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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 Celebs

Fandom Meets Matrimony: Sea of Brides at Roy Wang’s Concert as Female Fans Show Up in Wedding Gowns

After showing up as brides at Roy Wang’s concert, some female fans attempted to return their gowns within the store’s 7-day ‘No Questions Asked Return Policy’.

Manya Koetse

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A recent concert by Chinese celebrity Roy Wang (Wang Yuan 王源) has become a hot topic on Chinese social media as female fans attending the show collectively decided to wear wedding dresses to express their love for the singer.

Born in 2000, Roy Wang is best known as a member of the hugely popular TFboys idol group that debuted in 2013, but his solo career has also been thriving for years. Wang is an award-winning musician, who is now among China’s most influential young celebrities. On Weibo, he has nearly 85 million followers.

The sight of so many fans coming to Wang’s Chongqing concert wearing wedding dresses was already remarkable, but it garnered even greater attention when it turned out that some of the women’s boyfriends were so upset over their girlfriends wearing a wedding dress for another man that they ended the relationship because of it.

On Douyin (China’s TikTok), the related discussion made it to the top 5 trending daily topics list.

Female fans partying in their wedding dress. Photo posted on Weibo.

The story gained further traction when reports emerged that some female fans who had recently purchased wedding dresses for the concert attempted to return them to the store the next day, taking advantage of the store’s policy that allows returns within seven days without requiring a specific reason (7天无理由退货).

“I already wondered why business was suddenly booming,” one Chongqing wedding gown seller wrote on social media, complaining how the return policy was being abused by some of Roy Wang’s fans.

Others saw the fact that they wore the wedding dress to the concert as a unique selling point, and tried to resell their gowns online for more than the original price, claiming that the dress still had “a hint of the concert’s aroma.”

Scene of the concert.

Commenters bombarded these women with negative comments, as the topic also drew wider discussions on how far some fans are willing to go to show their love for their idols.

Some social media users expressed that a wedding dress has a symbolical or even sacred function, and that tying the concept of fandom to matrimony is inappropriate. They condemned the women for showing up to the concert as brides.

Given that many of the commenters criticizing the women were male, there were also feminist voices that condemned these men for their pettiness and chauvinistic attitudes. One comment stood out: “There will always be men whose ego is bruised when women they don’t even know won’t wear a wedding dress and save their chastity for them. Thanks to Roy Wang’s concert, I once again realize the diversity of species.”

In an online poll asking people “Can women only wear a wedding dress once in their lives” (#女生一生只能穿一次婚纱吗#) the majority of people replied that they should just wear whatever they like.

“My first thought is that this is romantic,” one popular entertainment blogging account (@娱大蜀黍) wrote: “My second thought is that it’s actually quite moving. In the midst of their youth, they are writing a passionate chapter for themselves. They will treasure it as a beautiful memory later on in life. They do what they love and they’re not bothering anyone. It’s perfectly fine.”

By Manya Koetse & Miranda Barnes

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©2023 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

“The Frog in the Well”: China’s Condemnation of the G7 Summit

The most noteworthy criticism of the G7 summit came from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, who started the frog analogy.

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There has been a lot of talk about frogs in Chinese online discussions following the G7 summit. Over the past week, the G7 summit, that was held in Hiroshima from 19 to 21 May, was criticized in Chinese newspaper headlines and by official media accounts, while China’s ministry of foreign affairs accused the G7 of “smearing” and “attacking” China.

The G7 was called a “failure” on the China Daily front page of May 22. On the same day, Global Times called the summit “manipulative” in its front page headline and suggested the Group of Seven had descended into an “anti-China workshop” in its op-ed, which featured an illustration by Liu Rui that showed the seven nations in a boat, not cooperating and barely moving.

The Global Times op-ed, including the cartoon by Li Rui. Source: Global Times.

But perhaps the most noteworthy criticism on the G7 summit came from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying (华春莹).

On her official Twitter account (@SpokespersonCHN) Hua lashed out against the G7 and its participating nations in a series of tweets in which she condemned the summit as hypocritical, deceptive, and biased, while highlighting China’s contributions to global economic growth.

