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Crime in China

The Real Deal: Xinjiang Anti-Drug Campaign Video Goes Viral

Some people suggest the actor in Xinjiang’s latest anti-drug video campaign deserves an Oscar for his drug dealer role.

Manya Koetse



An anti-drug campaign released by Xinjiang authorities has become a trending topic on Chinese social media after different major Chinese official media outlets such as People’s Daily posted the video on their social channels.

One of the main reasons why the video has gone trending is not because of the strong anti-drug message it conveys, but due to the acting skills of the featured anti-drug ambassador. Many people say they would immediately believe he truly is a drug dealer.

Some people actually think he is so convincing as a drug dealer, that he is less convincing as an actual anti-drug ambassador.

“He’s a better actor than many actors we know,” some said, with others praising the ‘drug-dealer’ actor for having “such temperament, such aura.”

One hashtag related to the video, initiated by the Sichuan media account Sichan Guancha (@四川观察), is titled “Xinjiang Anti-Drug Ambassador Doesn’t Look Like [He’s] Acting” (#新疆禁毒形象大使不像演的#), and it received over 350 million clicks on Weibo on Thursday, becoming one of the top trending topics of the day.

In the video (link), we first see a man sitting in a dark room looking straight into the camera and, with a low voice, saying:

I am a ruthless drug dealer, but I will never tell you. I’ve recently tried out a new routine again and again.”

In the next scene, we see the same man, dressed in a black coat and wearing a black beanie hat, in a coffee bar. While he is about to give a woman standing next to him a piece of candy, he again stares into the camera and says:

Of course, I won’t tell you I’ll disguise the Methaqualone as candy for you. We also call it “Fode” (佛得). After taking it, it can trigger severe coma and lethal respiratory failure. The minimum lethal dose is just 2-10 grams..”

The video then goes on to show the man sitting down on a sofa next to another lady, about to hand her a bottle of pills:

I also won’t tell you that these little tablets are actually Triazolam, a strong tranquilizer. Taking it can result in quick coma – it’s forty to hundred times stronger than Diazepam [Valium].

The next scene shows the man stepping up to a woman in what seems to be a book shop or library, and just before handing her a piece of jelly, he turns to the camera and says:

I also surely will not tell you that I’ve mixed Methcathinone psychoactive substances with jelly. It can lead to violent behavior, and heavy doses can lead to death due to heart failure.

In the final scene, the man is back in the dark room and seems to snort something before turning back to the camera, saying:

Oh, and don’t send this video to your friends and family. Otherwise, my tactics won’t work..”

“We would almost report him!” some official media accounts wrote about the video.

In recent years, Xinjiang authorities have stepped up their anti-drug publicity campaigns. Besides their social media campaigns, the Xinjiang Anti Drug Office also carries out anti-drug campaigns at schools.

The main actor, who is now a social media hit, appears in multiple videos issued by the Xinjiang authorities (here’s another one).

Some people joke about praising the actor for his acting skills: “I don’t know the difference between the drug lord and the actor anymore.”

“You can only play [the role] this well if you’ve seen a lot of drug dealers,” some commenters suggested.

In light of the actor almost being more popular now than the message the video propagates, many people want to know who he is and what his background is.

“Isn’t he a veteran actor?” some wonder: “What’s his name?”

Although it is not reported at this point who the actor is, some people think he is not a professional but is part of the local anti-drug office team.

It is not uncommon for local anti-drug teams to be creative in their campaigns. In 2020, Hainan’s anti-drug police force published a video of themselves covering Jay Chou’s “Mojito” (link).

Some commenters even suggested that the Xinjiang and Hainan forces join hands in making a new production.

Another campaign that was less popular was one that took place in Guangdong in 2018, when ten households in a local village were publicly shamed by having the words “Drug Crimes in Family” sprayed on their walls or doors (link). Compared to those kinds of publicity campaigns, this Xinjiang one is definitely more popular among Chinese netizens: “He might be a drug lord, but I just think he’s really handsome.”

