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The ‘Zhenlouqi’ Floor Shaker: The Chinese Noise Machine to Take Revenge on Your Noisy Upstairs Neighbors

Noisy upstairs neighbors? The zhenlouqi is a way more effective revenge than hitting your broom against the ceiling.

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How to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors? Some Chinese e-commerce sellers say they have found the solution for you: get back at them by making their floors vibrate! The zhènlóuqì is marketed as a ‘magical tool’, but in reality, it seems to only make problems worse.

It is called the zhènlóuqì (震楼器), the ‘floor shaker’, a device designed to get back at noisy upstairs neighbours. Over the past weeks, the zhènlóuqì has been popping up more frequently in stories on Chinese social media.

Due to various local Covid-related lockdowns across China over the past weeks, many people have again been spending a lot of time at home. For those living in residential apartments, neighbors making noise can be a real nuisance – especially if it is the upstairs neighbors who can leave you feeling powerless and annoyed with their heavy walking, stomping, pushing chairs, or loud music.

To put an end to the suffering of downstairs neighbors, there is the ‘floor shaker’ (also called ‘vibration motor’ 振动马达), an electrical device that can be attached to the ceiling and will drive your upstairs neighbors crazy by creating floor vibrations.

Image by 快资讯new.

The device was first sold on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao in 2015 as a “magical object” to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors and has become more popular over the past few years with many different online stores selling them. Its original intended use is actually not to torment neighbors; electric vibration motors are used in many different industrial applications, including in product quality control and mining operations.

Together with a supporting pole, a small zhènlóuqì can be placed against the ceiling. Once it is turned on (remote control included) the floor above the ceiling will start to shake.

Floor shaker advertisement.

Unsurprisingly, various social media stories and videos prove that the zhènlóuqì is not really the magical device it claims to be, as it often only worsens the relations between neighbors.

One video posted on Weibo recently showed security footage from a residential building where one man angrily came to the door of his downstairs neighbor with a long knife, asking if they had installed a ‘floor shaker.’ The woman at the door then answered that there’s always noise coming from his apartment, with him responding that all they hear every day is the vibrating of the floor shaker. The man’s partner then suddenly appears out of nowhere and the altercation turns into a physical fight.

Another story is that of Mrs. Chen who moved into a new apartment in Hangzhou in 2020 together with her husband, little son and mother-in-law. Although the family was leading a normal life without making a lot of noise, the downstairs neighbor kept complaining about their stomping and the moving of furniture. Although they tried to be as quiet as they could, the downstairs neighbor eventually installed a floor shaker which would be turned on every night from 8 pm to midnight. Besides the fact that the family was bothered by the shaking floor, the noise also stressed them out and affected their sleep.

A floor shaking device being inspected. Image via 163.com.

Although the use of the zhènlóuqì is not necessarily illegal in itself, it does create a noise problem and also might do damage to the structures of the buildings – enough reasons for neighbors to call the police when they think their downstairs neighbors have installed such a device.

This is probably also why zhènlóuqì has now been flagged as a ‘sensitive word’ on Taobao, although the device can still be bought under other names for approximately 168 yuan ($26). The device is often not advertised as ‘taking revenge on neighbors,’ but as an effective method to create a quiet home, picturing a sleeping baby or someone relaxing in bed while the zhènlóuqì is turned on.

Some ‘floor shaker’ models even come with wifi and an app, so users can turn it on via their smartphone and annoy their neighbors – even when they’re not home themselves.

Another ‘magical object’ that recently went viral on Chinese social media is an ‘anti-square-dancing device‘ that helps local residents find some peace and quiet when dancing grannies take over their public squares with loud music.

The device is a remote control that can stop any speaker at a distance of 50-80 meters, leading to much confusion among those dancing on the streets why their music keeps stopping.

Although installing a zhènlóuqì might lead to worsening relations between neighbors, there are many people on Weibo expressing the wish to buy one: “I am lying awake again because of the noise the upstairs lady is making, I really want to buy one!”

