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Suspect in Chinese Stewardess Didi Chuxing Murder Case “Jumped into River”

The murder on the 21-year-old flight attendant has raised concerns among netizens on the safety of car-hailing app Didi.

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The number one trending topic on Chinese social media on Thursday night (Beijing time) is the murder of a Chinese stewardess by a driver of the Didi Chuxing car-hailing app. The hashtag “Stewardess Didi Murder” (#空姐滴滴打车遇害#) received 110 million views at time of writing.

The 21-year-old Lucky Air flight attendant Li Mingzhu (李明珠) was killed in the early morning of May 6th after she had arranged a ride through Didi, China’s popular Uber-like car-hailing app, and was on her way home from Zhengzhou Airport in Henan province.

Unable to contact their daughter, Li’s family reported her missing on the afternoon of May 7. Her body was discovered by local police the following day.

According to Global Times (report since removed), police confirmed that the woman was killed by the driver with a weapon, but was still at large. Didi Chuxing issued an apology for Li’s death, and said they had “incumbent responsibility.”

Chinese news site Sixth Tone reports that a friend of Li had received messages from her while she was on her way home, saying that her driver was “acting strange” and was telling her that he was “tempted to kiss her.”

The car-hailing company also offered a reward of up to 1 million yuan [US$160,000] for people providing tips on the suspect’s whereabouts. The company issued a photo of the suspect, a 27-year-old male named Liu Zhenhua, on social media platform Weibo.

In a Beijing News interview with the victim’s father on May 10, it was disclosed that Li’s body was found half naked, with over 20 stab wounds.

According to new reports on Thursday night, research teams have found that Didi driver Liu abandoned his car shortly after the murder and then jumped into a nearby river. Police is now searching the area.

For many people in China, the Didi car-hailing app is part of their everyday travel life. In 2017, the company completed 7.43 billion rides for approximately 450 million users in more than 400 cities.

Li Mingzhu’s death has raised public concerns over the safety of the company. Although drivers need to have real-name registration, they can also register an account with another person’s car, as long as the car owner agrees.

“Didi, you need to increase the security level over your drivers!”, some commenters say on Weibo, while others say they are now “afraid to hail a Didi car.”

“I hope that tomorrow’s news will tell me the driver has drowned,” one netizen wrote.

Update: Netease reports on May 11 that a body has been recovered from the water. Further investigation will have to confirm if it is indeed the suspect.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Chauncey Jung

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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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. winona

    May 13, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    fk. companies that hire employees who have unsupervised power over customers need to have rigorous mental examinations. this is a sobering wake up call to remind you that you really can’t trust anyone.

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China Arts & Entertainment

Living the Dream: Chinese Architect Designs Stunning Six-Story Communal Living Space

This architect from Guangzhou turned her dream of living together with friends in a creative workspace into reality. The building is a hit on Chinese social media.

Gabi Verberg

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While living together with your best friends in one big house might be a dream of many people, this Chinese architect turned the idea into reality by transforming an old factory into a modern museum-like work- and living space. Through her work, the architect aims to change views on China’s urban living spaces.

Guangzhou architect “Michelle” (米歇尔 or Mi Xiao 米笑) and most of her friends work in creative industries. A few years ago, they found that their work and lifestyle required a more flexible and multi-purpose living space; a place where they could live and work together as a small community while also showcasing what they do.

In 2012, the six friends found a workshop in an old abandoned sugar factory, built in the 1950s, located in Guangzhou’s Panyu district. More than five years later, they had succeeded in transforming it into a modern six-story work- and living space.

news story and a video of the building are now attracting major attention on Chinese social media. On Weibo, the hashtag “Six Friends Transform a Building” (#6个好友改造一栋楼#) has been viewed more than 250 million times.

The communal living space, that has been named Boundless Community (无界社区), covers about 1500 square meter and has six completely separate rooms. Originally, the building was made up of only three stories, each with a ceiling height of six to nine meters high.

