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Weibo’s Keyboard Warrior Olympics: Online Attacks against Chinese Athletes

These Chinese female athletes particularly suffered cyberbullying on Weibo this week.

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China’s success at the Tokyo Olympics is all the talk on Weibo. But it’s not all praise for Chinese athletes, as perceived flaws in their behavior can soon lead to online attacks by angry trolls.

The Tokyo Olympics are dominating the top trending lists on Chinese social media this week. On the fifth day of the Summer Olympics, China was ranking first in the live medal table with a total of 11 Gold medals, 5 Silver, and 8 Bronze.

Despite all the social media users supporting the Chinese athletes, there are also some who are speaking out against them. These Chinese female athletes particularly suffered cyberbullying on Weibo this week.

Wang Luyao (王璐瑶), a favorite to win the women’s air-rifle competition, was the first one to be attacked online after she failed to make the finals on Saturday. After the 10-metre air rifle event, the 23-year-old athlete posted a picture of herself on her Weibo account, writing: “Sorry everyone, I’m sorry, I admit I chickened out, see you all in three years” (“各位抱歉,很遗憾,我承认我怂了,三年后再见吧”).

The post triggered many comments and led to the “Wang Luyao Says See You in Three Years” hashtag (#王璐瑶说三年后再见#). Instead of supporting Wang, many netizens turned against her instead.

As also reported by Global Times, some criticized the athlete because they felt her post wasn’t showing “the spirit of sports.” Some threads on Weibo are filled with harsh criticism of the athlete, with many arguing that her post was “frivolous,” that she has a “bad attitude,” and that she was behaving more like a pop star instead of an athlete.

Facing online attacks, Wang deleted her own post shortly after. On July 28, she followed up with another post in which she says she will begin her life back in Beijing again with a fresh start.

Yang Qian: Attacked over Nike Shoe Collection

Another female athlete experiencing an online storm this week is Yang Qian (杨倩). Even though the Chinese sport shooter won the first gold medal for China in these Olympics, there was a shift in online attitudes when it turned out she owns a collection of Nike shoes.

Yang posted pictures of her Nike shoe collection on December 31st of 2020.

Yang’s apparent love for Nike was brought to the light by Beijing Television (BTV) director Liu Hao (刘昊), who commented on Yang’s old post: “Chinese athletes, why would you want to collect Nike shoes, shouldn’t you take the lead in boycotting Nike? Aren’t our domestic brands such as Erke, Li Ning, and Anta good enough [for you]?”

Nike and other Western brands received backlash in China this year for no longer sourcing cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. Chinese brands have also been cast in a more positive light over the past few years due to more controversies involving Western brands. Showing off one’s love for Nike, rather than the Chinese Li Ning for example, could come across as being ‘unpatriotic’ for some (read more about this trend here).

Discovering Yang’s apparent like for the Nike brand, many Weibo users started to leave angry messages.

Although some Weibo users were quick to criticize Yang, it soon came out that Yang’s post on her shoe collection dated from before Nike triggered controversy in China, and, noteworthy enough, that the BTV director who criticized her also seemed to have been a fan of Nike herself before; a Weibo post from 2017 was dug up by some social media users showing Liu’s love for the brand.

Top-Notch Athletes

The online condemnation of Wang and Yang shows just how quickly public sentiment can turn against those who are in the limelight. Despite these occurrences, there is still a majority of people showing their support for their athlete heroes.

Shortly after Wang’s post triggered online controversy, another hashtag supporting her received over 550 million views: “Wang Luyao Is Still Our Amazing Zhejiang Girl” (#王璐瑶仍是浙江了不起的姑娘#).

“If you can go to the Olympics, you’re already excellent,” some wrote: “They are our top-notch athletes.”

For the past three days, the hashtag “Strongly Oppose Cyberbullying of Athletes” (#坚决反对网暴奥运选手#) has been making its rounds on Chinese social media, with netizens condemning those who are using these athletes to vent their own anger via social media.

Some posters labeled the angry netizens as ‘keyboard warriors’ (键盘侠) with nothing better to do: “Keyboard warriors only have their keyboard.” “They can’t even manage to throw their keyboard in their trash bin.”

Weibo users attacking Yang and Wang were not just criticized by other social media users, they were also punished by Sina Weibo. Besides removing dozens of posts, the platform banned a total of 33 accounts for up to 180 days for comments they made towards Wang. A total of 32 Weibo accounts that posted “malicious” comments about Yang were also temporarily suspended from the platform and made public by the Weibo regulators.

