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Weibo Watch: Bad Manners

A string of violent incidents made people wonder what else is brewing at Manner Coffee besides fresh coffee.

Manya Koetse

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PREMIUM NEWSLETTER | ISSUE #31

This week’s newsletter:

◼︎ 1. Editor’s Note – Bad manners
◼︎ 2. What’s New and Noteworthy – A closer look at the featured stories
◼︎ 3. What’s Trending – Hot highlights
◼︎ 4. What’s Remarkable – AI Against AI
◼︎ 6. What’s Popular – Fu Bao, the Commercial Gem
◼︎ 7. What’s Memorable – Lying Flat
◼︎ 8. Weibo Word of the Week – “Very Tougan”

 

Dear Reader,

 

On the morning of June 17, a Shanghai barista lost his temper when an impatient female customer kept nagging him about her coffee at a small coffee shop at Pudong’s Meihua Road. After she had asked him for his name and then held up a phone in his face to record him, he snatched the phone from her hands and started scolding her.

As the woman continued to rant, the situation escalated quickly. The young man stepped out to the other side of the counter to confront her, which soon turned into a physical altercation. After the woman kicked him, the man slapped her in the face and even threw a few punches (video link).

The incident occurred at Manner Coffee, a Chinese chain known for its affordable, high-quality takeout coffee. The altercation, captured on security video and going viral on Chinese social media, was not the only major incident at Manner Coffee that day.

On the same day, a female barista at another Manner Coffee at Shanghai’s Weihai Road also lost her temper while dealing with a complaint about slow service, after which she threw coffee grounds at the customer (video link).

As both incidents quickly went viral, a third incident came to light, in which a barista and a customer got into a fight behind the service counter at a Manner Coffee in Shanghai’s Haimeng Yifang mall (video link). Unsurprisingly, the string of incidents made people wonder what else was brewing at Manner Coffee besides fresh coffee.

 
A Coffee Company “Filled with Emotion”
 

If you’re based in Shanghai, you might be familiar with Manner Coffee, but it is not as well-known nationwide as Chinese coffee chains like Luckin or Cotti Coffee.

Manner was established in Shanghai in 2015 by coffee enthusiast Han Yulong (韩玉龙), who had a clear vision for the company. Rather than focusing on novel drinks and quick trends, he wanted to offer classic, affordable coffee to go.

As part of offering this kind of high-quality espresso and other coffee drinks, Han insisted that Manner would not use fully automated machines, like Luckin or Starbucks, but that the baristas would work with traditional semi-automatic machines that would require more input from the staff.

“This should be a business filled with emotion” (“有感情的行业”), Han explained, stressing his aspiration to create a “pure coffee shop” (“做一家纯粹的咖啡店”).

In just six years, Han Yulong expanded the Manner Coffee brand to 194 stores nationwide. Now, Manner has opened its 1,000th store, and Han has been included in the list of the top 1,000 richest people in China.

Although the concept behind Manner Coffee is commendable, the recent incidents have shown that Han Yulong has indeed created a business “filled with emotion,” but in all the wrong ways. What were supposed to be good Manner shops have led to bad manners from burned-out staff and impatient customers.

This article [in Chinese] by Huxiu explains how Manner’s baristas sometimes need half an hour to properly set up the coffee machines before their actual work begins.

In many shops, the baristas are furthermore single-handedly responsible for taking orders, handling payments, printing and sticking labels, making coffee, and cleaning.

Manner’s staffing is based on store sales: stores with daily sales below 5,000 RMB ($688) reportedly have only one employee, while those exceeding 6,000 RMB ($826) have two.

This raises questions on the maximum workload one barista can actually handle in a shift.

If it is true that it would take about six minutes per cup to maintain service and quality, then one barista would already be incredibly busy just making 80-100 cups in one shift. But with coffee prices around 20 RMB ($2.75), a daily sales target of 2,500 RMB would mean preparing approximately 120 cups of coffee.

No wonder that Chinese media interviews with Manner employees revealed significant stress and pressure within the company’s work environment.

 
Coffee Involution
 

There are various ways to interpret the recent outbursts at different Manner Coffee shops. In the first incident, where a young male barista slapped a female customer, one might expect widespread condemnation of such male-to-female violence, support for the customer, and discussions about gender-based violence. However, most social media users appear to be siding with the baristas, largely due to how the situation is being contextualized in online discussions. These incidents have opened the floodgates to stories about the immense pressure faced by Manner baristas and the unfair working conditions they endure.

