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China Memes & Viral

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 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

Prohibited to Promote Top Students, Chinese Schools Are Praising their Excellent ‘Fruit’ Instead

Who knew Chinese schools were so good at harvesting fruit?

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It is that time of the year again: China’s gaokao results are in. Chinese schools that are proud of their top-scoring students would like to scream it from the rooftops, but they are banned from doing so. So they are now posting about their very successful fruit production instead.

This week, the scores came out for China’s gaokao (高考), the National Higher Education Entrance Examinations that took place earlier this months.

The exams are a prerequisite for entering China’s higher education institutions and are taken by students in their last year of senior high school. Scoring high grades for this exam can give high school students access to a better college, which enlarges their chances of obtaining a good job after graduation.

Those who succeed in becoming top scorers in their field and area are known as the gāokǎo zhuàngyuán (高考状元, ‘gaokao champions’). Gaokao champions are usually widely praised, not just by families and friends, but also by their hometowns and schools for which the top-scoring students are their pride and unique selling point.

But since 2018, as explained in this article, it is prohibited for Chinese media and schools to give publicity to gaokao top scorers. The Chinese Ministry of Education banned the promotion of top achievers in line with Xi Jinping Thought, emphasizing the value of equality and sociability instead.

This year, local authorities again reiterated the message that in order to set the right example and “establish the correct orientation of education,” the hyping up of school exam results and publishing top score rankings are strictly prohibited.

Because of the Ministry of Education guidelines, schools can not openly flaunt the successes of their top scorers, but some have found creative ways to do so anyway.

“Of a batch of 1320 ripe mango’s, there are over hundred weighing more than 600 grams,” one school in Guangxi’s Nanning wrote. The ‘weight’ refers to the score, with 600 being a very high score (the maximum score is usually 750, depending on the field and area). “”[We] picked a mango weighing as much as 696 grams, the king of Qinzhou fruit. Two fruit dealers in the capital have already heard of it and are eager to take it.”

Besides mango’s, there were also other schools mentioning their successful production of ‘plums or peaches.’

One blog by Jiangchacha (姜茶茶) listed various examples of schools boasting about their ‘fruit harvest’ in social media posts.

The blog explained that some schools in Guangxi used the mango metaphor because Guangxi has some of the country’s largest mango-producing regions. Meanwhile, the word for ‘peaches and plums’ in Chinese (桃李) also refers to one’s pupils or disciples.

Another school’s post said: “It is harvest season (..), and the campus is fragrant with peaches and plums, and fruitful results!”, adding that “a total of 2400 high quality peaches and plums have been harvested, and over 93% are of high quality!”

There was also one school that mentioned other schools were below them in scores, writing that its “excellence rate” was “clearly ahead of the three other big gardens on the east coast.”

“Our king peach weighs no less than 689 grams,” another school announced. There were also schools that did not discuss fruit but were making references to fish, trees, and high-speed trains instead.

The issue of schools reporting their ‘harvest’ became a trending topic on Weibo, where some found it very funny. But others also voiced criticism that schools cannot publish about some of their students being gāokǎo zhuàngyuán, top scorers.

“There is nothing to hide, the exam scores are the result of hard work by both the teachers and students,” one popular comment said, with others replying: “Why wouldn’t you announce the scores? It might inspire other students!”

“This entire guideline is just nonsense,” another typical comment said.

Meanwhile, some netizens suggested that Sichuan schools could use pandas as a metaphor for their top scorers, while Chongqing could use chili peppers next year, with others suggesting other types of fruit that could be used in these ‘covered-up’ gaokao score publications. It’s bound to be another fruitful year in 2023.

Want to read more about gaokao? Check out more related articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

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Photo by Bangyu Wang on Unsplash

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©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

Chinese Twin Sisters Switched Identities to Illegally Travel Abroad over 30 Times

The lookalike sisters thought it was “convenient” to use each other’s passport to travel to Japan, Russia, Thailand and other countries.

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Weibo Shorts are concise articles on topics that are currently trending. This article was first published

On June 27, a local public security bureau in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, released a press statement regarding the peculiar case of twin sisters who used each other’s identity to travel abroad over thirty times.

The two Zhou sisters, *Hong and *Wei (pseudonyms), started switching identities when Hong’s husband, a Japanese national, returned to Japan. Hong wanted to join her husband in Japan, but her visa application was repeatedly denied due to not meeting the requirements.

Hong then decided to use her sister’s travel documents to travel to Japan to see her husband various times. She reportedly also used her sister’s passport to travel to Russia. She ended up traveling between China, Russia, and Japan at least thirty times.

Wei, who reportedly thought this way of switching identities was “convenient”, also used her sister’s passport to travel to Thailand and some other countries on four different occasions.

After authorities found out what the sisters had been up to earlier in 2022, they were advised in May to return back to China. While the case is still under investigation, the sisters are now being held for the criminal offense of border management obstruction.

The case went trending in the hot-search topic list on Weibo, where many people are wondering how this could have happened so many times. “If you exit and enter the country, aren’t fingerprints collected?”, some wondered, with others saying the border technological systems were apparently not good enough to detect such identity fraud.

There were also those who thought the story was quite “amazing” and sounded “like the plot of a television series.”

By Manya Koetse

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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