By Manya Koetse 


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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 Local News

“Scared to Intervene”: Local Celebrity ‘Bag-Clutching Brother’ Stabbed to Death during Square Dancing

In a shocking incident caught on camera, a well-known Songyuan resident nicknamed “Brother Clutch Bag” was tragically stabbed to death. On Weibo, people react with disbelief.

Manya Koetse



In a stabbing incident caught on camera by bystanders, a man locally known as “Bag-Clutching Brother” (夹包哥) was killed in the city of Songyuan in China’s Jilin province on June 30.

The incident occurred around 19:00 at Bodune Square in the city’s Ningjiang District, where people often gather for square dancing.

One familiar face on the square was the 54-year-old Mr. Zhao, who became well-known locally for his eccentric square dancing while clutching a bag, earning him the nickname “Jiabaoge” (夹包哥), meaning “Bag-Clutching Brother” or “Brother Clutch Bag.” As a devoted “dancing king,” he had become somewhat of a local celebrity, and he also posted videos online of his dancing at the square.

“Brother Clutch Bag” had become somewhat of a local celebrity due to his personality, dancing style, and clutched bag.

Square dancing is common across Chinese cities. It’s when local residents, usually older and retired residents, meet at a public park or plaza in the mornings or evenings to perform synchronized dance routines together or improvise own dances while playing loud music.

On Sunday, a night of careless dancing abruptly transformed into a horrifying stabbing incident.

Footage circulating online shows Mr. Zhao dancing in the square before being approached by a man in a black t-shirt, who first bumps into him and then suddenly starts stabbing him while dozens of people stand by.

Moments later, Mr. Zhao can be seen lying on the floor in a puddle of blood while still being attacked by the man. Bystanders do not seem to have intervened at this point.

On July 2nd, the police released more information about the incident. The attacker, a 53-year-old man, has been detained. He had reportedly been drinking and did not personally know the victim, but apparently was triggered by his dancing and a moment of eye contact.

On Weibo, the topic went trending. “It’s terrifying!” one commenter wrote: “He just stabbed him like that in front of everyone, and so many people were watching.” “I’m speechless,” others said.

“Looking at the video, people just stand around without running away or saving him,” one person observed.

According to one account, a bystander who also knew Mr. Zhao said he wanted to help but was scared to intervene, fearing he might be implicated if the police ruled it a “mutual fight” (互殴) instead of justified defense (正当防卫).

One Toutiao blogger responded: “I’m sorry that for us ordinary people, these terms [justified defense vs mutual fight] have clouded our ability to judge. From the initial ‘whoever hits first is responsible’ to ‘it’s ruled justifiable defense once you’re hurt,’ and now to the so-called ‘mutual fight,’ determining who is responsible is entirely up to ‘them.’ As a result, people have become numb and fearful.”

“So many people were at the scene. If just one person had gone up and kicked him, they could have stopped it. But instead, all those people just looked on helplessly and watched him get stabbed to death. My God.”

Many other commenters on Weibo made similar remarks: “All these men standing around, was there not one of them who could have stopped it?”

The problem of bystanders not intervening has been a long-discussed issue in China. Some say it is related to a cultural attitude of “mind your own business” or “shaoguanxianshi” (少管闲事), where people are accustomed to remaining uninvolved when it does not concern them.

This attitude is often more pronounced in situations involving an altercation between a man and a woman, as people may feel it is a private issue. A notable example is the 2016 incident where a woman was attacked near a Beijing hotel without anyone stepping in to help.

While there might be specific Chinese social, cultural, and legal reasons why people are scared or hesitant to step in when someone needs help, the ‘bystander effect’ is a worldwide phenomenon. This effect describes the tendency for people not to help a victim in need when (many) other people are present.

It is a social psychological matter: the more people who witness a person in peril, the less likely it is that any one of them will intervene as they feel it is not their responsibility to do so. In other words, a person is more likely to help in an emergency situation when they are alone than when there are ten people standing by.