After Manner Coffee issued a public apology for the incidents and promised to do everything possible to prevent such events in the future, the public turned against the company. Critics accused Manner of exploiting its employees, who work tirelessly to earn around 5,000 RMB ($688) per month, while founder Han Yulong has ascended to become one of the wealthiest people in China.

The word that keeps popping up in this context is “involution”, nèijuǎn 内卷. This term, which has become a Chinese buzzword over the past four years, is used to describe the ‘abnormal normal state’ of an ongoing rat-race in the Chinese education and employment market, leaving young people feeling overworked and run down as they try to keep up with the standards set by their peers who appear to be even more hardworking.

As I’ve previously described in my article here, the term ‘involution’ and how it is used today comes from a work by American anthropologist Clifford Geertz titled Agricultural Involution – The Processes of Ecological Change in Indonesia (1963). In this work, Geertz explores the agricultural dynamics in Indonesia during the colonial period’s Cultivation System, where a radical economic dualism existed within the country: a foreign, Dutch economy and a native, Indonesian economy (p. 61-62).

The term ‘involution’ comes from this book by Geertz, published in 1963.

Geertz describes how the Javanese faced a deepening demographic dilemma as they saw a rapidly growing population but a static economy, while the Dutch, who organized Javanese land and labor, were only growing in wealth (69-70). Agricultural involution is the “ultimately self-defeating process” that emerged in Indonesia when the ever-growing population was absorbed in high labor-intensive wet-rice cultivation without any changing patterns and without any progress (80-81).

But how do we make the jump from Geertz to Manner?

The term ‘involution’ often comes up together with criticism of China’s ‘996’ work system (working from 9am-9pm, 6 days a week). Although Alibaba founder Jack Ma once called the 12-hour working day a “blessing,” the system is controversial, with many condemning how Chinese (tech) companies are exploiting their employees, who are caught in a conundrum; they might lose their sanity working such long hours, and might lose their job and future career prospects if they refuse to do so.

The term is also used to describe the complexities that come with the extreme pursuit of high-quality and low prices that is ubiquitous in the Chinese market.

‘Involution’ is happening at Manner Coffee in two ways. Top-down, you see how China’s coffee market has become increasingly competitive while operating costs are rising. Facing financial pressures, coffee chains such as Manner are saving on staff and store size but at the same time are driving up sales while keeping their coffee prices low to compete with Starbucks, Luckin, and other big chains. It’s what this 36kr article calls “suicidal pricing” (“自杀式”定价).

Bottom-up, this results in overwhelmed employees who are working hard to keep their jobs by maintaining an unrealistic standard of making hundreds of cups of coffee during their shifts – after all, their colleagues do it, so they must keep up with a standard set too high without anyone really profiting from it, leading to mental breakdowns and conflicts with impatient customers.

Instead of condemning Manner workers who lash out against customers, many people empathize with them as a way to voice their own concerns about work environments and employee welfare.

Rather than punishing its employees, many argue that Manner should radically change its management practices.

Others say that while Manner’s original concept of aiming for high-quality coffee is admirable, good coffee is not just in the coffee beans but also in how employees are treated. Chinese economist blogger and author Yu Fenghui (余丰慧) calls the turmoil surrounding Manner Coffee a “wake-up call for the entire industry,” arguing that a company’s true quality goes beyond its product but is reflected in social responsibility. Only in this way, he says, can a brand in this competitive market “not only run fast but also go the distance” (“不仅跑得快,而且走得远”). I guess we all like our coffee better knowing it was not made in bitterness.

Best,
Manya Koetse
(@manyapan)

Miranda Barnes & Ruixin Zhang contributed to this newsletter

 
References:
Geertz, Clifford. 1963. Agricultural Involution: The Processes of Ecological Change in Indonesia. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press.

 

A closer look at featured stories

Americans Stabbed in China | The recent stabbing incident at Beishan Park in Jilin city, involving four American teachers, has made headlines worldwide. However, on the Chinese internet, the story was initially kept under wraps. This is a brief overview of how the incident was reported, censored, and discussed on Weibo.

