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China Memes & Viral

Woman’s “Go Back to China!” Rant Draws Mixed Reactions on Weibo

Manya Koetse

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A video that shows a woman in Toronto telling Chinese shop asssistants to “go back to China” for not speaking English is widely discussed on Chinese social media. Anti-Chinese or anti-Asian racism has become a recurring topic of debate on Weibo recently.

Over the past week, the video of a woman berating employees at a Chinese shop in Toronto for not speaking English has gone viral on Facebook. The video was posted on June 2 by a teenager named Frank Hong. The video has received over 1,3 million views on Facebook and over 126,000 views on YouTube.

The original post by Frank Hong.

“This is Canada, English-first country,” the woman tells the staff: “If you’re gonna work here, it is the law to know English.”

Several media point out that, according to the Official Languages Acts, there is actually no law requiring private workplaces to employ English speakers. Only employees at federal institutions need to provide service in French or English.

 

“There are so many foreigners living in China who do not speak a word of Chinese!”

 

“It is the law to know English, and you know that,” the woman continues in the video. When other customers offer the woman to translate for her (“It’s okay, we can help”), she says: “I would like to buy food, but these people should speak (..) It’s not okay that you can help.”

The original video, posted by Frank Hong.

Her rant continues: “All these people working here, the law states you need to speak English. If not, then go back to China.”

Earlier last week, the video was also shared on Chinese social media (with Chinese subtitles) by various media. It received thousands of shares and mixed comments from Chinese netizens.

On Weibo, many commenters respond with anger and sarcasm. One person said: “So now we can also start telling foreigners in China ‘you’re in the Celestial Empire, now you need to speak Mandarin’.”

“There are so many foreigners living in China who do not speak a word of Chinese!”, a typical comment said.

“This woman is just making trouble for no reason. This is probably a Chinese shop that mainly has Chinese customers, so the staff doesn’t speak English. She could just get another customer to help her order. If she doesn’t like it, she shouldn’t go there.”

 

“If this is required by law, then she is right.”

 

But there were also many netizens who showed some understanding from the woman. Most Chinese media outlets sharing this video did not mention anything about the woman’s false claims regarding the requirement to speak English in Canadian shops; many netizens assumed her claim was right.

“If this is required by law, then she is right,” many wrote.

“What kind of law is this, isn’t this foolish?” some wondered.

“These are shop assistants, and language is the most important part of their service. Even if this is in a Chinese area, it is still Canada,” one comment said.

“I think the media hyped this a bit,” one person wrote: “And I don’t understand Canadian law. But suppose you want to pay at the supermarket and there’s only a foreigner speaking French, what would you do? This woman should not act so rude to the cashier, but should find the person in charge of the supermarket instead. Her main idea is right, but she has a problem with her character.”

 

“One word says it all: Asian.”

 

Recently, the discrimination of (ethnic) Chinese and Asian people in western countries have often become trending topics in China. In April, the removal of a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked outrage worldwide, but especially stirred controversy on Chinese social media for its alleged racist motives.

The concerning passenger, Dr. David Dao, was initially thought to be Chinese-American. He was later was confirmed to be Vietnamese-American. The US-Chinese comedian Joe Wong connected the incident to racism against Chinese on his Weibo post, which received over 15,000 shares.

Joe Wong on Weibo: “Picked to get off the airplane because of ethnic Chinese heritage.”

Another 2017 incident that sparked anger was that of a Korean-American woman whose Airbnb stay was abruptly canceled by her host just minutes before arriving. The host, who has since been banned, texted: “One word says it all: Asian.”

The racist Airbnb conversation that went viral in April of 2017.

The woman’s tearful video report soon also made its rounds on Sina Weibo.

A month earlier, in March of 2017, a video of a woman hitting a Chinese man on a New York bus also made headlines. The woman reportedly said “I hate Chinese people.”

In May, Argentina international soccer player Ezequiel Lavezzi was slammed over a photograph in which he does a slanted eyes pose. The soccer star plays for Chinese club Hebei China Fortune. He later apologized for the picture.

By Manya Koetse

©2017 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 Brands & Marketing

About Lipstick King’s Comeback and His ‘Mysterious’ Disappearance

After Li Jiaqi’s return to livestreaming, the ‘tank cake incident’ has become the elephant in the room on social media.

Manya Koetse

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Earlier this week, the return of China’s famous livestreamer Li Jiaqi, also known as the ‘Lipstick King’, became a hot topic on Chinese social media where his three-month ‘disappearance’ from the social commerce scene triggered online discussions.

He is known as Austin Li, Lipstick King, or Lipstick Brother, but most of all he is known as one of China’s most successful e-commerce livestreaming hosts.

After being offline for over 100 days, Li Jiaqi (李佳琦) finally came back and did a livestreaming session on September 20th, attracting over 60 million viewers and selling over $17 million in products.

The 30-year-old beauty influencer, a former L’Oreal beauty consultant, rose to fame in 2017 after he became a successful livestreamer focusing on lipstick and other beauty products.

Li broke several records during his live streaming career. In 2018, he broke the Guinness World Record for “the most lipstick applications in 30 seconds.” He once sold 15000 lipsticks in 5 minutes, and also managed to apply 380 different lipsticks in another seven-hour live stream session. Li made international headlines in 2021 when he sold $1.9 billion in goods during a 12-hour-long promotion livestream for Alibaba’s shopping festival.

But during a Taobao livestream on June 3rd of this year, something peculiar happened. After Li Jiaqi and his co-host introduced an interestingly shaped chocolate cake – which seemed to resemble a tank, – a male assistant in the back mentioned something about the sound of shooting coming from a tank (“坦克突突”).