But on Chinese social media platforms, many discussing the tragic death of “Bag-Clutching Brother” believe that people in society today are just too self-centered: “Everyone stands in silence because the person on the floor isn’t them.”

Amidst this sentiment, the Chinese woman Hu Youping (胡友平) is seen as a ‘selfless heroine.’ The school bus attendant was recently praised by Chinese authorities and state media for her bravery in protecting a Japanese mother and child during a stabbing incident at a school bus stop in Suzhou, ultimately sacrificing her own life.

Meanwhile, Mr. Zhao, his clutched bag, and eccentric moves are now gaining nationwide fame after news of his death spread online. As people are visiting his Douyin account and old videos, they wish him a peaceful journey to the afterlife. “I’m sorry I got to know you like this, rest in peace, Brother Clutch Bag.”

By Manya Koetse

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©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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China Military

“Taking Down a Tiger”: Li Shangfu Expelled from the Party

Li Shangfu allegedly “took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and received large sums of money.

Manya Koetse



On June 27, the news that Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu (李尚福, 1958) had been expelled from the Communist Party became a top trending topic on Chinese social media.

Within two days, the hashtag “Li Shangfu Expelled from the Party” (#李尚福被开除党籍#) had garnered over 490 million views on Weibo.

Li, a Chinese aerospace engineer, served as the Minister of National Defense and as State Councillor of China from March to October 2023. He had been under investigation for corruption since 2023.

On June 27, Chinese state media issued a press release stating that Li Shangfu was expelled from the Party. The report detailed:

“It has been found that Li Shangfu severely violated political discipline, failed to fulfill his political responsibilities to comprehensively and strictly govern the Party, and resisted organizational examination. He severely violated organizational discipline by seeking personal benefits for himself and others. He took advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and received large sums of money, and he is suspected of accepting bribes. More evidence of Li Shangfu’s serious disciplinary violations and legal problems were also discovered during the investigation.”

“As a high-level leading cadre within the Party and military, Li Shangfu abandoned his original mission, lost his Party principles, and his actions severely betrayed the confidence and great trust placed in him by the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission. He severely polluted the political environment in the military equipment field and industry, causing enormous damage to the Party’s cause, national defense, military construction, and the image of senior leadership, with an extremely serious nature, extremely bad influence, and particularly huge harm.”

Among the top replies to a post of this press release on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, one Chinese netizen commented: “Taking down a tiger.”

Notably, news also emerged on Thursday that the Party had expelled former defense minister Wei Fenghe (魏凤和) for serious violations of Party discipline and the law.

“Eradicating such people is not a loss to the Party, but a victory,” another Weibo commenter wrote.

Punishing both “tigers” and “flies” (influential leaders and minor officials) is part of Xi Jinping’s fight against corruption. Although the anti-corruption drive was already important before Xi Jinping’s rise to power, the campaign has become a central pillar of his tenure, with China’s battle against corruption setting new records.

In 2014, the arrest of China’s former national security chief Zhou Yongkang (周永康) demonstrated President Xi Jinping’s determination to crack down on high-level corruption. That same year, General Xu Caihou (徐才厚) became another target in Xi Jinping’s war on corruption. The former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission was the highest-ranked PLA military officer ever to be implicated in corruption following Bo Xilai’s arrest in 2012.

They were not the only “tigers” brought down. Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄), former vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, was expelled from the Communist Party and sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for bribery.

Other high-profile cases include the former vice chairman of China’s top political advisory body Su Rong (苏荣); former Hu Jintao aide Ling Jihua (令计划); former Chinese politician and senior regional official Sun Zhengcai (孙政才); and former senior official Wang Min (王珉). All were found guilty of bribery and sentenced to life in prison.

Although the fight against corruption campaign is generally applauded by the people, it remains a sensitive topic, leaving little room for open discussion on social media. One post about Li Shangfu’s expulsion received over 8,400 comments, but only 25 of them were visible at the time of writing.

By Manya Koetse

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.

©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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