Read more
 

 

What’s Trending

A recap of hot highlights

    JUNE 13-14

    Jiang Ping | The story of 17-year-old fashion design student Jiang Ping (姜萍) has become the center of online discussions. Jiang, from Jiangsu, unexpectedly placed twelfth in the preliminary round of the Alibaba Global Mathematics Competition, outperforming students from prestigious universities despite attending a vocational school often seen as inferior in China. Her talent was nurtured by her supportive teacher, Wang Runqiu (王闰秋), who helped her excel in the competition, where she was the only girl in the top 30. While many cheer Jiang on, her success has also triggered waves of criticism online, with some netizens accusing her and her tutor of cheating. The final round took place on June 22, and the results will be announced in August.

     
    JUNE 15-17

    G7 | Unsurprisingly, the G7, often accused of holding an anti-China bias, faced a wave of negative reactions on Weibo and other social media platforms in China. One viral image mocked the G7 leaders, highlighting their unpopularity in their own countries, where they are either losing votes or facing significant pressure. The image labeled the leaders as follows:

    • [European Union Charles Michel]: Unelected EU official
    • [German Chancellor Olaf Scholz]: Just lost elections
    • [Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau]: 50-year-low poll numbers
    • [French President Emmanuel Macron]: Just lost elections
    • [US President Joe Biden]: Too old to stand trial
    • [Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida]: 26% approval rating
    • [UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak]: About to lose elections
    • [EU Ursula von der Leyen]: Unelected EU official

    The only leader not being criticized was Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

     
    JUNE 18

    618 | There have been mixed reports on this year’s June 18 “618 Shopping Festival.” Some reports claimed that sales dropped during the major shopping event, which has become nearly as well-known and hyped as the November 11 “Single’s Day” shopping extravaganza. JD.com, the company behind the 618 festival, asserted that this year’s transaction volume and orders broke records.

    Chinese e-commerce and finance bloggers have discussed the matter, suggesting that the festival did not actually experience a decline. They noted that some data did not account for the different sales times across various platforms and that various measuring methods are not entirely accurate. Meanwhile, in an online shopping environment that features constant promotions, online commenters observed that there seemed to be less hype surrounding the shopping festival this year.

     
    JUNE 19-20

    Putin in North Korea | On Chinese social media, many netizens watched with interest as Putin was warmly received in North Korea. Some remarked, “Two international outcasts huddling together for warmth,” while others suggested, “Perhaps we might as well not learn English, but learn Russian and Korean instead.” Despite the unique nature of the visit, coverage of Putin’s time in Pyongyang was minimal in Chinese official media. Some bloggers noted the significance of the trip’s sequence, emphasizing that Putin prioritized his visit to China in May before traveling to North Korea.

    Others focused on a small detail: when Kim Jong-un and Putin went on a ride in a luxury limo, the phone holder was holding something that was apparently deemed more important: cigarettes.

     
    JUNE 23-24

    Gaokao | The results of China’s Gaokao (National College Entrance Exams) were released and quickly became a hot topic on Chinese social media. These results are extremely important to students, as they determine which university they will be able to attend. With this crucial milestone, students now face another significant challenge: filling out college applications.

    During a livestream on Sunday, renowned Chinese educational advisor Zhang Xuefeng (张雪峰) suggested that students should look beyond rankings when choosing a college. He advised that young people should also consider other aspects of the college’s location, such as the feasibility of buying a house, promising job prospects after graduation, and overall good quality of life. “Is there such a place?” one top commenter wondered.

     

    What’s Noteworthy

    Small news with big impact

    A new technology to detect AI scams recently went trending on Weibo. This “AI against AI” application promises to instantly recognize whether or not a face has been ‘swapped’ through AI tech (0步破解AI换脸诈骗). This application comes at a time of intensified concerns over scams facilitated by AI.

    Earlier this year, a massive AI deepfake fraud case in Hong Kong attracted widespread attention. Fraudsters tricked a worker at a multinational firm into paying them a staggering 200 million HKD ($25 million) by using deepfake technology to pose as the company’s chief financial officer in a video conference call. Last year, a similar fraud case made headlines in China after a legal representative of a technology company in Fuzhou was fooled into transferring 4.3 million yuan (about $612,000) after having a video chat with someone pretending to be his friend through AI-powered face-swapping technology.