These harsh penalties also made some netizens wonder if they could still criticize the Olympic team at all. “Can I still vent about the women’s team soccer coach, or will I be banned for doing so?”, one Weibo user wondered.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)

With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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.

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 Memes & Viral

The ‘Zhenlouqi’ Floor Shaker: The Chinese Noise Machine to Take Revenge on Your Noisy Upstairs Neighbors

Noisy upstairs neighbors? The zhenlouqi is a way more effective revenge than hitting your broom against the ceiling.

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How to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors? Some Chinese e-commerce sellers say they have found the solution for you: get back at them by making their floors vibrate! The zhènlóuqì is marketed as a ‘magical tool’, but in reality, it seems to only make problems worse.

It is called the zhènlóuqì (震楼器), the ‘floor shaker’, a device designed to get back at noisy upstairs neighbours. Over the past weeks, the zhènlóuqì has been popping up more frequently in stories on Chinese social media.

Due to various local Covid-related lockdowns across China over the past weeks, many people have again been spending a lot of time at home. For those living in residential apartments, neighbors making noise can be a real nuisance – especially if it is the upstairs neighbors who can leave you feeling powerless and annoyed with their heavy walking, stomping, pushing chairs, or loud music.

To put an end to the suffering of downstairs neighbors, there is the ‘floor shaker’ (also called ‘vibration motor’ 振动马达), an electrical device that can be attached to the ceiling and will drive your upstairs neighbors crazy by creating floor vibrations.

Image by 快资讯new.

The device was first sold on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao in 2015 as a “magical object” to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors and has become more popular over the past few years with many different online stores selling them. Its original intended use is actually not to torment neighbors; electric vibration motors are used in many different industrial applications, including in product quality control and mining operations.

Together with a supporting pole, a small zhènlóuqì can be placed against the ceiling. Once it is turned on (remote control included) the floor above the ceiling will start to shake.

Floor shaker advertisement.

Unsurprisingly, various social media stories and videos prove that the zhènlóuqì is not really the magical device it claims to be, as it often only worsens the relations between neighbors.

One video posted on Weibo recently showed security footage from a residential building where one man angrily came to the door of his downstairs neighbor with a long knife, asking if they had installed a ‘floor shaker.’ The woman at the door then answered that there’s always noise coming from his apartment, with him responding that all they hear every day is the vibrating of the floor shaker. The man’s partner then suddenly appears out of nowhere and the altercation turns into a physical fight.

Another story is that of Mrs. Chen who moved into a new apartment in Hangzhou in 2020 together with her husband, little son and mother-in-law. Although the family was leading a normal life without making a lot of noise, the downstairs neighbor kept complaining about their stomping and the moving of furniture. Although they tried to be as quiet as they could, the downstairs neighbor eventually installed a floor shaker which would be turned on every night from 8 pm to midnight. Besides the fact that the family was bothered by the shaking floor, the noise also stressed them out and affected their sleep.

A floor shaking device being inspected. Image via 163.com.

Although the use of the zhènlóuqì is not necessarily illegal in itself, it does create a noise problem and also might do damage to the structures of the buildings – enough reasons for neighbors to call the police when they think their downstairs neighbors have installed such a device.

This is probably also why zhènlóuqì has now been flagged as a ‘sensitive word’ on Taobao, although the device can still be bought under other names for approximately 168 yuan ($26). The device is often not advertised as ‘taking revenge on neighbors,’ but as an effective method to create a quiet home, picturing a sleeping baby or someone relaxing in bed while the zhènlóuqì is turned on.

Some ‘floor shaker’ models even come with wifi and an app, so users can turn it on via their smartphone and annoy their neighbors – even when they’re not home themselves.

Another ‘magical object’ that recently went viral on Chinese social media is an ‘anti-square-dancing device‘ that helps local residents find some peace and quiet when dancing grannies take over their public squares with loud music.

The device is a remote control that can stop any speaker at a distance of 50-80 meters, leading to much confusion among those dancing on the streets why their music keeps stopping.

Although installing a zhènlóuqì might lead to worsening relations between neighbors, there are many people on Weibo expressing the wish to buy one: “I am lying awake again because of the noise the upstairs lady is making, I really want to buy one!”

With the ‘floor shaker’ becoming more well-known, the threat of buying one hopefully should be enough to make a noisy upstairs neighbor calm down.

For those who feel installing such a device would definitely be too extreme, there is always the classic broom or even a special extendable soft hammer sold on Taobao – which is also much cheaper than the zhènlóuqì– to make your neighbors aware that they are being too loud.

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.

©2022 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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