Some of the tweets posted by Hua Chunying in response to the Group of Seven “attacking” and “slandering” China.

The Chinese condemnation of the G7 is a direct response to the G7 Communiqué and to the summit’s supposed “hype around China-related issues.”

During the G7 summit in Hiroshima, the participating nations expressed growing concerns about China’s expanding global influence. The summit’s official statement emphasized the need to “de-risk” rather than “de-couple” from China in their relationship. The statement mentioned China 20 times, a significant increase from the 14 mentions in 2022.

The discussions focused on various aspects related to China, including its relations with Taiwan, human rights issues in Xinjiang and Tibet, interference in democratic institutions, and responses to Russia’s military aggression.

Prior to the summit, President Emmanuel Macron of France made it clear through one of his advisers that the G7 was not an ‘anti-Chinese’ coalition. However, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom went beyond the official statement, emphasizing the significant threat posed by China to global security. Speaking to reporters at the G7 meeting, Sunak stated that “China poses the biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity. They are increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad.”

From China’s perspective, the Group of Seven is unwilling to go beyond their own distorted world view in which China is labeled a threat. And so, in one of Hua’s tweets, she posted an image showing a frog on the bottom a well, looking up to the sky and wondering: “G7 = world?”

The image tweeted out by Hua Chunying on 22 May, 2023. Source: Twitter.com.

The depiction of a frog in the well is a direct reference to the well-known fable by philosopher Zhuangzi about a frog in a well who does not believe it when a turtle tells him that the world is bigger than the view from the well. The frog stubbornly denies the existence of the wider world and asserts that nothing lies beyond what he can see. The fable has given rise to Chinese idioms such as “the frog at the bottom of the well” (井底之蛙) and “looking at the sky from the bottom of the well” (坐井观天). These idioms are commonly used to describe those who exhibit ignorance and resist broadening their understanding beyond their limited perspective.

Hua’s frog-tweet and others were also shared on Weibo by state media outlet China Daily, which initiated the hashtags “Hua Chunying Fires Back with Series of Tweets to Counter G7’s Smear Campaign Against China” (#华春莹连发多条推特回击G7抹黑中国言论#) and “Hua Chunying Uses Frog at Bottom of Well to Hit Back at G7’s Smearing Remarks” (#华春莹用井底之蛙回击G7抹黑言论#).

One nationalistic Weibo blogging account (@大大大餅乾丶) shared additional images of frogs, including one with a frog adorned with an American flag and the word “independence” written on its forehead. The blogger pointed out that some groups in Taiwan believed that Hua’s frog tweet was directed at Taiwan, stating: “It seems like their self-awareness is right on point.”

Post by Weibo account @大大大餅干丶, including the frog image. (Source: Weibo.com).

The connection between the frog idiom and Taiwan is not unfounded. In August 2022, during Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, an illustration depicting a frog leisurely relaxing in a hotpot while the US increased the heat and mainland China held the lid also went viral online.

Illustration by Kokita Chang, circulating on Weibo in August of 2022.

Meanwhile, on Weibo, many praised Hua’s sharp criticism of the way in which China was targeted during the G7 talks and embraced the frog analogy. “One a frog, always a frog,” some wrote.

Other state media outlets, including Global Times, also reported about Hua’s tweets and argued that that the G7 is purposely hyping the “China treat” theory (中国威胁论). The louder their anti-China rhetoric is, the less impact it has, the article argues.

Other commenters, however, seemed to note some irony in the frog analogy. One blogger argued that since the frog in the image himself wonders if the G7 is really the entire world, he actually already does not have such a limited worldview. Several Weibo users wondered who the frog actually represented, suggesting it could either be the G7, Taiwan, or mainland China itself.

Within this context, some individuals expressed curiosity about Hua Chunying’s choice to post the original message on the American Twitter platform, which is inaccessible within mainland China. They humorously remarked, “Twitter? What is Twitter?”

By Manya Koetse & Zilan Qian

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our 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.

©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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