With the ‘floor shaker’ becoming more well-known, the threat of buying one hopefully should be enough to make a noisy upstairs neighbor calm down.

For those who feel installing such a device would definitely be too extreme, there is always the classic broom or even a special extendable soft hammer sold on Taobao – which is also much cheaper than the zhènlóuqì– to make your neighbors aware that they are being too loud.

By Manya Koetse

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©2022 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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. L

    February 12, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    My neighbor uses it on me it’s weak it is a waste of money your better off moving t o a house

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China Marketing & Advertising

Stinky Marketing: Chinese Feminine Hygiene Brand Fuyanjie Stirs Controversy with “Dark and Smelly” Ad

Feminine hygiene brand Fuyanjie is caught in a social media storm over its “dark and stinky” marketing campaign.

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‘Insulting’ and ‘unscientific’: Chinese female hygiene brand Fuyanjie has come under fire on social media after suggesting that most men do not want to perform oral sex on women due to the vaginal area being “too dark and too smelly.” Their new product promised a ‘clean, odorless, and pink’ genital area.

The Chinese feminine hygiene brand Fuyanjie (妇炎洁) has caused controversy on Chinese social media this week because of its latest marketing campaign.

The brand recently came out with a new product promotion campaign via its online flagship store. The campaign promoted the pink-colored lotion by claiming that “surveys show that 83% of men from South Korea, Japan, and China are not willing to go down on their partner because it’s too dark and stinky.”

Of course, the brand promised a solution for this alleged widespread bedroom problem. The campaign suggested that Fuyanjie’s lotion will clean the genital area while also lightening darkened vaginal area skin and make it more “pink.”

Besides claiming to make the skin more pink-colored, the campaign also suggested that hyperpigmentation of the genital area can be caused by wearing tight pants and having too much sex.

The brand drew widespread criticism from netizens for being vulgar, insulting to women, and completely unscientific. By Saturday, the hashtag “Fuyanjie Ad Insults Women” (#妇炎洁广告被指侮辱女性#) had received over 130 million views on Weibo.

China Women’s News also condemned Fuyanjie on May 17th for its ad, saying that the brand ruined its own reputation by using women’s bodies for distasteful marketing practices.

Following the controversy, Fuyanjie published an apology on social media on May 20th, saying they offered their sincere apologies for their “inappropriate content” and that they will make sure something like this will not happen again in the future. They also stated that the product in question has now been taken off the shelves.

The “Fuyanjie Apologizes” hashtag (#妇炎洁道歉#) received over 80 million views on Weibo, but most netizens were not buying it, blaming the company for deceiving and discriminating women while also making money off of them.

Fuyanjie is a well-known female product brand in China that has been around since 1998. It is part of the Renhe Pharmaceuticals Group, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in the manufacture and marketing of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and other healthcare products. Besides female intimate hygiene products, Fuyanjie also sells sanitary napkins and other related products.

 

I can’t wash away your past, but I can clean up your future

 

Fuyanjie became a household name in the 1990s and early 2000s, mainly due to its marketing strategy which involved a catchy song by a couple singing a love song (‘Lover’ 知心爱人 by Ren Jing and Fu Disheng) and the slogan: “Washing is Healthier” (“洗洗更健康”).

The brand name Fuyanjie (妇炎洁) literally means ‘cleansing women’s vaginitis,’ with the company claiming that their products kill germs, make you feel fresh and clean, and that using their intimate care products somehow makes you “more healthy” (Li 2016).

In its commercials and ads, Fuyanjie also makes a connection between their products and romantic relationships, showing happy couples buying Fuyanjie products together. In between the lines, the company suggests that using Fuyanjie feminine hygiene products will magically boost your love life.

Nevertheless, it has been pointed out many times before that these kinds of female hygiene products are unnecessary and misleading. Rather than maintaining genital health, some of these intimate washing products actually might disrupt the intimate balance of the vagina and give rise to infections.

