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Chinese Woman Films Herself Eating Unbelievable Things, Netizens Call The Police

A series of videos showing a middle-aged woman eating unbelievable things from goldfish to light-bulbs has caused much concern on Sina Weibo, where netizens were so worried that they called the police.

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A series of videos showing a middle-aged woman eating unbelievable things from goldfish to lightbulbs has caused so much concern on Sina Weibo that netizens decided to call the police.

A woman who calls herself Foodie Fengjie (吃货凤姐) has attracted much attention on Chinese social media. Multiple videos showing the middle-aged woman eating various strange things, from cigarettes to pure wasabi, has got Chinese netizens worried about her health condition, with some people suspecting that she might be filmed under threat. Netizen’s phone calls to the local police have led to an investigation into the matter.

Foodie Fengjie: “Let’s eat something normal people cannot eat”

Kuaishou user Foodie Fengjie has become a trending topic on China’s social media. Kuaishou (快手) is an online platform where users can broadcast about their life via photos and short videos. According to her profile, Foodie Fengjie is a 48-year-old retired single woman with no kids. Her personal description reads: “Let’s eat something normal people cannot eat!”

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Fengjie named herself after online celebrity “Sister Feng” who gained fame in late 2009 for her outrageous actions and comments.

So what does Foodie Fengjie eat? The selection ranges from the disgusting to the scary: raw ginger, a bowl of instant noodles with 6 packs of wasabi, a whole plate of mealworms, goldfish, cactus, a living eel, light-bulbs… and the list goes on.

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The spectacle is broadcasted live every day at 20:00. By now, Foodie Fengjie has gained more than 1.5 million followers on the platform.

Netizens: “Could she be under threat? Police should investigate!”

While eating weird food might just be unusual, eating lightbulbs is a health hazard. Two of Foodie Fengjie’s photos also feature her with fireworks around her neck or in her hands, with a caption reading: “Oh my hand bled!”

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The woman’s videos and these images stirred netizens’ concern about the woman’s mental and physical condition. It also brought suspicion on the motives behind these videos. Many suspected that the young man shooting the video, presumably a family member of the woman, was threatening her.

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One user of Kuaishou messaged the woman during the live broadcasting: “If you are under threat, please let us know by blinking three times”. In the screen shot of this message, the woman looked serious and had just taken off her glasses.

The issue turned many Chinese netizens into ‘Sherlock Holmes’, paying close attention to the woman’s every move and expression – analyzing the curling of her lips and the movement of her eyes to detect whether or not the woman was being forced.

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On Sina Weibo, the issue immediately received 100 million viewers under the topic “#middle-aged woman suspected to film herself against her own will#” (#大妈疑似被迫录视频#).

Some netizens decided to do more than just discuss the issue, and contacted the police. On June 3rd the local police in Handan (Hebei province), where Foodie Fengjie resides, received multiple reports from netizens, after which they immediately launched an investigation.

Police: “Plot to gain online attention”

Handan police turned out to be very efficient in their work; just 6 hours after announcing investigation, an initial report was released:

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… according to primary investigation of Handan police, the middle-aged woman in the video (Chen, age 45, Congtai region) and the suspected young man (Wu, age 24, Congtai region) are mother and son. Chen is found to be in good health; there are no visible injuries. The two people told the police that they planned, shot and published many videos of “eating strange food” on the Kuaishou platform to attract netizen’s attention and increase their viewer ratings. The police has gathered props like ‘processed cactus’ and pepper powder. Further investigation will be conducted.

Foodie Fengjie herself also released a video to clarify the matter. In her video, she thanked netizens for their concern, but clarified that she was not being kidnapped or threatened. She introduced her older nephew who made the videos for her. Later in the video, Foodie Fengjie turned the camera to herself, and announced to netizens, “I am a free person. Thank you for your concerns. I will continue broadcasting funny videos tonight”.

Chinese netizens still skeptical   

After the police report and Foodie Fengjie’s clarification, some netizens appear to be reassured that the videos were just for attention, that no one was being threatened, and that the cactus she ate was fake.

