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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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“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.”

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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.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

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China and Covid19

Fangcang Forever: China’s Temporary Covid19 Makeshift Hospitals To Become Permanent

China’s temporary ‘Fangcang’ shelter hospitals are here to stay.

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A new term has been added to China’s pandemic lexicon today: Permanent Fangcang Hospital. Although China’s ‘Fangcang’ shelter hospitals are, by definition, temporary, these healthcare facilities to isolate and treat Covid patients are now becoming a permanent feature of China’s Zero-Covid approach.

Over the past few days, Chinese authorities have emphasized the need for China’s bigger cities to build or renovate existing makeshift Covid hospitals, and turn them into permanent sites.

So-called ‘Fangcang hospitals’ (方舱医院, square cabin hospitals) are large, temporary makeshift shelter hospitals to isolate and treat Covid-19 patients. Fangcang shelter hospitals were first established in China during the Wuhan outbreak as a countermeasure to stop the spread of the virus.

January 5 2022, a Fangcang or Isolation Point with over 1000 separate isolations rooms is constructed in Baqiao District of Xi’an (Image via Renmin Shijue).

They have since become an important part of China’s management of the pandemic and the country’s Zero-Covid policy as a place to isolate and treat people who have tested positive for Covid-19, both asymptomatic and mild-to-moderate symptomatic cases. In this way, the Fangcang hospitals alleviate the pressure on (designated) hospitals, so that they have more beds for patients with serious or severe symptoms.

On May 5th, Chinese state media reported about an important top leadership meeting regarding China’s Covid-19 situation. In this meeting, the Politburo Standing Committee stressed that China would “unswervingly adhere to the general Zero-Covid policy” and that victory over the virus would come with persistence. At the meeting, chaired by Xi Jinping, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee also declared that China would fight against any words or acts that “distort, doubt, or deny” the country’s dynamic Zero-Covid policy.

Life inside one of Shanghai’s Fangcang, photo via UDN.com.

Following the meeting, there have been multiple official reports and statements that provide a peek into China’s ‘zero Covid’ future.

On May 13, China’s National Health Commission called on all provinces to build or renovate city-level Fangcang hospitals, and to make sure they are equipped with electricity, ventilation systems, medical appliances, toilets, and washing facilities (Weibo hashtag ##以地级市为单位建设或者改造方舱医院#).

On May 16, the term ‘Permanent Fangcang Hospital’ (Weibo hashtag #永久性方舱医院) became a trending topic on Weibo after Ma Xiaowei (马晓伟), Minister of China’s National Health Commission, introduced the term in Qiushi (求是), the leading official theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party.

The term is new and is somewhat contradictory as a concept, since ‘Fangcang hospitals’ are actually defined by their temporary nature.

Ma Xiaowei stressed the need for Chinese bigger cities to be ready for the next stage of China’s Covid control. This also includes the need for some central ‘Fangcang’ makeshift hospitals to become permanent ones.

In order to ‘normalize’ the control and monitoring that comes with living in Zero-Covid society, Chinese provincial capitals and bigger cities (more than ten million inhabitants) should do more to improve Covid testing capacities and procedures. Ma proposes that there should be nucleic acid sample collection points across the city within a 15-minute walking distance radius, and testing frequency should be increased to maximize efficient control and prevention.

Cities should be prepared to take in patients for isolation and/or treatment at designated hospitals, centralized isolation sites, and the permanent Fangcang hospitals. The recent Covid outbreak in Shanghai showed that local authorities were unprepared to deal with the outbreak, and sites that were used as Fangcang hospitals often lacked proper facilities, leading to chaotic scenes.

A Fangcang Isolation Center in Quanzhou, March 2022, via People’s Daily.

The hashtag “Permanent Fangcang Hospitals” received over 140 million views on Weibo on Monday.

One of the Weibo threads by state media reporting on the Permanent Fangcang hospitals and the publication by Ma Xiaowei received nearly 2000 comments, yet the comment section only displayed three comments praising the newly announced measures, leaving out the other 1987 comments.

Elsewhere on Weibo, people shared their views on the Permanent Fangcang Hospitals, and most were not very positive – most commenters shared their worries about China’s Covid situation about the stringent measures being a never-ending story.

“We’re normalizing nucleic acid test, we’re introducing permanent fangcang hospitals, [but] why isn’t the third Covid vaccination coming through?” one person wondered.

“If there was still a little bit of passion inside me, it was just killed by reading these words ‘Permanent Fangcang Hospital,'” another commenter writes, with one Weibo user adding: “I feel desperate hearing the words ‘Permanent Fangcang Hospital.'”

“Building permanent Fangcang? Why? Why don’t you use the resources you’re now spending on normalizing testing to create more hospital beds, more medical staff and more medications?”

Another commenter wrote: “China itself is one giant permanent Fangcang hospital.”

“The forever Fangcang are being built,” one Weibo user from Guangdong writes: “This will never end. We’ll be locked up like birds in a cage for our entire life.”

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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:

Featured image via user tongtong [nickname] Weibo.com.

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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China and Covid19

‘Hard Isolation’ is Shanghai’s New Word of the Day

In line with a new ‘hard isolation’ measure, the entrances of some Shanghai residential buildings were fenced up.

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While some Shanghai households have already endured weeks of isolation, a new word was added to their epidemic vocabulary today: ‘hard isolation’ or ‘strong quarantine’ (yìng gélí 硬隔离)

The word popped up on Chinese social media on April 23rd after some Shanghai netizens posted photos of fences being set up around their community building to keep residents from walking out.

“New word: hard isolation. Shanghai is rotten to the core,” one commenter wrote.

The word soon turned into a hashtag page where people started commenting on the issue of fences being placed around residential buildings, voicing concerns on what a fence around buildings would mean for fire safety, especially after online rumors suggested that there had been a fire at one community in Pudong on Saturday night.

An official document regarding the ‘hard isolation’ measure was also shared online on Saturday. It is dated April 23, 2022, and its source is the Pudong New Area Office for Epidemic Control.

The document states that in line with the guidelines for the city’s epidemic prevention and control, the division between areas or zones that are in certain risk categories should be ‘optimized,’ with those in the high-risk category requiring a ‘hard isolation.’ Security guards should also be on duty 24 hours a day at the entrance of the buildings.

Earlier this month, Shanghai adopted “3-level control measures” after its initial phased lockdown. It means that local areas will be classified as “locked-down,” “controlled” or “precautionary,” based on their Covid19 risk.

“Could we also put fences around the homes of Shanghai leaders?”, one person suggested, while others posted images from the Walking Dead to mock the situation.

In the hope of Shanghai soon tackling the Covid situation, not everybody disagreed with the decision to fence some buildings or communities in the Pudong area: “I don’t disagree with it, as long as there is always someone there to open the fence in case of fire,” one person stated.

Although having a fence around their building is currently not a reality for most in Shanghai, the online photos of some communities seeing their buildings being fenced up is a reason to worry for some: “It’s been 40 days, and now they start hard isolation? This actually scares me. Before we know it, it’s June.”

One Weibo user asked: “Why is it possible to implement this hard isolation now? Was this created by the same persons who also implemented the rule to separate children from parents at isolation sites?”

“I truly can’t imagine why some people thought this is a good idea,” others wrote.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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.

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