    To combat such fraud practices, this new technology can now easily analyze real-time videos on mobile, detecting flaws in the video that are invisible to the human eye to determine whether or not the person you’re talking to is real or AI-generated.

     

    The latest buzz in arts, marketing & pop culture

    Since the young panda Fu Bao (福宝) made her debut at the Sichuan panda reserve in mid-June, she has become a major topic on Chinese social media. Born and raised in a South Korean zoo, Fu Bao has captivated audiences with her charm.

    Fu Bao, who has thousands of fans in South Korea, returned to China in April under panda loan agreements. Born in 2020 at South Korea’s Everland Zoo, Fu Bao is the offspring of Ai Bao (爱宝) and Le Bao (乐宝), who were sent from China in 2016 as part of the country’s “panda diplomacy.”

    Under the current panda loan agreements, all cubs born abroad belong to China and must be sent back to China by around the age of four. However, Fu Bao’s return sparked controversy among South Korean fans, who started a petition to bring Fu Bao back “home” after rumors surfaced about her mistreatment in China. These rumors were refuted by Chinese authorities, who dismissed them as attempts to politicize the situation rather than genuine concern for Fu Bao’s welfare.

    While fans in South Korea mourn Fu Bao’s departure, Chinese enthusiasts are happy they can finally see her, both online and offline. Whether it’s Fu Bao being livestreamed, staring through a window, or eating bamboo, the young panda is a social media sensation. Fu Bao’s success extends beyond panda diplomacy; she’s a commercial gem. From Fu Bao stickers to books, soft toys, power banks, keychains, and magnets, Taobao sellers are also thrilled that Fu Bao has come home to China.

     

    What’s Memorable

    Best reads from the archive

    For this pick from the archive, we revisit an article from 2022 about the phenomenon of ‘lying flat’, tǎng píng, which became a hot social trend in China in 2021 and has garnered much attention since. Supporters of China’s ‘lying flat’ movement say it is a form of collective emotional catharsis, but state media suggest it goes against the Chinese Dream.

    Read more
     

    Weibo Word of the Week

    The catchword to know

    “Strong Stealth Vibe” | Our Weibo phrase of the week is tōugǎn hěn zhòng (偷感很重), translated as “strong stealth vibe.”

    It’s that moment when you see someone you know and pretend to be busy on your phone to avoid social interaction. Or when someone takes a group picture and you’re unsure how to pose. Or when all eyes are on you and you wish for an invisible cloak.

    Recently, the term “tōugǎn” (偷感) has emerged on Chinese social media. Tōugǎn (偷感) literally translates to “stealth sense” or “secret feeling,” but we can interpret it as an overall vibe of being “under-the-radar.” The phrase “tōugǎn hěn zhòng” (偷感很重) means “the stealth sense is strong,” and can be used to describe someone as being “very under-the-radar” or having “a strong stealth vibe.”

    The exact origin of this term is unclear, but it likely first appeared on Xiaohongshu in response to a videoclip by the South Korean girl group Le Sserafim for their single “Easy,” where they sing and dance effortlessly with some low-key dance moves.

    Tōugǎn (偷感) is used by young people to express a common feeling in their daily lives, where they prefer to go about things quietly and low-key, avoiding too much attention. They can still be smooth and effortless, but out of fear of embarrassment or judgment, they do so in a subtle and low-profile manner. They won’t flaunt their achievements, but wait for others to notice them.

    Unlike earlier internet buzzwords where young people mock themselves, tōugǎn is not negative – it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek and a way for people to connect over their inner worlds that aren’t visible to others.

     
    This is an on-site version of the Weibo Watch newsletter by What’s on Weibo. Missed last week’s newsletter? Find it here. If you are already subscribed to What’s on Weibo but are not yet receiving this newsletter in your inbox, please contact us directly to let us know.

    Featured image: Part of the image is based on photo taken by photographer Liu Xiangcheng, depicting dozens of students sitting down at Tiananmen Square.

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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China Memes & Viral

“Bye Bye Biden”: Biden’s Many Nicknames in Chinese

Throughout the years, Biden has received many nicknames on Chinese social media.

