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Toxic Love Affair: Mistress Poisons Love Rival with Thallium

Manya Koetse

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September 16, 2014: Weibo netizens are feverishly discussing the ‘Anhui poisoning trial’ (#安徽铊投毒案#), a rare case in the southeast of China, revolving around a love triangle and a poisoning with the highly toxic substance thallium. The Anqing court found kindergarten teacher Ling Ling guilty of chemically poisoning the ex-wife of her lover. She was sentenced to life in prison. Netizens express their worries over the seemingly effortless way the convict was able to purchase thallium over the Internet. “This reminds me of the Tsinghua University Thallium poisoning case of Zhu Ling [1995]”, one netizen says: “how can thallium be purchased so easily?!” This is the third thallium poisoning case in China.


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Victim Pan Jingjing (left), her husband Awang and their child in happier times (picture: Sina 2014).
 

Pan Jingjing will turn 26 next month. She will not be able to celebrate, as the young woman has been in a vegetative state for over a year – the result of a two-time thallium poisoning in the presence of her ex-husband Awang and his girlfriend Ling Ling (pseudonym). Soluble thallium is highly toxic. Formerly, it was used in rat poisons and insecticides. Due to its historic popularity as a murder method, it is also known as “the poisoner’s poison”.

Although married to Pan, Awang got to know kindergarten teacher Ling Ling through the Internet in 2009, Sina reports. The two first became friends, and then developed a love relationship. Pan Jingjing discovered her husband’s extramarital affair in 2011. Although the couple soon filed for divorce, Pan Jingjing remained living in their family home and did not tell her family or co-workers of her divorce, while her husband and Ling Ling continued their relationship.

On September 2nd 2014, the Anqing court reasoned that Ling Ling’s main motive for poisoning Pan was to free herself of her lover’s ex-wife, who was still so involved in his daily life.

Ling purchased the toxic chemical thallium through the internet in April, 2012. She had invited Pan to join her and Awang for a hotpot dinner on April 17th. When Pan left the table to get some beer, she mixed the chemical in her drink. That same night, Pan Jingjing got sick with diarrhea, and later suffered from pain in her legs and hair loss. When doctors in Hefei (capital of Anhui) could not find the cause of her symptoms, she was diagnosed with a mental disorder. By the summer of 2012, Pan had gradually recovered. Ling and Awang were now officially married. Ling Ling poisened Pan with thallium for a second time in August 2012, by mixing thallium through her tea in a karaoke bar. This time, Pan found herself unable to walk and was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. Doctors later discovered traces of thallium in her system.

The judicial thallium case has now come to a close after two years. Although both Ling Ling and Awang were arrested as suspects in the poisoning case in 2012, Awang has now been acquitted of all charges due to a lack of evidence of his involvement. Ling Ling, who now has a baby with Awang, has been sentenced to life in prison.

A former colleague of Pan Jingjing has stated to the press that Pan had expressed doubts of being poisoned after initially getting sick in April 2012. Her colleague had been there when Pan directly asked her husband if he and his girlfriend had mixed medicine in her drink to harm her, as she remembered the presence of a white substance in her drink at the hotpot restaurant. “Nonsense,” her husband allegedly said: “That was just an ingredient of your drink.”

“What is happening to this world?”, says another netizen: “This morning I woke up to headline news about a woman who poured acid in her cheating husband’s mouth while he was sleeping… and this afternoon I read about this mistress poisoning the ex-wife. I guess it’s safer to stay single.”

“We must not underestimate thallium,” says commentator Su Li in online magazine ZJJZX: “This case really is about two keywords: ‘thallium’, and ‘online shopping’.” Su pleads for a stricter organization of the online shopping market and a serious restriction to the sales in toxic goods.

For Pan Jingjing, future stricter regulations of China’s online sales in toxic substances will come too late. She is currently still hospitalized and unable to speak.


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Pan Jingjing cannot move or talk, and needs constant care (picture by 163.com).
 

[box] This is Weiblog: the What’s on Weibo blog section. Short daily updates on what is currently trending on China’s biggest social medium, Sina Weibo.[/box]

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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    Ed Sander

    September 17, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Mental disorder?! WTF?!

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China Books & Literature

“The End of an Era”? – Beijing Bookworm Closes Its Doors

Manya Koetse

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As news of The Bookworm’s closing makes its rounds on social media, Beijingers have responded in shock, mourning the loss of an iconic and meaningful meeting place for book(worm) lovers around the city.

The Bookworm Beijing, at Nansanlitun Road, is a bookshop, library, bar, restaurant and events space that has become a center of cultural exchange for Beijing’s foreign community since 2005.

The location is a beating heart of Beijing’s literary world; a place where writers, journalists, students, diplomats, academics, and all kinds of people – both foreign and Chinese – come together to exchange knowledge, read, and sit down for a glass of wine.

Today, the Bookworm announced its sudden closure via WeChat, writing:

It is with heavy hearts that we are forced to announce the impending closure of The Bookworm Beijing after 14 wonderful years in Courtyard No. 4 off SouthSanlitun Road. Despite our best efforts, we appear to have fallen prey to the ongoing cleanup of “illegal structures”, and we have not been able to secure an extension of our lease.”

The announcement further says that the location will be forced to suspend operations “most probably” as of Monday, November 11, and that the Bookworm will attempt to reorganize and find a new location.

News of the Bookworm’s closing has been becoming a topic of conversation on various social media sites from WeChat to Twitter and Weibo.

Famous Chinese journalist and author Luo Changping (罗昌平) writes on Weibo: “The Bookworm is forced to close! It used to be next door to my former office, and it was once like my living room. Sigh.”

