Connect with us

China Celebs

“Wow I’m So Fast!” – Olympic Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Becomes Chinese Internet Sensation

Chinese Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui has become a sensation on Chinese social media after she finished third in the women’s 100m backstroke in Rio de Janeiro on August 7. More than for her swimming skills, the 20-year-old athlete is praised for her funny expressions and down-to-earth attitude.

Published on

Chinese Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui has become a sensation on Chinese social media after she finished third in the women’s 100m backstroke in Rio de Janeiro on August 7. More than for her swimming skills, the 20-year-old athlete is praised for her funny expressions and down-to-earth attitude.

The Summer Olympics in Rio have been a trending topic on Chinese social media for the past week. Among all matches and athletes, a 20-year-old girl swimmer, Fu Yuanhui (@傅园慧) has just won the hearts of tens of thousands of netizens for her sincere and funny remarks after the women’s 100m backstroke.

In the semi-finals of the women 100m backstroke on August 7, Fu Yuanhui ranked third with a time of “58,95, which means she will participate in the finals on August 9.


Fu Yuanhui, born in 1996 in Hangzhou, is a female swimmer in the Chinese national team. Fu also competed in the 2012 London Olympics and won the 50-metre backstroke at the World Aquatics Championship in 2015. She is an internationally-ranked backstroke specialist.

After the semi-finals, Fu Yuanhui became a hot topic on Chinese social media, included in the top 3 hot searches list of Sina Weibo. Her popularity on the social media network is not all thanks to her swimming performance in the match – it is mainly for the interview she gave afterward.

[Check out subtitled version of the interview here.]

The interview with Fu Yuanhui after the 100m backstroke semi-finals.

At hearing her result, Fu exclaimed with surprise and delight: “58,95 ? ! I thought I did 59 seconds! Wow! Am I so fast? I am very pleased!” She told the journalist that she was not “holding back” but that she has used all of her “mystical powers” (洪荒之力, literally: power strong enough to change the universe).

She also said this was her best result and that she had been working long and hard for this result. When asked if she had high expectations for the finals, Fu answered with a bright smile, “Not at all! I am already very pleased!”

Immediately after the interview, many netizens expressed their affection for Fu, whom they titled “the comedian in the swimming profession” (泳界谐星). The interview video was shared thousands of times within 24 hours, receiving 10,000s comments. Emoticons and caricature figures of Fu followed within no time, turning the swimming star into a popular meme, with netizens posting pioctures of themselves copying Fu’s facial expressions.

6c9e4944gw1f6mvtbkmwmj20qo0r8wj2“I don’t have high expectations for tomorrow, I am already very pleased!”

swimmers2By comic author Ding Yichen (@丁一晨DYC)

005xPCfggw1f6mv62759hj30uo16mqliNetizens copying Fu’s facial expressions.

Many netizens praise Fu as “simple and non-pretentious” (单纯不做作). Some felt her funny expressions and genuine delight were a breath of fresh air compared to most Chinese athletes who often talk about their achievements in a much more serious manner. Her down-to-earth attitude about the finals also won the sympathy of many netizens.

By now, Fu has over 1.8 million followers on her official Weibo account.


“She is my goddess,” one netizen says: “I think everyone will love her after seeing the interview.”

8d03fe5fgw1f6mw8f9l72j20j60gtwgdOne of the many images being shared on Weibo, saying: “I am so happy!”

-By Diandian Guo

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


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.



  1. Jesús

    August 9, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Wow! I didn’t knew that chinese people knew to smile, so now i got hope the Chinese will be a little more humans well, all will must to be more…

    Congratulations to Fu! perhaps she isn’t the most beautifull woman in the earth, but she has a brightness that it becomes her in a very very pretty woman ^^


    Hi from Spain! ; ) Bye and kisses

    • Thomas

      August 9, 2016 at 7:37 am

      visit China sometime, there is a lot of smiling going on, also crying, jumping form joy and basically all emotions that you have is Spain also ;-P

      • Jesús

        August 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        I know XDD . Everything was an irony : P . But I do not think I ever wander through China, at least in this life because , if it costs me support to my country , I do not think I feel better surrounded by a population with so different from my culture and so hermetic mentality such as Chinese .

        Sorry if my commentary is offensive for someone, it isn’t my think.

        • 你爷爷

          August 9, 2016 at 11:05 pm

          fuck you, bitch, Spanish white pig. Sorry, if my commentary is offensive for someone, it isn’t my think.

          • chao

            August 9, 2016 at 11:29 pm

            you make me feel shamed…. do not be raciest, please. I believe this Mr. Jesus is a friendly guy.