Manya Koetse

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Our Weibo phrase of the week is Bye Bye Biden (bài bài Bàidēng 拜拜拜登). As news of Biden dropping out of the presidential race went viral on Weibo early Monday local time, it’s time to reflect on some of the popular nicknames and phrases given to US President Joe Biden on Chinese social media.

 
🔹 Biden in Chinese: Bàidēng 拜登

Biden in Chinese is generally written pronounced and written as Bàidēng 拜登. Although the character 拜 (bài) means “to pay respect, to worship” and 登 (dēng) means “to ascend, to climb,” they’re used here primarily for their phonetic similarity. The characters chosen are neutral to avoid any negative implications in the official translation of Biden’s name.

Why are non-Chinese names translated into Chinese at all? With English and Chinese being vastly different languages with entirely different phonetics and scripts, most Chinese people find it difficult to pronounce a foreign name written in English. Writing foreign names in Chinese not only standardizes them but also makes pronunciation and memorization easier for Chinese speakers.

 
🔹 Bye Biden: Bài Bài Bàidēng 拜拜拜登

Because Biden is Bàidēng, and the Chinese for ‘bye bye’ is written as bài bài 拜拜, some netizens quickly created the wordplay “bài bài Bàidēng” 拜拜拜登 (“bye bye Biden”) upon hearing that Biden would not seek reelection. Try saying it out loud—it almost sounds like you’re stammering.

 
🔹 Old Joe: Lǎo Dēng Dēng 拜拜拜登

Another common farewell greeting to Biden seen online is “bài bài lǎo dēng dēng” 拜拜老登登, which sounds cute due to the repetition of sounds.

“Old Biden” or “lǎo dēng dēng” 老登登 is a common online nickname for Biden in Chinese. The reduplication of the 登 (dēng) makes it sound playful and affectionate, while the “old” prefix is commonly used when referring to someone older. It’s similar to calling someone “Old Joe” in English.

 
🔹 Biden Variations: 拜灯, 白等, 败蹬

Let’s look at some other ways Biden is nicknamed online:

Besides the official way of writing Biden with the 拜登 Bàidēng characters, there are also other variations:

拜灯: bài dēng
白等: bái děng
败蹬: bài dèng

These alternative ways of writing Biden’s name are not neutral. Although the first variation is not necessarily negative (using the formal Biden 拜 bài character but with ‘Light’ 灯 dēng instead of the other 登 ‘dēng’), the other two variations are usually used in more negative contexts.

In 白等 (bái děng), the first character 白 (bái) means “white,” which can evoke associations with old age due to white hair (白发). The character 等 (děng) means “to wait,” and the combination can imply being old and sluggish.

败蹬 (bài dèng) is typically used by netizens to reflect negative sentiments towards the American president. The characters separately mean 败 (bài): “to be defeated,” “to fail,” and 蹬 (dèng): “to step on,” “to kick.” This would never be used by official media and is also often used by netizens to circumvent censorship around a Biden-related topic.

 
🔹 Revive the Country Biden: Bài Zhènhuá 拜振华

Then there is 拜振华 Bài Zhènhuá: revive the country Biden

In recent years, Biden has come to be referred to with the Chinese nickname “Revive the Country Biden,” also translatable as ‘Thriving China Biden’. This nickname has circulated online since 2020 and matches one previously given to former President Trump, namely “Build the Country Trump” (Chuān Jiànguó 川建国).

The idea behind these humorous monikers is that both Trump and Biden are seen as benefitting China by doing a poor job in running the United States and dealing with China.

 
🔹 Sleepy King: Shuì wáng 睡王

Shuì wáng 睡王, Sleepy King, is another common nickname, similar to the English “Sleepy Joe.” During and after the 2020 American presidential elections, there were numerous discussions on Chinese social media about ‘Trump versus Biden.’ Many saw it as a contest between the ‘King of Knowing’ (懂王) and the ‘Sleepy King’ (睡王).

These nicknames were attributed to Trump, who frequently boasted about his unparalleled understanding of various matters, and Biden, who gained notoriety for being older and tired. Viral videos, some manipulated, showed him nodding off or seemingly disoriented. The name ‘Sleepy King’ then stuck.