But not everybody is satisfied. Above all, many netizens notice that although police declared the young man to be the woman’s son, the woman in her own video introduced him as “older nephew” (大外甥). For now, there is no theory to explain this discrepancy.

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Some netizens also suspect the clarification video to be a coerced one: “In the last scenes of herself, she keeps looking upwards. She must be looking at her nephew. She didn’t make this voluntarily”, remarked one netizen.

There are many people requesting further police investigation. One netizen says: “Please investigate them separately. A simple visit won’t reveal anything. What’s more, even if they are mother and son, I hope the police can give the son some good education, and take the woman to a hospital for a thorough check-up. Videos of this nature should be prohibited!”

The fact that people are willing to go to extremes to attract online attention is also criticized. “(Individual) online videos are growing like crazy”, remarked a lawyer on Sina Weibo: “People will do everything to increase viewer ratings”.

“Kuaishou simply is for a bunch of mindless online celebrities with twisted values”, said another netizen.

Although the matter is not entirely cleared up yet, this issue at least shows that netizens are willing to go from the virtual world to the real world to take action if they feel that things are not right.

It is unclear what the local police will do with the case now – but China’s netizens surely are hungry for more information.

Update: During June 4th, most of Foodie Fengjie’s video’s were deleted and her Kuaishou account now seems to have been closed.

– By Diandian Guo

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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China Brands & Marketing

The Price is Not Right: Corn Controversy Takes over Chinese Social Media

It’s corn! The “6 yuan corn” debate just keeps going.

Manya Koetse

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Recently there have been fierce discussions on Chinese social media about the price of corn after e-commerce platform Oriental Selection (东方甄选) started selling ears of corn for 6 yuan ($0.80) per piece.

The controversy caught the public’s attention when the famous Kuaishou livestreamer Simba (辛巴, real name Xin Youzhi), who has labeled himself as a ‘farmer’s son,’ criticized Oriental Selection for their corn prices.

Founded in 2021, Oriental Selection is an agricultural products e-commerce platform under New Oriental Online. In its company mission statement, Oriental Selection says its intention is to “help farmers” by providing the channels to sell their high-quality agricultural goods to online consumers.

Simba suggested that Oriental Selection was being deceitful by promising to help farmers while selling their corn for a relatively high price. According to Simba, they were just scamming ordinary people by selling an ear of corn that is worth 0.70 yuan ($0.10) for 6 yuan ($0.80), and also not really helping the farmers while taking 40% of their profits.

‘Sales king’ Xin Youzhi, aka Simba, was the one who started the current corn controversy.

During one of the following livestreams, Oriental Selection’s host Dong Yuhui (董宇辉) – who also happens to be a farmer’s son – responded to the remarks and said there was a valid reason for their corn to be priced “on the high side.” Simba was talking about corn in general, including the kind being fed to animals, while this is high-quality corn that is already worth 2 yuan ($0.30) the moment it is harvested.

Despite the explanation, the issue only triggered more discussions on the right price for corn and about the fuzzy structure of the agricultural e-commerce livestreaming business.

Is it really too expensive to sell corn for 6 yuan via livestreaming?

The corn supplier, the Chinese ‘Northeast Peasant Madame’ brand (东北农嫂), is actually selling their own product for 3.6 yuan ($0.50) – is that an honest price? What amount of that price actually goes to the farmers themselves?

‘Northeast Peasant Madame’ brand (东北农嫂).

One person responding to this issue via her Tiktok channel is the young farmer Liu Meina (刘美娜), who explained that Simba’s suggested “0.70 yuan per corn” was simply unrealistic, saying since it does not take the entire production process into account, including maintenance, packaging, transportation, and delivery.

Another factor mentioned by netizens is the entertainment value added to e-commerce by livestreaming channels. Earlier this year, Oriental Selection’s host Dong Yuhui and his colleagues became an online hit for adding an educational component to their livestreaming sessions.

These hosts were actually previously teachers at New Oriental. Facing a crackdown on China’s after-school tutoring, the company ventured into different business industries and let these former teachers go online to sell anything from peaches to shrimp via livestreaming, teaching some English while doing so (read more here). So this additional value of livestream hosts entertaining and educating their viewers should also be taken into account when debating the price of corn. Some call it “Dong Yuhui Premium” (“董宇辉溢价”).

