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Weibo Mourns Passing of Forbidden City’s “Most Beloved” Cat Little Zai’er

The “royal” stray cats of the Forbidden City have never been more popular than in 2018. This week, news of the death of Palace Museum cat Zai’er received over 300 million views on social media.

Gabi Verberg

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After the death of Forbidden City celebrity cat Baidian earlier this year, Palace Museum staff and millions of netizens are again mourning over the death of another cat, China’s most beloved “royal cat” Little Zai’er (小崽儿).

The massive outpouring of grief over the recent death of the popular Palace Museum cat Little Zai’er shows that Weibo’s “animal craze” is reaching new heights.

Staff from the Palace Museum, housed in the Forbidden City, run a Weibo account where they frequently share updates on the adventures and wellbeing of some of the cats living within the walls of the Museum.

Photo posted on Weibo by @花花与三猫CatLive.

Earlier this month, the staff of the Palace Museum first noted that the beloved ‘Little Zai’er’ was missing. On Sunday the 16th of December, they wrote that the remains of the cat were found in a remote corner somewhere in the Forbidden City. According to sources, the ten-year-old Little Zai’er died of natural causes.

The death of Little Zai’er received great attention on Chinese social media. The hashtag “Forbidden City little Zai’er passed away” (#故宫小崽儿走了#) received over 300 million views, with thousands of people commenting on the sad news, posting photos or stories of their encounters with the cat.

One Weibo blogger, @花花与三猫CatLive, who had the opportunity to shoot photo’s with Xia’er, wrote: “I wanted to tell you, If I’d had the chance I would come and see you and bring you a snack. I wish you have a good time in kitty heaven”

Photo posted on Weibo by @花花与三猫CatLive.

Another Weibo user going by the name ‘Catbrother’ commented: “Every time I went to the Forbidden City I specially went to the Treasure Hall to see this Cat. He was always so good, surrounded by people taking his picture, calmly sunbathing. The news of his passing makes me so sad.”

Yet another girl posted a photo of herself on Weibo with a young Little Zai’er. Above the picture, it reads: “Farewell Little Zai’er.”

Photo by Weibo user @zoe啊喂.

Many say this particular cat has become popular to his approachability and cuteness. Little Zai’er lived in the Forbidden City for nearly a decade, and throughout the years, has been photographed by many. The cat even made an appearance in the television show The New Palace Museum (上新了故宫), that is currently airing on Beijing Satellite TV.

Many stray cats live in and around the Palace Museum, and they even have some historical significance; cats have lived there ever since the complex was built in the 15th century. They also serve a practical purpose: the cats have played an important role in protecting the museum’s precious antiques and relics from damage done by rats and mice.

For more about this topic and another super popular Palace Museum cat, check out our previous article Paws at the Palace Museum.

The tremendous attention for the death of Little Zai’er on social media makes is one of the hottest hashtags on Weibo in 2018. For a list of the other most trending topics on social media in China in 2018, check our Trends of 2018 article here.

By Gabi Verberg

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©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Gabi Verberg is a Business graduate from the University of Amsterdam who has worked and studied in Shanghai and Beijing. She now lives in Amsterdam and works as a part-time translator, with a particular interest in Chinese modern culture and politics.

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China Local News

Oil Tanker Truck Explosion Sends Shock Waves through Wenling, Zhejiang

A major oil tanker explosion has left over a hundred people injured and at least ten dead in Wenling, Zhejiang.

Manya Koetse

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On June 13, the explosion of an oil tanker truck has caused chaos in the city of Wenling in China’s Zhejiang province, leaving at least 112 127 people injured and nine 10 people dead.

The explosion took place in the afternoon at approximately 16:40 near the exit of the G15 Shenhai highway, causing a loud bang and wrecking some homes in the vicinity.

The hashtag “Zhejiang Wenling Tanker Wagon Explosion” (#浙江温岭槽罐车爆炸#) and other related hashtags (#浙江温岭一油罐车爆炸#) are attracting millions of views on social media site Weibo on Saturday evening (local time), with Chinese media and netizens sharing the footage of the damage caused by the explosion.

“My god, this is so scary,” a typical comment on Weibo says, with many people expressing their shock over the major incident.

Emergency and rescue workers are currently still at the scene to assist victims and clear away the wreckage caused by the explosion.

On Saturday night around 21:15 local time, Chiense state media outlet CCTV was still broadcasting a live stream through Weibo showing the latest images and footage of the situation and interviewing injured people in the hospital.

Local authorities and Chinese media are warning people not to go near Wenling’s Daxi to keep the roads clear for rescue workers.

Meanwhile, people on Chinese social media are spreading praying emoji’s and candles, expressing their sympathies for the victims of today’s explosion.

By Manya Koetse

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©2020 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

China’s Shulan City in “Wartime Mode” after Recording 13 COVID-19 Infections

Local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases in Shulan.

Manya Koetse

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The city of Shulan in China’s Jilin Province is top trending on Chinese social media today after local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases.

These are the first local infections in the entire province after a period of 73 days, China News reports, with other previous cases all being infections from abroad.

Last week, on May 7th, a female resident was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19. The city in northeast China is now the only place in the PRC to be marked as “high risk.”

One page on social media platform Weibo dedicated to the topic of Shulan going into “wartime mode” (“战时状态”) had received over 190 million views by Monday evening local time.

What does this “wartime mode” entail?
– All residents stay home, lockdown of residential compounds
– All public places closed
– Schools closed
– All public transportation suspended
– No more selling of fever-reducing medicine in clinics or stores

According to CGTN, a total of 290 people who have been in close contact with the infected patients have been traced and placed under medical observation.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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