 
🔹 Grandpa Biden: Bài Yéyé 拜爷爷

Throughout the years, Biden has also been nicknamed Bài yéyé 拜爷爷, “Grandpa Biden.” This is usually more affectionate, though it emphasizes his age—Trump is not much younger than Biden and is not nicknamed ‘Grandpa Trump.’

Another similar nickname is lǎo bái 老白, “Old White,” referring to Biden’s age and white hair. 白 (bái, white) can also be a surname in Chinese. This nickname makes it seem like Biden is an old, familiar friend.

On Weibo, many speculate that American Vice President Kamala Harris will be the new candidate for the Democrats, especially since she’s been endorsed by Biden. Many have little confidence that she can compete against Trump. Her Chinese name is Kǎmǎlā Hālǐsī 卡玛拉·哈里斯, commonly referred to as ‘Harris’ (Hālǐsī).

In light of the latest developments, some netizens jokingly write: “Bye bye Biden, Ha ha ha, Harris.” (Bài bài, Bàidēng. Hā hā hā, Hālǐsī 拜拜,拜登。 哈哈哈,哈里斯). With a new Democratic candidate entering the presidential race, we can expect a fresh batch of creative nicknames to join the mix on Chinese social media.

Want to read more? Also read: Why Trump has Two Different Names in Chinese.

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.

©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Memes & Viral

Enjoying the ‘Sea’ in Beijing’s Ditan Park

This “seaview” spot in Beijing’s Ditan Park has become a new ‘check-in spot’ among Chinese Xiaohongshu users and influencers.

Manya Koetse

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“‘The sea in Ditan Park’ is a perfect example of how Xiaohongshu netizens use their imagination to change the world,” a recent viral post on Weibo said (“地坛的海”完全可以入选《红薯人用想象力颠覆世界》的案例合集了”).

The post included screenshots of the Xiaohongshu app where users share their snaps of the supposed seaview in Beijing’s Ditan Park (地坛公园).

Ditan, the Temple of Earth Park, is one of the city’s biggest public parks with tree-lined paths and green gardens in Beijing, not too far from the Lama Temple in Dongcheng District, within the Second Ring Road.

On lifestyle and social media platform Xiaohongshu, users have recently been sharing tips on where and how to get the best seaview in the park, finding a moment of tranquility in the hustle and bustle of Beijing city life.

Post on Xiaohongshu to get the seaview in Ditan Park.

But there is something peculiar about this trend. There is no sea in Ditan Park, nor anywhere else in Beijing, for that matter, as the city is located inland.

The ‘seaview’ trend comes from the view of one of the park’s stone walls. In the late afternoon, somewhere around 16pm, when the sun is not too bright, the light creates an optical illusion from a certain viewpoint in the park, making the wall behind the bench look like water.

You do have to capture the right light at the right moment, or else the effect is non-existent.

Some photos taken at other times of the day clearly show the brick wall, which actually doesn’t look like a sea at all.

Although the ‘seaview in Ditan’ trend is popular among many Xiaohongshu users and influencers who flock to the spot to get that perfect picture, there are also some social media commenters who criticize the trend of netizens always looking for the next “check-in spot” (打卡点).

There are also other spots popular on social media that look like impressive areas but are actually just optical illusions. Here are some examples:

One Weibo user suggested that this trend is actually not about people appreciating the beauty around them, but more about chasing the next social media hype.

The Ditan seaview trend is not entirely new. In May of this year, Beijing government already published a post about the “sea” in Ditan becoming more popular among social media users who especially came to the park for the special spot.

The Beijing Tourism Bureau previously referred to the spot as “the sea at Ditan Park that even Shi Tiesheng didn’t discover” (#在地坛拍到了史铁生都没发现的海#).

Shi Tiesheng (1951–2010) is a famous Chinese author from Beijing whose most well-known work, “Me and Ditan,” reflects on his experiences and contemplations in Ditan Park. At the age of 21, Shi Tiesheng suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Ditan Park became a place for him to ponder life, time, and nature. Despite the author’s deep connection with the park, he never described seeing a “sea” in the walls.

Shi Tiesheng in Ditan Park.

If you are visiting Ditan Park and would like to check out the ‘sea’ yourself in the late afternoon, there are guides on Xiaohongshu explaining the route to the viewpoint. But it should not be too difficult to find this summer—just follow the crowds.

By Manya Koetse and Ruixin Zhang

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.

©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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