Connect with us

China Local News

“True Heroes of the City”: Sparks of Patriotism as Firefighters Contain Chongqing Wildfire

Chinese firefighters and volunteers are praised on Weibo for going above and beyond to control the Chongqing forest fire.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Chinese social media is flooding with posts praising the “heroes of the city”: all the firefighters, officers, soldiers, and Chinese citizens who fought ‘fire with fire’ and joined hands in combating the Chongqing wildfires under extreme weather conditions. The Chongqing wildfire containment has also fuelled patriotism among netizens.

This week, the mountain fires raging in Chongqing have become a big topic on Chinese social media. On Friday, the topic attracted at least one billion views on Weibo after professional firefighters and volunteers worked around the clock to contain the wildfire in the city’s Beibei District (#重庆山火#).

The fight to contain the fire became a collective effort, with thousands of Chinese volunteers from Chongqing and beyond coming to the scene to help in any way they could. Professional firefighters from other regions also came to the rescue, including teams from Yunnan and Gansu Province that specialize in forest fires.

Videos taken at the scene on Jinyun Mountain on Thursday evening showed countless people helping out at the mountain, some footage captured how people were shouting out “come on!” (“雄起!”) at each other for encouragement.

The southwestern regions of Chongqing and Sichuan Province have been battling forest fires since mid-August after the region has been facing scorching temperatures and severe drought.

Meanwhile, there have also been power cuts in Sichuan and Chongqing due to power shortages during the extreme summer.

At the same time, the city is also handling an emerging Covid outbreak and rolled out a mass testing campaign in order to test about 10 million residents in the city.

One image that circulated on Weibo showed a photo of Chongqing dealing with mountain fires, power cuts, and Covid test lines all at the same time.

 
Nixingzhe: The Heroes Going Against the Current
 

On the early morning of August 26, when the Beibei District fire was under control, Chinese social media flooded with posts praising the “heroes of the city”: all the firefighters, officers, soldiers, and common citizens who joined hands to combat the fires under extreme weather conditions.

Dramatic photos and digital artworks also circulated on Chinese social media, including photoshopped images produced by netizens and state media.

“Heroism of Chinese” image dedicated to Chongqing firefighters.

One photo from the scene (displayed below) served as an inspiration for other online posters and edited images, including one by state media outlet People’s Daily.

This image from the scene of the forest fires is one of the iconic photos that inspired others to edit and replicate it.

People’s Daily online poster.

People’s Daily published multiple images evoking feelings of patriotism, such as a bird’s eye view photo of the mountain fire and the rescue efforts, writing: “These are the amazing Chinese people” (“这就是了不起的中国人”).

On social media, the Chongqing firefighters are referred to as nìxíngzhě (逆行者), “the ones going against the tide.” This term, describing those who go beyond their call of duty, has been used by state media since early 2020 to refer to frontline workers and individuals who made a significant contribution or sacrifice during China’s initial battle against the novel coronavirus (see 2020 Top 10 Buzzwords in China).

An important method used to contain the spreading wildfires in Chongqing is ‘fighting fire with fire.’ With the help of all the people at the scene, Chinese specialized teams used controlled fires to prevent more forest fires by burning the fuel that could feed another fire. People’s Daily dedicated a Weibo hashtag page to this special and sometimes risky tactic of controlled burning (“以火灭火”) (#重庆北碚山火中的反向点火战术#). According to Chinese media, this fire fighting tactic played a decisive role in containing the fire.

Screenshot via Douyin showing firefighters having ice cream after their hard work.

Videos circulating on Weibo showed how drained some local firefighters were after containing the fires in the stifling heat, dealing with heat stroke and exhaustion.

“I don’t know what else to say, thank you,” some commenters wrote, with others saluting Chongqing’s heroes (“致敬英雄”).

Many people expressed pride in how the wildfires in Chongqing were handled, drawing comparisons with forest fires in Australia and other countries.