Although Li Jiaqi and the others laughed about the comment, Li also seemed a bit unsure and the woman next to him then said: “Stay tuned for 23:00 to see if Li Jiaqi and I will still be in this position.”

The session then suddenly stopped, and at 23:38 that night Li wrote on Weibo that the channel was experiencing some “technical problems.”

But those “technical problems” lasted, and Li did not come back. His June 3rd post about the technical problems would be the last one on his Weibo account for the months to come.

The ‘cake tank incident’ (坦克蛋糕事件) occurred on the night before June 4, the 33rd anniversary of the violent crackdown of the Tiananmen student demonstrations. The iconic image of the so-called ‘tank man‘ blocking the tanks at Tiananmen has become world famous and is censored on China’s internet. The control of information flows is especially strict before and on June 4, making Li’s ‘tank cake incident’ all the more controversial.

But no official media nor the official Li Jiaqi accounts acknowledged the tank cake incident, and his absence remained unexplained. Meanwhile, there was a silent acknowledgment among netizens that the reason Li was not coming online anymore was related to the ‘tank cake incident.’

During Li’s long hiatus, fans flocked to his Weibo page where they left thousands of messages.

“I’m afraid people have been plotting against you,” many commenters wrote, suggesting that the cake was deliberately introduced by someone else during the livestream as a way to commemorate June 4.

Many fans also expressed their appreciation of Li, saying how watching his streams helped them cope with depression or cheered them up during hard times. “What would we do without you?” some wrote. Even after 80 days without Li Jiaqi’s livestreams, people still commented: “I am waiting for you every day.”

On September 21st, Li Jiaqi finally – and somewhat quietly – returned and some people said they were moved to see their lipstick hero return to the livestream scene.

Although many were overjoyed with Li’s return, it also triggered more conversations on why he had disappeared and what happened to him during the 3+ months of absence. “He talked about a sensitive topic,” one commenter said when a Weibo user asked about Li’s disappearance.

One self-media accountpublished a video titled “Li Jiaqi has returned.” The voiceover repeatedly asks why Li would have disappeared and even speculates about what might have caused it, without once mentioning the tank cake.

“This cracks me up,” one commenter wrote: “On the outside we all know what’s going on, on the inside there’s no information whatsoever.”

“It’s tacit mutual understanding,” some wrote. “It’s the elephant in the room,” others said.

Some people, however, did not care about discussing Li’s disappearance at all anymore and just expressed joy about seeing him again: “It’s like seeing a good friend after being apart for a long time.”

By Manya Koetse 

Elements in the featured image by @karishea and @kaffeebart.

 

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China and Covid19

Happiest Lockdown in China: Guests Undergo Mandatory Quarantine at Shanghai Disneyland Hotel

“I wish I could be quarantined at Disney too!” The Shanghai Disney hotel apparently is the happiest place to get locked in.

Manya Koetse

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While many cities across China are experiencing new (partial) lockdowns and millions of people are confined to their homes, there was also a group of people that had to undergo mandatory quarantine at a very special place: the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.

On September 7, social media posts started surfacing online from people who said they were required to quarantine while they were at the Shanghai Disneyland hotel. Disneyland reportedly had received a notification from the local health authorities that a visitor who previously stayed at the Disneyland hotel was found to be a close contact of a newly confirmed Covid case.

In line with the Center for Disease Control requirements, Disney created a ‘closed loop system’ by locking in all hotel residents and staff members and doing daily Covid tests. While the Disneyland theme park was open as usual, the hotel became a temporary isolation site where people’s health would be monitored for the next few days while all staff members would also be screened.

During their mandatory quarantine, guests stayed at the hotel for free and did not need to pay for their rooms. Room prices at the Shanghai Disneyland hotel start at around 3000 yuan/night ($433).

Some guests shared photos of their Disneyland quarantine stay on social media, showing how Disney staff provided them with free breakfast, lunch, a surprise afternoon tea, delicious dinner, fun snacks, and Disney toys and stickers.

On the Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) app, one Shanghai Disney visitor (nickname @恶霸小提莫) wrote: “We have three meals a day, there is both Chinese and Western-style breakfast, we also get afternoon tea and desserts, they have shrimp, beef, scallops, drinks, French macarons, yogurt, ice cream, and much more. We watched so many Disney movies for free. We are given so many little gifts, they brought us gifts twice today as they also brought us toy figures at night. We watch the fireworks from our windows every night at 8.30 pm. Although we weren’t allowed to go out, we really had a pleasant stay.”

Another Disney guest named Zoea (Xiaohongshu ID: yiya0313) also shared many photos of the mandatory quarantine and wrote: “When the staff knocked on the door to tell me they were bringing dinner, I even wondered how it was possible that they brought food again. Afternoon tea during quarantine, can you believe it? And fruit before dinner? And midnight snacks brought to us after dinner? And it was so nice to watch all the Disney movies on tv. Disney really is the most magical place.”

“I’m just so happy,” another locked-in Disney guest posted on social media, sharing pictures of Mickey Mouse cakes.

Other guests also posted about their experiences on social media. “They probably feared we would get bored so they brought us glue, stickers, and painting brushes, the kids loved it and so did we!”

Reading about the happy quarantine at Disney, many Weibo users responded that they envied the guests, writing: “I wish I could be quarantined at Disney too.”

“I need to find a way to get in, too,” others wrote.

Earlier this year, one Chinese woman shared her story of being quarantined inside a hotpot restaurant for three days. Although many people also envied the woman, who could eat all she wanted during her stay, she later said she felt like she had enough hotpot for the rest of her life.

By Manya Koetse 

 

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