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KFC in Tibet: Kentucky Fried Chicken Opens First Chain in Lhasa

Fast food giant KFC has opened its first outlet in Lhasa, Tibet. Although most netizens on Sina Weibo seem happy with KFC’s arrival in Tibet, Newsweek reports that the opening has also drawn criticism from Free Tibet campaigners.

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Fast food giant KFC has opened its first outlet in Lhasa, Tibet. Although most netizens on Sina Weibo seem happy with KFC’s arrival in Tibet, Newsweek reports that the opening has also drawn criticism from Free Tibet campaigners.

Almost 29 years after the first KFC opened in China near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the chain has now opened its first Tibet branch in Lhasa on March 8, 2016.

KFC’s opening in Lhasa is a first in many ways; not only is this the first KFC in Tibet, it’s also the first international chain opening up there, and it is the biggest KFC restaurant in the world (over 500 square meters). KFC, a brand under the umbrella of YUM! Brands, has tried to open its Lhasa store for over a decade.

“Nowhere outside else of the US has KFC expanded so quickly.”

Although KFC is not China’s first fast food restaurant, it is one of China’s most popular ones. The love between KFC and China is mutual; nowhere outside else of the US has KFC expanded so quickly. For its first 18 years straight, the chain had an average of 50% growth per year (Liu 2008, xi). There are more than 5000 KFC restaurants in over 1100 places in China.

Its popularity is also visible on China’s social media; on Sina Weibo, the fast food giant has over 1,3 million fans on its official account. In comparison: McDonald’s has 64,0000 fans, Burger King a mere 4900 followers.

A sandwich meal with chicken wings, cola and French fries will be 40 yuan ($6.10) in Lhasa, while it is 31 yuan in inland cities, People’s Daily reports.

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London-based organization Free Tibet, that supports an independent Tibet, has released a statement about KFC in Tibet earlier this week, in which they say that “there’s nothing in principle wrong with a Western company setting up shop in Tibet but it’s always a source of concern because so far, very few companies have shown that the have any interest in bringing benefit to Tibet and Tibetans,” and that “Tibetan interests aren’t represented by local authorities who serve Beijing rather than Lhasa”.

According to China Daily, half of the new KFC’s staff will be from Tibet.

“The Dalai Lama wrote KFC saying that the slaughtering and eating of chickens was against the values of the Tibetans. But it later turned out the Dalai Lama himself liked to eat beef.”

Chinese leading news portal Phoenix News reports that when KFC first planned to open a branch in Tibet, the chain received a letter from the Dala Lama, saying that the slaughtering and eating of chickens was against the values of the Tibetans. But, Phoenix News writes, it later turned out the Dalai Lama himself liked to eat beef.

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Dalai Lama aside, KFC mostly waited so long to open a chain in Tibet because it was not expected to be profitable. The economic environment of Lhasa today is strong enough for KFC to be expected to thrive there.

On Weibo, some netizens are astonished with the news of the first KFC opening in Tibet: “Does this mean that there was no KFC there before?!”, one netizen says. Other Weibo users wonder what’s next: “Where’s Starbucks?” they say.

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 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 and Covid19

Tianjin Students Find All Their Belongings Thrown Out After Dorm Turns Into Covid19 Quarantine Site

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Tianjin students expressed anger and disbelief online after their school dormitories became local Covid19 quarantine sites and their belonging were tossed out.

Since earlier this month, Tianjin has been fighting a Covid outbreak. On January 9, the city of 14 million residents started citywide nucleic acid testing after twenty people tested positive for Covid19, including at least two Omicron infections. The city, facing the country’s first Omicron outbreak, then entered a partial lockdown.

In the January 8-January 16 period, Tianjin registered a total of 294 new cases, with an additional 18 cases being reported on Monday.

One of the important measures in China’s battle against Covid19 is the preventive quarantine in centralized locations of nearby or close contacts of Covid19 cases. In Tianjin, these ‘close contacts’ are mainly located in Jinnan district, where 94 percent of the city’s reported cases were detected. The city has numerous quarantine locations scattered throughout the city.

Recently, students of various schools in Tianjin, including the Tianjin College of the University of Science & Technology Beijing (北京科技大学天津学院) and the Pearl River College at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics (天津财经大学珠江学院), were notified that their dorm buildings would temporarily be used as local quarantine sites. The two schools are located very near to each other in Jingjin New Town, located in Baodi District, approximately 45 km from Tianjin.

