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More than 140 Feared Buried by Massive Landslide in Maoxian Sichuan

The collapse of a mountain side in the area of Maoxian county in Sichuan has buried homes and people, in what is the most serious landslide the area has seen since the Wenchuan earthquake. At least 141 people are missing and feared buried.

Manya Koetse

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The collapse of a mountain side in the area of Maoxian county in Sichuan has buried homes and people, in what is the most serious landslide the area has seen since the Wenchuan earthquake. At least 141 people are missing and feared to be buried under the debris.

Heavy rains have triggered a landslide in Xinmo village, Maoxian county (茂县), in southwest China’s Sichuan province. The slide of the mountain occurred around 06.00 in the morning local time on June 24. Rescue teams are searching for people, as more than 140 people are feared to be buried alive under the rubble.

The mountain slide has swallowed at least 46 houses in the village of Xinmo, a scenic area that attracts many visitors. According to Wang Yongbo, a local rescue official, an estimated 105 million cubic feet of earth and rock had slid down the mountain, which is comparable to 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

More information / updates will be added to blog below (now closed).

08:53
Xinmo Village: 46 Homes Buried in Landslide

On Weibo, one news blogger posted this before and after picture of the new housing area in Xinmo village. After today’s disastrous landslide, this side of the village is buried in rubble. A total of 46 homes in Xinmo were destroyed by boulders after the side of the mountain collapsed.

09:55
One Family Rescued, One Child Still in the House

A couple and their baby were rescued from the rubble on Saturday, and have been taken to the Maoxian People’s Hospital (茂县人民医院). None have life-threatening injuries. According to Xinhua News, another child of the family remains buried in house.

09:13
Unknown Number of Tourists in the Area

Around 100 tourists are believed to be trapped in the affected area after the disastrous landslide. An estimated 100 persons entered the scenic Maoxian area yesterday. But authorities cannot confirm the exact number of people who left the area and came to the area, because important equipment holding traffic data has been damaged in the landslide, according to Henan News on Weibo.

09:56
Weibo Netizens Share Their Concerns

On Sina Weibo, the Maoxian landslide disaster has become a top trending topic. Thousands of netizens express their sympathy and share their concerns for the people in the area.

A video posted by CCTV on Weibo, was shared over 4800 times within a few hours. “I truly hope there will not be many victims,” one netizen says. “I just hope everyone will be safe and sound,” many people write #四川阿坝山体垮塌#.

10:25
“Don’t Come to the Area”

Several news bloggers on Weibo warn people not to come to the area to help out, since roads have been damaged and many places are inaccessible. Writer Wong Pok says: “Rescue teams have come from Chongqing, Sichuan. In times of these kind of great catastrophes, we trust in our government.”

He also warned people not to share fake news, as many netizens shared a video that shows a landslide and screaming people. That footage is not from today’s landslide in Maoxian, but from a landslide in Kaihua, Quzhou, in 2014.

10:35
Ten Hours After the Landslide

Approximately ten hours after the massive landslide, rescuers are still hunting rocks and debris for survivors. According to the latest news, still more than 120 people are missing, and 62 homes have been buried by the rocks and earth.

The sole people rescued thus far are 3 people of a family; a couple and their baby. Their other child, believed to still be buried in the house, has not yet been found.

A search and rescue team expert told People’s Daily that the probability of still finding survivors in the debris is “very low.”

By Manya Koetse

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

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Insight

“I’m One of 1.4 Billion” Goes Trending as China’s Population Now Tops the 1.4B Number

China’s total population is up, but its birth rate has fallen to the lowest level.

Manya Koetse

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According to the latest numbers, China’s birth rate has hit a new low, but state media are instead highlighting the fact that China’s population has now surpassed 1,4 billion.

This Friday, official data, released annually by the National Bureau of Statistics, shows that the total Chinese mainland’s population has surpassed 1.4 billion at the end of 2019.

In light of this news, Chinese state media outlet People’s Daily launched the hashtag “I’m One of 1.4 Billion” (#我就是14亿分之一#), propagating a sense of unity among such a massive population.

This message was also reiterated by other accounts, such as the Shenzhen Police, that said: “We’re all one big family, our name is China, we have a lot of brothers and sisters.”