One popular Weibo comment said: “Unless your doctor says otherwise, the best way to wash your private parts is with water. And regarding the pigment – it’s normal to have darker skin there.”

It is not the first time Fuyanjie gets caught in controversy. As reported by Jiemian News, the brand also sparked criticism from netizens in 2016 when it used the marketing slogan “I can’t wash away your past, but I can clean up your future” (“我不能洗掉你的过去,但我能洗干净你的未来”) for one of their intimate care products.

Other Chinese brands were previously also criticized for insulting women. Chinese underwear brand Ubras caused controversy online last year after suggesting that its underwear was so good that it helped women “lie to win in the workplace.” Sexist and offensive, according to many Weibo users. An ad by Chinese cotton product brand Purcotton also sparked controversy in 2021 for showing a woman wiping away her makeup to scare off a male stalker, with many finding the ad sexist and hurtful to women.

“They don’t respect women at all,” one Weibo commenter said about Fuyanjie. “They should make their own penises pink instead,” another person suggested.

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:

References

Li, Hongmei. 2016. Advertising and Consumer Culture in China. Cambridge: Polity.

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©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

‘Voices of April’: The Day After

“The best way to make videos go viral is by censoring them.”

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On April 23, a day after the video ‘Voices of April’ briefly took over social media before it was censored, the trending topic of the day is a hashtag related to new Covid cases reported in Shanghai.

Shanghai reported higher Covid-19 cases and deaths on Friday than the five days prior, which showed a daily decline in new cases. Shanghai reported a total of 23,370 new cases (including 20,634 asymptomatic ones), the municipal health commission said Saturday. A related hashtag by Xinhua News received over 910 million views on Weibo on Saturday (#上海新增本土确诊2736例无症状20634例#).

Although the hashtag was initiated by state media to inform about the Shanghai Covid situation, netizens started using it to criticize Shanghai’s handling of the crisis, with more commenters questioning China’s zero-Covid strategy. Similarly, other state media-initiated hashtag places also became online spaces where Weibo users vented their frustrations earlier this month.

Besides the ongoing online criticism and vocal disagreement with China’s Covid handling and policies, there are also many who express shock at the recent crackdown of any form of protest or criticism regarding the situation in Shanghai.

“‘Voices of April’ has been shutdown all over the internet, I’m simply dumbfounded,” one person said about the popular video that contained real recordings of events that happened during the city’s lockdown.

“If you still can find the video anywhere, forward it,” another person writes.

Besides Voices of April (四月之声), there have also been other videos over the past week that are meant to expose the mishandling of the Covid situation in Shanghai.

One of them is titled Farewell, Language (再见语言), another one is Shanghai Late Spring (上海晚春).

Farewell, Language (再见语言) is a 42-second sound art video by artist Yang Xiao (杨潇), who used over 600 commonly used propaganda phrases from Chinese official channels and randomly broadcasted the audio in the community where he lives.

The anti-epidemic workers just continue their work and do not seem to notice anything out of the ordinary at all. The video shows how this kind of language has been so normalized that for most, it has just become background noise in their everyday life – without even noticing nor critically assessing its meaning or logic anymore.

The Shanghai Late Spring (上海晚春) video is a compilation of video footage from the Shanghai lockdown, showing people struggling to get food, violent altercations between anti-epidemic workers and residents, people living in deplorable conditions in quarantine centers, and more (link to video).

The video uses the song Cheer Up London by Slaves, its chorus being:

You’re dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead, dead, already-ready
Dead, already, dead
.”

One Weibo commenter responded to the video in English, using a text from Les Misérables: “Do you hear the people sing / Singing the song of angry men / It is the music of a people / Who will not be slaves again!” The phrase “do you hear the people sing” was also used by other social media users to address the situation in Shanghai and the censorship of related topics.

“The best way to make videos go viral is by censoring them,” one commenter replied.

Read our previous article about ‘Voices of April’ here.

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:

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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