Although many students said that they were fine with their dorms being used as quarantine sites while they were away – the winter school holiday ends on February 21st -, they were shocked and furious to discover their belongings were thrown out in trash bags.

Videos and photos of staff emptying out the dorm rooms and throwing personal belongings out of the windows triggered controversy on social media on January 18: “For what reason was our stuff dealt with this way? Is this what they meant when they promised us they would keep our belongings safe?”

“It’s not unreasonable for the dorms to be used in this way in times of epidemic,” one commenter wrote: “But at the very minimum there should be a basic understanding that students’ personal belonging can’t just be thrown away?!”

“What kind of university can’t even keep its students’ property safe?” others wondered, with one female student writing: “We support our dorms being used as quarantine locations, but why do you completely disregard our property, our personal rights, our right to know, etc.? If you had properly taken care of our belongings, we wouldn’t even have said anything! We already lowered our bottom line! We’ve already made concessions from the moment you pried open our locks! Look at your staff, they’re playing dumb. You haven’t even given us a rational explanation.”

Another angry student writes: “When people asked me where I studied, I already felt reluctant to say [Pearl River College at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics], and I’d just tell them I study in Baodi District. Now I definitely don’t want to tell people where I study anymore. Pearl River College, you are heartless!”

On Weibo, students complain that their clothes, shoes, makeup, computers, and other property have allegedly been taken away and thrown outside in bags by the people preparing the dorm location. At the time of writing, it is still unclear where the students’ belongings currently are and whether or not the school will compensate those affected for the items that might be damaged or lost.

Many others on social media also sympathize with the students, saying the epidemic cannot be used as an excuse for staff to treat personal belongings in such a disrespectful way.

Update January 19:

The Pearl River College has issued an apology to its students on January 19, suggesting that the process of emptying and cleaning the premises needed to be done in a hurry, leading to students’ belongings not being handled as they should have been handled.

Many students expressed that they did not appreciate the apology: “What’s the point of this apology? What about the things we spent our money on? You need to be realistic and give compensation.”

Meanwhile, the Tianjin College of the University of Science & Technology still has not responded to the online commotion. Some students do not seem to care about an apology: “I just want to know where my things are.”

By Manya Koetse

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©2021 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

Disgruntled Woman Cuts Up 32 Wedding Dresses in Chongqing Bridal Salon

The woman ruined 32 wedding dresses – worth at least $11,000 – because she wanted her $550 deposit back.

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On January 9, an argument between a female customer and a bridal store staff member escalated when the angry customer took out scissors and ruined more a total of 32 wedding dresses by cutting them up.

A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social media, showing the woman taking out wedding gown after wedding gown and cutting them with scissors. The person filming can be heard saying “Think clearly, these dresses cost thousands [yuan],” with the woman responding: “Thousands? Even it’s ten-thousands, it doesn’t matter.”

The incident happened in the city’s Jiangjin District at a store that sells bridal gowns and also offers wedding services. According to Chinese media site Sohu.com, the wedding store manager told reporters that the woman named Jiang first made arrangements with the bridal salon in April 2021 for her October 5th wedding – she booked a wedding package for 8000 yuan ($1260).

Four months later, in August, the woman asked the bridal shop if her wedding arrangements could be postponed. When the woman came to the shop again in November, saying she wanted to cancel all arrangements and get her down payment of 3500 yuan ($550) back, the shop refused due to their policy of not refunding advanced payments. They did offer to instead provide some arrangements for a child’s 100th-day celebration, as the woman was allegedly expecting a baby.

Although the woman initially agreed with this, she suddenly returned to the shop on January 9th and started acting out. In her anger, she proceeded to ruin 32 wedding dresses. The woman was taken away by the police after the shop assistant alerted them and was detained. She has since said she is sorry for her behavior.

According to the shop owner, the woman’s husband offered to compensate the store for over 60,000 yuan ($9420), but he has not paid a penny yet. The woman allegedly ruined 32 dresses with a total worth of at least 70,000 yuan ($11,000).

On Weibo, thousands of commenters have responded to the incident.

“What on earth was she thinking?” some write, with others saying that the woman should be held criminally liable for her acts and deserves a prison sentence. Others argued that pregnancy hormones could be blamed for the woman’s unreasonable behavior, and said the woman should no go to prison but stay home and rest instead. There was one thing virtually all commenters agreed on, which is that the shop should soon be fully compensated for all damages.

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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