China’s Birth Rate Falls to Lowest

While People’s Daily is publicizing the 1.4 billion number, the annual statistics also show that China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Although only 14,65 million were born in mainland China in 2019, the death rate of the country was also lower than before – meaning that the total population number still went up from 1,39 billion to 1,4 billion in the last year.

One thread started by People’s Daily on Weibo received nearly 530,000 likes by Friday afternoon, with thousands of Weibo users posting a response to the latest numbers.

Many netizens responded to the news in a similar fashion, saying: “There are already enough people [in China] now, I don’t need to have children anymore,” or: “Good, there’s so many people, I don’t have to worry about having kids.”

China’s marriage rates hit a new low in 2019 after dropping year by year.

Over recent years, various trends in Chinese (online) media have highlighted the existing social issues behind China’s dropping marriage and birth rates.

The rising costs of living and the fact that many among Chinese younger generations “prefer to marry late,” are often mentioned as an explanation for China’s decline in marriage rates and the interrelated lowering birth rates.

But China’s so-called ‘leftover’ single men have also been pointed out as a “crisis,” with China having millions of more men than women of marriageable age – partly a consequence of the one-child policy and general preference for baby boys.

Although Chinese couples are allowed to have two children since 2015, the new regulations have not had the desired effect, with many couples simply not wanting a second child or not being able to afford it.

For some years, ‘leftover women’ were mentioned as a reason for China’s declining marriage rates; China’s well-educated, career-oriented, urban single women were sometimes singled out for making it harder for China’s unmarried men to find a wife because of their ‘choice’ to postpone marriage and family life. This has increased the pressure on China’s single women to get married, which has become a recurring topic of debate on Chinese social media.

Today’s responses on Weibo seem to indicate that many young people are still not very eager to have children. “Let’s not add to the population, it’s enough burden for the planet,” some say.

Others say the number of 1,4 billion make them or their action seem “irrelevant” and “tiny.”

There are also those with entirely different concerns about the number: “There are 1,4 billion in China now, and yet I’m still not able to find a boyfriend!”

By Manya Koetse
Follow @whatsonweibo

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.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

WeChat’s New Emoji Are Here (Including a Watermelon-Eating and Doge One)

WeChat’s new emoji are based on popular memes.

Manya Koetse

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On January 14, Tencent’s Wechat introduced new emoji to its existing emoji set. The new emoji include, among others, a watermelon-eating emoji and a smiling Shiba Inu.

On Weibo, the new emoji have become a topic of discussion under the hashtags “WeChat’s New Emoji” (#微信上线新表情#), “WeChat’s Watermelon Eating Emoji” (#微信上线吃瓜表情#), and “WeChat’s Dog Emoji” (#微信上线狗头表情#).

Different from the Unicode emoji (see Emojipedia), WeChat and Weibo have their own sets of emoji, although there is overlap.

The reason why especially the watermelon-eating and dog emoji are being discussed on social media, is because these emoji are based on popular internet memes.

“Eating watermelon” (吃瓜 chī guā) is an online expression that comes from “watermelon-eating masses” (吃瓜群众 chī guā qúnzhòng), which describes a common mentality of Internet users who have no idea what is actually going on but are still commenting or following online stories for their enjoyment – perhaps comparable to the “popcorn memes” that are ubiquitous on Western social media platforms.

The smiling dog has been around since 2013 and is known as the doge meme, based on a photo of a Shiba inu. The meme was originally spread on social media platforms such as Reddit, but then also became hugely popular in China, where it became a symbol of sarcasm (also read this Abacus article on this topic).

Other new emoji are the “wow” emoji, and others to express “ok,” “add oil,” “emm,” “oh!”

There’s also a “shehui shehui” (社会社会, lit. “society society”) emoji, which also comes from online culture and is a way among friends to (self-mockingly) talk about being ‘gangsters,’ ‘brothers.’ or ‘scoundrels.’

As the new emoji are still in their testing phase, not all WeChat users can use the new emoji yet, so you might have to wait a bit before being able to try them out.

By Manya Koetse, with thanks to @caaatchina
Follow @whatsonweibo

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.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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