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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 Insight

The ‘Two Sessions’ Suggestions: Six Proposals Raising Online Discussions

These are some of the proposals that triggered online discussion during China’s annual Two Sessions.

Manya Koetse



The ‘Two Sessions’ (liǎnghuì 两会), China’s annual parliamentary meetings, are always a significant topic on Chinese social media. This year, the second session of China’s 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opened at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 4th and will continue until March 10.

The annual gathering of the NPC and CPPCC is a major political event closely watched by both domestic and foreign media as it outlines policy priorities for the upcoming year. The 2023 Two Sessions garnered considerable attention as it marked the first full sessions since the end of the Covid pandemic and the 20th Party Congress.

This year, the ‘Lianghui’ holds particular significance due to China’s post-pandemic economic challenges, including the prolonged downturn in the real estate market, lower demand for Chinese exports worldwide, and reduced confidence among consumers and businesses.

On Chinese social media, smaller topics that emerge during the Two Sessions are often more likely to become trending topics than the broader themes. Besides the fact that the Two Sessions are an important moment because they offer a glimpse into China’s strategical direction, it’s also important because it is a time when delegates from across the country can make their voices heard by elite leaders.

The proposals and “suggestions” (建议) raised by National People’s Congress delegates often turn into trending topics on Chinese social media. In previous years, for example, a proposal to prohibit single women from freezing their eggs in order to encourage them to “marry and reproduce at the appropriate age” raised discussions on Weibo. Another controversial proposal was about shortening the education period as a means to promote China’s birth rates.

This year, there are a few new proposals that received considerable attention online.


#1 Improving Paid Annual Leave



One suggestion that went trending concerned the improvement of China’s paid annual leave system. The proposal was raised by Hong Kong businessman and politician Kenneth Fok (霍启刚). Fok argues that paid time off should be increased as a way to boost domestic tourism and consumption and “increase people’s sense of happiness.”

Although mainland China already has regulations regarding working hours and paid annual leave, they are often not strictly implemented. Fok therefore not only advocates that there should be an increase in entitled leave days for employees, but also that these policies should be enforced more strictly.

Fok’s suggestion is to gradually extend paid annual leave days according to the duration of employment. Employees who have worked at a Chinese company for more than 1 year but less than 10 years would get 5 days off for the first two years, then an extra day each year, up to a maximum of 10 days. In the current system, employees with 1-10 years’ tenure get 5 days off. Only after 10 years, it is increased and becomes 10 days.

One Weibo post by Fok about the proposal received over 67,000 likes. While many young workers support the idea of getting one or more extra days off, some also indicate that changing their working hours is more important to them than getting an extra day off. China’s overtime work culture has been a contentious topic of discussion for years.


#2 Less Focus on Undergraduate Degrees



A second proposal that gained significant attention on Weibo this week was presented by National People’s Congress delegate Pan Fusheng (潘复生). Pan, an academic, argues that in China’s current academic and labor environment, there is excessive emphasis placed on the very first college educational background of applicants. When their first diploma was obtained in non-prestigious universities or colleges, they are often disqualified.

Pan suggests that it is unjust for the entire career trajectory of graduate students and job seekers to be determined solely by the evaluation of their undergraduate degree by potential employers. He therefore proposes to get rid of the graduate degree assessment as a primary criterion in the admission and employment processes for applicants. This also means that graduates from certain prestigious schools, such as Tsinghua or Peking University, should not be favored over others.

Although people do agree that there is unfairness and bias in how applicants are assessed based on their first educational degree, some commenters also remark that this is a social issue, not a legal one.


#3 Supporting Fertility Treatment for Older Women



At this year’s Two Sessions, there were multiple proposals jointly submitted by various delegates or groups. Among them is a proposal to provide more fertility treatment options for older women and female cancer patients who are experiencing infertility or have difficulties conceiving.

The proposal, put forward by the National Health Commission and the All-China Women’s Federation, suggests that improving and standardizing fertility treatment procedures is of “strategic importance” to help boost China’s falling birth rates and improving the overall population health.

This proposal raised some discussions online, as many see this as another way for authorities to make women’s fertility and child raising a political issue. Others wonder why the focus is always on on women’s reproductive capabilities instead of focusing on enhancing male fertility.


#4 Harsher Punishment for Online Influencers



National People’s Congress delegate Geng Funeng (耿福能) proposes that China’s online influencers, whether they are celebrities or e-commerce stars, should face harsher penalties for involvement in illegal activities.

Geng argues that various incidents involving online influencers and livestreamers in recent years have set a wrong example. To deter others, those engaging in illegal acts, from tax evasion to slander, should be severely punished.

Furthermore, Geng suggests establishing an “Online Celebrity Industry Association” (网红行业协会) to establish clearer norms and rules for those operating within China’s booming internet economy.

However, a thread on Weibo by Chinese news outlet The Paper (澎湃新闻) indicates that Geng’s proposal is not particularly popular among commenters. “They should increase the punishment for civil servants engaging in illegal behavior instead,” one top comment said.


#5 More Protection for Elderly Migrant Workers



National People’s Congress delegate Yang Juan (杨娟) has proposed improving policies and data systems to better assist and protect the first generation of Chinese migrant workers.

China is home to approximately 300 million migrant workers who have migrated from rural areas to larger cities in pursuit of better job opportunities. However, due to China’s household registration system, known as the hukou system, they often lack access to various urban public services.

Premier Li Qiang also highlighted the need to enhance social benefits for Chinese migrant workers in the government work report during the Two Sessions in the government work report delivered on March 5th.