One Hunan-based Weibo user wrote:

“Compared to last year’s mountain fires in Australia which burned for nearly two months, and the July 30 fire in America’s California that saw local people fleeing and leaving, the fires in Chongqing showed us the power of the Chinese people. People spontaneously donated money and goods, and young people rushed to the frontline. It reminded me of the major flood efforts in ’98, how prepared for battle the white clothes workers were during the Covid outbreak in Wuhan, the subway rescue scene that happened in Zhengzhou last year. It makes my eyes tear up. This power comes from the love for the homeland that is rooted in the bones and blood of all Chinese people, this is the benevolent ‘all for one, one for all’ power of the Chinese people.”

On Friday afternoon and evening, firefighters and officers returning from the mountain were welcomed by groups of locals applauding them, waving flags, and offering them bottles of water and lemonade. These scenes were shared by official media channels on Weibo and beyond.

Although the narrative of the movie-like Chongqing battle against the fire is largely directed by state media propaganda on Chinese social media, many netizens join in the online celebration of this positive outcome of a difficult firefight. At a time of zero-Covid, power cuts, and scorching heat, it seems that many people are glad to see a happy ending to an otherwise devastating natural disaster.

“The fire is finally out,” one Weibo user wrote: “Front-line troops, firefighters, veterans, people of Chongqing, you are heroes, thank you for your great work!”

By Manya Koetse 

 

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.

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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

China Arts & Entertainment

“Hideous” and “Scary”: Giant Chongqing Rabbit Lantern Gets Roasted by Residents

More rabbits are getting roasted this year. This giant Chongqing rabbit was removed after sparking criticism for being ugly.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Earlier this month, the design of the latest zodiac stamp by China Post when viral after the little blue rabbit with red eyes and human hands triggered controversy for being “monster-like.” Now, another rabbit is criticized for its questionable design. This time, it concerns a giant rabbit lantern in Chongqing.

The giant rabbit lantern appeared at Sanxia Square in Chongqing’s Shapingpa District. As the Year of the Rabbit is about to start, huge rabbit decorations have popped up all over China.

But this particular Chongqing rabbit was received with disapproval from residents who said it looked uncanny and so ugly it almost made them cry. “Giant Chongqing rabbit lantern gets roasted for being scary,” Beijing Headlines wrote (#重庆巨型兔子灯被吐槽吓人#).

The rabbit is different from a more standard and cute cartoon rabbit, as it has human-like eyes and eyebrows and a serious expression on its face. Its body has festive orange, green, and yellow colors.

Although its design was not received well by many, others also said they liked the more traditional paper cutting-style of the rabbit.

“I don’t think it’s ugly,” one person commented: “But it’s certainly not pretty.”

Nevertheless, it was apparently decided that the bunny needed to go, and workers came to Sanxia Square to get rid of the rabbit lantern (hashtag #被吐槽吓人巨型兔子灯已被拆除#).

The district management committee told Chinese reporters on January 18 that they gave orders to dismantle the lanterns after receiving reports from residents that the giant rabbit was “appalling” (#官方回应巨型兔子灯被吐槽吓人#).

In the case of the blue rabbit stamp, a mascot that was specially designed to celebrate the launch of the zodiac stamp and the Year of the Rabbit was also discarded after people said they found the red-eyed rabbit “rat-like” and “horrible.”

Earlier this week, an art sculpture created by artist Xu Hongfei (许鸿飞) which is displayed inside Guangzhou Airport, also became a topic of discussion on Chinese social media as many could not appreciate the work of art and its representation of women. Airport management is reportedly now “investigating” how to deal with the controversy and the sculpture itself (#机场回应大厅雕塑被指有损女性形象#).

The Shanghai Morning Post (新闻晨报) wrote a post about the rabbit incident on Weibo, in which the newspaper – that falls under the Shanghai party newspaper Jiefang Daily – implicitly criticized the way in which both the blue rabbit stamp and the colorful Chongqing rabbit have recently come under fire and how the situations were handled.