Dong Yuhui (董宇辉) is one of the livestreamers that have turned New Oriental’s e-commerce into a viral hit.

In light of all the online discussions and controversy, netizens discovered that Oriental Selection is currently no longer selling corn (#东方甄选回应下架玉米#), which also became a trending topic on Weibo on September 29.

But the corn controversy does not end here. On September 28, Chinese netizens discovered that corn by the ‘Northeast Peasant Madame’ brand (东北农嫂) was being sold for no less than 8.5 yuan ($1.2) at the Pangdonglai supermarket chain (胖东来), going well beyond the price of Oriental Selection.

Trying to avoid a marketing crisis, the Pangdonglai chain quickly recalled its corn, stating there had been an issue with the supply price that led to its final store price becoming too high. That topic received over 160 million views on Weibo on Friday (#胖东来召回8.5元玉米#).

Behind all these online discussions are consumer frustrations about an untransparent market where the field of agricultural products has become more crowded and with more people taking a share, including retailers, e-commerce platforms, and livestreaming apps. Moreover, they often say they are “helping farmers” while they are actually just making money themselves.

One Weibo user commented: “Currently, ‘helping farmers’ is completely different from the original intention of ‘helping farmers.’ Right now, it’s not about helping farmers anymore, but about helping the companies who have made agricultural products their business.”

“I bought a corn at a street shop today for 4 yuan ($0.55),” one Weibo blogger wrote: “It was big, sweet, and juicy, the quality was good and it was tasty – and people are still making money off of it. So yes, 6 yuan for a corn is certainly too expensive.”

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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China Brands & Marketing

Young Chinese Woman Dies at Haidilao Hotpot Restaurant

The woman allegedly choked while having beef tripe.

Manya Koetse

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On September 8, a woman from Putian in Fujian Province unexpectedly passed away while having hotpot at a Haidilao restaurant in a local mall.

The incident went trending on Chinese social media on Thursday, with the hashtags “Woman Suddenly Passes Away While Having Haidilao Hotpot” (#女孩海底捞吃火锅意外身亡#) and “Haidilao Responds to Female Customer Passing Away During Dinner” (#海底捞回应女顾客就餐时身亡#) receiving 50 million and 300 million views respectively.

According to various Chinese news reports, the 21-year-old woman had just finished eating beef tripe, the edible lining from the cow stomach, and drank some water after which she suddenly became unwell.

Footage circulating on Chinese social media shows how restaurant staff gave first aid to the woman by performing the Heimlich maneuver while emergency workers were underway.

Although it is rumored the young woman choked on the tripe, this has not yet been confirmed as an investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. The Haidilao restaurant where the incident happened is currently closed, and Haidilao responded that they are deeply saddened and will do all they can to fully cooperate with the police to investigate the case.

Haidilao (海底捞) is one of China’s most popular restaurant chains serving authentic Sichuan hotpot, a dining style where fresh meat and vegetables are dipped in simmering broth. Besides its tasty hotpot and wide selection of ingredients and drinks, Haidilao is known for its high-quality service. The staff is thoroughly trained in providing the best customer service, and Haidilao has introduced new concepts throughout the years to enhance the customer experience.

Haidilao is a very reputable company and is known to respond quickly to avert social media crises (example here and here).

As the story goes trending, many Chinese netizens point out the choking hazard of beef tripe. One lung doctor (@呼吸科大夫胡洋) also responded to the incident, suggesting that the Heimlich maneuver might not have been life-saving in this case since beef tripe is long and soft and could block the respiratory tract if the Heimlich maneuver is performed while the person is standing up, since it could potentially cause the tripe to go deeper instead of being pushed out.

The doctor recommends in these kind of emergency situations that if possible, for a chance of survival, the person could then be placed into an upside down, upper body down position for the Heimlich maneuver.

Other doctors on Weibo also use this moment to provide more information about how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Many online commenters think Haidilao is not necessarily to blame for what happened. “Judging from the video, the staff was quick and correct in their response. As for why the woman could not have been rescued, we’ll have to wait for the final reports.”

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.

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