Yang Juan’s proposal specifically addresses the challenges faced by elderly migrant workers who were among the first to migrate from rural areas to cities. They now encounter difficulties due to the lack of social safety nets, especially when it comes to healthcare and pensions. One way Yang aims to assist them is by establishing clearer data systems to identify the first generation of migrant workers who are not covered by insurance.

On Weibo, this proposal received a lot of praise since many people feel this is a relevant issue and that Yang is serving as a voice for those vulnerable groups at the lowest rung of society.


#6 Criminal Liability for Owners of Biting Dogs



With his proposal, delegate Tuo Qingming (庹庆明) has addressed a sensitive issue that has repeatedly made headlines in China over the past year: the problem of biting incidents involving people’s pet dogs.

Tuo suggests that dog owners should be held criminally responsible if their dog bites, and that this responsibility should be explicitly incorporated into the Criminal Law Amendment.

Various dog biting incidents have recently captured attention in China. While many believe there should be more legislation to prevent such incidents, as they cause significant harm to victims, there is also debate surrounding local crackdowns on dogs, as they are sometimes viewed as unnecessarily cruel.

There is also disagreement in the comment sections regarding this proposal, although the majority of people do agree that there should be better regulation to manage the problem of aggressive dogs. In current dog biting incidents, owners often compensate victims, but it’s considered a civil issue – they usually do not face legal consequences. Some Weibo commenters suggest that dog owners will be more careful in restraining their dogs once they also bear criminal liability.

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 Travel

Olympic Swimming Fu Yuanhui Gets Help via Weibo Following Taxi Scam

Olympic champion Fu Yuanhui, known for her ‘mystical powers,’ turned to social media when she faced a tourist scam.

Manya Koetse



“We hired a car and now we’re being extorted. Halfway through, they wanted us to pay more to buy tickets; we disagreed, so now the driver won’t continue driving. What should I do? Should I call the police?”

This was the plea for help that Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui (傅园慧) posted on Weibo on Saturday morning, February 17. The popular athlete informed her followers that she was around the Changbai Mountain Scenic Area, a popular winter tourist destination in China’s Jilin Province, when her driver suddenly demanded more money from her.

Shortly after posting about her predicament, Fu Yuanhui sent out an update: “Thank you all for following, the Jilin Ministry of Culture and Tourism swiftly stepped in, the problem is already solved now. Thanks everyone.”

Following these posts, Fu Yuanhui and the Changbai incident quickly went trending on Weibo, where many people commented that her situation was only resolved so quickly because she is famous.

Fu Yuanhui became a Chinese internet sensation eight years ago, after her performance and interviews during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. When talking to reporters, Fu was excited, positive, and refreshingly honest. She introduced the popular phrase “mystical powers” (洪荒之力, literally: power strong enough to change the universe) when explaining that she was swimming extra fast because she was “using all ‘mystical powers'” (read more). She also went viral for expressing genuine delight upon discovering she had won a bronze medal, and for disclosing that she did not swim very well another time because she was on her period.

Fu Yuanhui charmed Chinese audiences after her disarming interviews during the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Following her Olympic success, Fu gained many fans on social media. On Weibo, she has over 7 million followers.

It is clear that her fame and relatively large following played a role in how fast her issue was resolved. Not only did the local authorities step in, the driver who extorted her reportedly was also quickly punished for his actions and received a 30,000 yuan fine (US$4215). A related hashtag, published by state media outlet CCTV, went viral and received over 130 million views on Weibo (#对傅园慧加价黑车司机被罚3万元#).

While most are glad to see the driver get punished so soon, many commenters argue that it’s unfair for someone like Fu Yuanhui to receive swift assistance while many ordinary travelers across China facing scams during this holiday season struggle to get the help they need.

On February 16, a Chinese family of five was kicked off a tour bus during their trip in Lijiang, Yunnan, because they had refused to purchase a bracelet worth 50,000 yuan ($7,025) as instructed by their tour guide during a visit to a jade shop. This incident also went viral on Weibo (#一家人旅游未买5万手镯被赶下车#, 130 million views), sparking outrage over local travel scams and the perceived inaction of tourism authorities.

A significant factor in these discussions is how Chinese local tourism authorities have been ramping up their marketing efforts following the pandemic and China’s zero-Covid policy. Seeking to attract more domestic tourists, they’ve been exploring new strategies to promote their hometowns, particularly among younger generations. Since early 2023, various tourism bureau chiefs from across China have gone viral on platforms like Weibo, Douyin, and beyond for their innovative social media campaigns.

The marketing success of certain destinations, such as ‘BBQ town’ Zibo, has also inspired other cities or regions throughout China to go all out in presenting their best side. Some of them, such as Harbin, have succeeded in becoming yet another holiday hit.

While these kind of campaigns are generally applauded, many believe that actions speak louder than words. They argue that besides focusing on social media campaigns, local tourism authorities should do more to protect common travelers against scams, rip-offs, and fraud.

“What will you do next time this happens?” many ask, and: “what should normal people without a big social media following do when this happens to them?”

“Fu Yuanhui is a public figure, which is why this case was resolved. For regular people, nothing would happen – we don’t get heard,” another person wrote.

While many criticize Jilin authorities for aiding Fu Yuanhui without effectively addressing tourist scams, most people don’t blame Fu Yuanhui at all for seeking the help she needed. “After all,” one commenter wrote, “She does have mystical powers.”

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Ruixin Zhang

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