan has been preparing for your cuànfǎng ‘sneaky visit’, are you coming or not tonight?” some netizens wrote, combining the title song with the cuànfǎng term. In doing so, Pelosi became both a ‘sneaky mouse’ and ‘mysterious lover’, both a target of condemnation and subject of fun and banter.

All jokes and cuànfǎng references aside, Pelosi did end up realizing that visit, and its aftermath, including a second Taiwan visit by a U.S. congressional delegation, has had a substantial impact on U.S.-China relations that were already strained before the move.

Will there be more cuànfǎng to Taiwan? It’s likely not an issue of if, but when. For next time, at least we’ve got cuànfǎng covered.

 

By Jin Luo 

Featured image by Alexa from Pixabay

 

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