Shanghai comedian Storm Xu called the closure of the Beijing Bookworm “the end of an era,” saying he looks back on many good memories there.

“They had many events, good food, special books; I used to go there a few times per year,” one person writes. “This really is so sad,” other Weibo users respond.

There are also various Weibo commenters who also mention that news of Bookworm’s closing comes just a day after the news that publisher of magazine-books and online bookseller Duku Books (读库) is forced to close its Beijing warehouse for the sixth time.

Over the past decade, many popular venues in Beijing have been forced to close their doors or relocate. Beijing hangouts such as Bed Bar, Salud, Vineyard Cafe, 2 Kolegas, Jiangjinjiuba, Mao Livehouse, Hercules, Aperativo, The Bridge Cafe, Great Leap Brewery Sanlitun, Jing-A Taproom 1949, and many others have all been closed over the past years.

Nightlife hotspot Sanlitun bar street was demolished and bricked up in 2017 as part of the mission of the city management to gentrify the area.

Changing Sanlitun in 2017.

The demolishment of “illegal structures” in the city has been an ongoing effort of the local government for years. These efforts became especially visible in late 2017 when people in Beijing’s Daxing area faced a large-scale evacuation campaign after a big fire broke out there on November 18, killing 19 people.

The large-scale evacuation campaign was also expanded to other areas of Beijing in a campaign by the municipal authorities aimed at unlicensed developments to target “illegal structures” and “buildings with potential fire hazards.”

But many people on Weibo and WeChat questioned if the campaign was actually more about politics than about safety concerns – something that was strongly refuted by state media outlets at the time.

These questions will remain unanswered, also for the Bookworm. Is its closure really about closing down an “illegal structure,” or are there more politically-motivated considerations playing a role here? On Weibo, some commenters say the location is closed down for being a home of free discussions and “free thinking,” while others say that no matter what the place is, the building’s safety and legal status is what matters here.

Perhaps the future will tell. We surely hope the Bookworm will soon pop up and open its doors in another location very soon.

Those who are interested can support the Bookworm by coming by and buying books, which will be heavily discounted, until November 11.

By Manya Koetse

Images: Bookworm images by The Bookworm, edited by What’s on Weibo.
Sanlitun Image: Might have been taken by Manya in Beijing 2017, but we’re not 100% sure so let us know if we’re mistaken.

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.

©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

Online Anger over Inappropriate Toast by Dutch Watch Brand Executive at Chinese Dinner Party

This is how NOT to do a toast in Dutch!

Manya Koetse

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Instead of teaching guests at a Chinese dinner party how to say “cheers” in Dutch, this viral video shows how the Chinese are told to join in saying “dikke lul,” the Dutch expression for “big d*ck.”

UPDATE: FYI – the videos relating to this incident have been taken offline after the publication of this article. There are no active video links in this article.

The Amsterdam-based watch & jewelry brand Rosefield has recently come under fire within the Chinese community in the Netherlands after a video went viral showing Rosefield’s CEO and its Head of Sourcing proposing an unusual toast at a Chinese dinner party.

The video, that was viewed over 173,000 times on Dutch site Dumpert.nl, shows a woman in a white blouse bringing out a toast, saying:

In Dutch, we say ‘ganbei’ or ‘cheers’ in this way, and it would be nice if you all can say the same, we say: ‘dikke lul.‘”

The people at the table then proceed to toast saying “Dikke lul” – which, in fact, is not the Dutch word for ‘cheers’ but for ‘big dick,’ something that the Chinese people at the table are seemingly not aware of.

On WeChat, Chinese-language newspaper Asian News (华侨新天地) reported about the video and identified the Dutch woman and man at the table as the CPO and CEO of Rosefield Watches, a fast-growing luxury brand that is active in various countries.

Asian News describes the incident as a way of “ridiculing Chinese friends,” and writes it has triggered anger online.

Asian News (华侨新天地) is a Chinese language newspaper founded in 1992. It is mainly distributed in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Its WeChat account has some 120,200 followers, and the post on the ‘cheers’ video was among its most-well read on WeChat this week.

The blog post noted that ever since the ‘dikke lul’ video has gone viral in the Netherlands, it has become one of the first results showing up when searching for the vulgar expression ‘dikke lul’ on Google.

Although it is not clear where the video was filmed and how it ended up on short video site Dumpert, it is rumored in WeChat groups that it was recorded during the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair earlier this month, and that the Chinese guests are business relations of the Dutch brand (unconfirmed).

The comment section on the Dumpert site shows that although some Dutch commenters think the video is funny, there are many who find it “vulgar,” “rude,” and “distasteful.”

Although many (overseas) Chinese expressed anger in various WeChat groups – some expressing regret over a Rosefield watch they recently purchased – the Asia News blog does remind readers that we do not know the context of the video, and whether or not there was a certain pretext or common understanding to the joke.

Nevertheless, the blog states, this kind of behavior is not professional and if a company such as Rosefield wants to earn money in China, “it should also respect Chinese culture and people.”

Although there have been ample discussions about the controversial video on Wechat, there are no online discussions about this issue on Weibo at the time of writing.

Over the past year, many foreign brands became a focus for controversy in China.

In November of 2018, Italian fashion house D&G faced consumer outrage and backlash on Chinese social media for a video that was deemed ‘racist’ to China and for insulting remarks about Chinese people allegedly made by designer Stefano Gabbana.

Swiss investment bank UBS sparked controversy in June for a column which mentioned “Chinese pigs.”

Over this summer, various foreign companies apologized to China for listing ‘Hong Kong’ as a separate country or region on its websites and/or t-shirts.

Still curious about how to actually say ‘cheers’ in Dutch? It’s ‘proost’ and this is how you pronounce it correctly.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

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

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