With the reconstruction of the building, the architect reportedly “wanted to break with the traditional urban types of dwellings,” where many people live behind locked doors in small spaces. Michelle intended to design the space as a small “village,” where people share their living space.

At the same time, the space also allows people to be creative and share their work with the outside world. All of these ideas resulted in a transparent “museum building.”

The building itself is almost like a museum by allowing people from outside to look into the various studios.

The popular architect is not the only one who is in favor of sharing a living space with her friends. A recent poll on Weibo shows that more than 90% of respondents would also like to live together with their friends; only 10% of the people prefer privacy over a communal living space with good friends.

 

“This is my dream!”, many commenters say, with others calling it “simply magical.”

To read more about changing attitudes on home and living in China, also check out this article by What’s on Weibo. 

By Gabi Verberg

Images via https://sjz.news.fang.com/open/31234746.html.

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

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Local News

Weibo Mourns Passing of Forbidden City’s “Most Beloved” Cat Little Zai’er

The “royal” stray cats of the Forbidden City have never been more popular than in 2018. This week, news of the death of Palace Museum cat Zai’er received over 300 million views on social media.

Gabi Verberg

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After the death of Forbidden City celebrity cat Baidian earlier this year, Palace Museum staff and millions of netizens are again mourning over the death of another cat, China’s most beloved “royal cat” Little Zai’er (小崽儿).

The massive outpouring of grief over the recent death of the popular Palace Museum cat Little Zai’er shows that Weibo’s “animal craze” is reaching new heights.

Staff from the Palace Museum, housed in the Forbidden City, run a Weibo account where they frequently share updates on the adventures and wellbeing of some of the cats living within the walls of the Museum.

Photo posted on Weibo by @花花与三猫CatLive.

Earlier this month, the staff of the Palace Museum first noted that the beloved ‘Little Zai’er’ was missing. On Sunday the 16th of December, they wrote that the remains of the cat were found in a remote corner somewhere in the Forbidden City. According to sources, the ten-year-old Little Zai’er died of natural causes.

The death of Little Zai’er received great attention on Chinese social media. The hashtag “Forbidden City little Zai’er passed away” (#故宫小崽儿走了#) received over 300 million views, with thousands of people commenting on the sad news, posting photos or stories of their encounters with the cat.

One Weibo blogger, @花花与三猫CatLive, who had the opportunity to shoot photo’s with Xia’er, wrote: “I wanted to tell you, If I’d had the chance I would come and see you and bring you a snack. I wish you have a good time in kitty heaven”

Photo posted on Weibo by @花花与三猫CatLive.

Another Weibo user going by the name ‘Catbrother’ commented: “Every time I went to the Forbidden City I specially went to the Treasure Hall to see this Cat. He was always so good, surrounded by people taking his picture, calmly sunbathing. The news of his passing makes me so sad.”

Yet another girl posted a photo of herself on Weibo with a young Little Zai’er. Above the picture, it reads: “Farewell Little Zai’er.”

Photo by Weibo user @zoe啊喂.

Many say this particular cat has become popular to his approachability and cuteness. Little Zai’er lived in the Forbidden City for nearly a decade, and throughout the years, has been photographed by many. The cat even made an appearance in the television show The New Palace Museum (上新了故宫), that is currently airing on Beijing Satellite TV.

Many stray cats live in and around the Palace Museum, and they even have some historical significance; cats have lived there ever since the complex was built in the 15th century. They also serve a practical purpose: the cats have played an important role in protecting the museum’s precious antiques and relics from damage done by rats and mice.

For more about this topic and another super popular Palace Museum cat, check out our previous article Paws at the Palace Museum.

The tremendous attention for the death of Little Zai’er on social media makes is one of the hottest hashtags on Weibo in 2018. For a list of the other most trending topics on social media in China in 2018, check our Trends of 2018 article here.

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

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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