“Give creativity some room!”, the news outlet wrote, arguing that rabbits aren’t always only “cute,” and that works that are more innovative, unique, and creative inevitably will cause some controversy because they make more impact and people have different views on what is considered beautiful and what is considered ugly.

Simply getting rid of artworks or public installations because many people don’t like them is unconstructive and a waste of public resources, according to the post. It would be better to actively engage in conversations, in the earlier phases of a project, but also once a work of art is already completed and if it is met with some controversy, the post argues; let people think about it, explore it, reflect on it – but do not just cover it up, tear it down, and throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Although some Weibo commenters applauded how Chongqing authorities listened to the people, others did not agree with the rabbit being removed because people thought it was ugly: “What are you taking it down for? If it’s ugly, just let it be ugly, at least it’s unforgettable!”

In light of the discussion, other social media users, including Zhihu user ‘Hǎiniú móumóu’ (海牛眸眸) and Weibo blogger Kai Lei (凯雷), took the initiative to make a collection of other rabbits on display in Chinese cities for the Year of the Rabbit. Some of them made the Chongqing rabbit look perfectly normal.

Such as the cyberpunk rabbit on display in Zigong.

Or the peaceful bunny from Quanzhou.

The big-eyed Nanjing one.

The Shanghai angry, boxing bunny.

But the one in Nanning takes the crown, as it left people utterly confused (#南宁兔子灯被嘲羊不羊兔不兔#).

“I guess you can’t please everyone,” one Weibo user wrote: “But you can displease everyone.”

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Zilan Qian

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our 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.

©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

China Local News

Driver Speeds through Busy Intersection in Guangzhou

The driver, a 22-year-old man, killed 5 people and injured 13 when he drove into people who were just crossing the road in Guangzhou.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Update: Several of the hashtags linked within this article were taken offline after the time of publication.

Five people were killed and 13 others were injured in a traffic incident involving a BMW driving into pedestrians at Tianhe Road in Guangzhou on January 11. The shocking incident went trending on Weibo, where one hashtag related to the topic received over 1.2 billion views before midnight Beijing time (#广州一宝马冲撞人群已致5死13伤#).

The incident happened around 17:25 local time on Wednesday. Videos circulating on Douyin and Weibo show how the black SUV just ploughed his car through the busy street at Tianhe Road/Tiyu East Road, where dozens of people were walking and crossing the intersection. Shortly after the incident, some people could be seen lying motionless on the road.

Another video shows how the car, apart from the intersection incident, also drove into a woman at another intersection and into a person riding on an electric scooter. Later on, the driver could be seen crashing into traffic fences, throwing money out of his car window while driving. The driver then got out of his car and started throwing money bills around. Shortly after, he was arrested.

According to Chinese media, the driver is a 22-year-old male from Jieyang in Guangdong, identified as ‘Wen X.’ The incident is still under investigation.

Just moments before the SUV drove into the people crossing the intersection.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been ashamed to say I come from Jieyang,” one commenter wrote. “I saw the videos and I’m crying, I’m so shocked,” another person wrote: “He must be severely punished.”

Other people called the culprit ‘inhumane’ and ‘devilish,’ saying he does not deserve to live.

Earlier this week, another major road incident that happened near Youlan Town in Nanchang, Jiangxi, killed 19 people and injured 21 others. The incident occurred on the very early morning (0:49) of 8 January, when a truck drove into a funeral procession.

At the time of the incident, a thick fog allegedly reduced visibility, but the incident is still under investigation. According to witnesses, it took the driver of the vehicle several hundred meters to stop after driving into the crowd. Most of the people who were killed in the incident were locals who had attended the funeral.

On Chinese social media, that topic also received a lot of attention this week. Some of the hashtags used to discuss the incident, however, were taken offline.

People wondered why a funeral procession would take place so late at night. Although some commenters suggested it could be due to local customers, others claimed it was related to the long waiting times for funerals at a time of a major Covid outbreak and related deaths.

“It’s too bitter. It’s a tragedy upon a tragedy,” one person commented.

By Manya Koetse

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our 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.

©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

Popular Reads