          • Liuxing Shen

            August 10, 2016 at 3:06 am

            Respect personal choice!

          • Siline

            August 10, 2016 at 11:33 am

            Your reaction is quite humiliating. Please think before you post. Even if you don’t get his humor and misunderstand, an appropriate reaction will be appreciated. Especially, people might think you represent CHINESE!

          • joshwu

            August 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm

            You’re such an obscenity of Chinese nation, just go home and die quietly. You make hundreds of millions of overseas Chinese

          • 你爷爷

            August 11, 2016 at 12:42 am

            I post the previous comment because I don’t take “hermetic mentality” as a compliment, neither does “surrounded by population”, also “a little more human” made me feel offended. If declaring to apologize to whom feel uncomfortable after a long paragraph of ironic saying could be taken as “friendly”, I’m also friendly due to my same sentence posted after my racism curse. And to Joshwu, if you could not express yourself in English, use the dictionary, if you are lazy, just using Chinse.

    • Deus Vult

      August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am

      gas yourself you fucking spic

      • Jesús

        August 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        No mereces que nadie pierda el tiempo respondiéndote…

    • Robert

      August 10, 2016 at 2:13 am

      Miss you ass,humiliate our Chinese citizen

  2. Northest

    August 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    She’s such a optimistic girl. Hope Chinese athletes can be more funny like her.

    I’m from China and just saw this on Reddit. Thanks for sharing this. Good translation. 🙂

  3. Cindy

    August 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

    This is adorable! I hope she does well in the finals. 🙂

    • xingfenzhen

      August 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      she won brozne, and she was jumping and down (and bronze and silver medalist all serious looking), so much you would have though she won gold.

      • Norha

        August 11, 2016 at 4:42 am

        haha..she really is cute, isn’t she?

  4. sreb

    August 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Congratulations! She’s fantastic– a genuine young athlete who did not allow the publicity and hype to go to her head. Here’s to continued success in the future.

  5. Leonardo França Ribeiro

    August 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Todos no Brasil a amamos <3 ela é uma pessoa super Gentil, brincalhona e super simpatica, suas reações foram muito engraçadas, com certeza Fu Yuanhui sera a atleta dessas olimpiadas 2016. Esperamos ve-la com muitas medalhas de ouro, você trouxe muitas alegrias pra todos nos. beijos de todo o Brasil FU Yuanhui nós te adoramos ^^

    All in Brazil love <3 she's a super person Gentle, playful and super simpatica, their reactions were very funny, certainly Fu Yuanhui will be the athlete of these Olympics 2016. We hope to see it with many gold medals, you brought many joys for all of us. kisses from all over Brazil FU Yuanhui we love you ^^
    sorry English terrible but I only speak Portuguese

  6. Jamesglype

    August 25, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Новый Автоломбард на Коломенской предлагает займы практически под любые суммы,
    вы получите деньги всего за 30 минут: приезжайте, и получайте!

    Нужны средства на достойное проведение отпуска? Не проблема!
    Всё, что для этого нужно – это Ваш паспорт, ПТС, и свидетельство о регистрации.

    Выдаём суммы до трёх с половиной миллионов рублей.
    Никаких бюрократических сложностей и лишних вопросов.
    Мы выдаем деньги под залог автомобиля, мотоцикла, квадроцикла и других транспортных средств.

    Добро пожаловать!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

China Arts & Entertainment

Why Weibo and Chinese Celebrities Are Put into the Naughty Corner by China’s Cyberspace Administration

Weibo and online celebrities are punished by Internet regulators for spreading ‘vulgar content’, but netizens bear the brunt.

Published on

Image by

China’s central Internet regulator has summoned Sina Weibo to keep its information flows under control, punishing the platform by closing down its hot search lists and trending topic lists for the time to come. Sina Weibo has reacted with self-criticism and has exposed Chinese celebrities allegedly buying their way to the top.

There is an empty space on the right sidebar of the Sina Weibo platform this week. Where users of China’s biggest microblogging website usually see a ‘top trending’ list of the most popular topics or the most searched hashtags on the right sidebar, they now see an advertisement with nothing below it.

The change is the result of the reprimands Sina Weibo received this week from the Cyberspace Administration, China’s central Internet regulator, over the company’s “failure to censor illegal information posted by its users” and spreading of “vulgar content,” according to state media outlet Xinhua News.

Weibo Gets Punished

As punishment for Weibo’s ‘incapability’ to keep its information flows under control, the Cyberspace Administration issued a weeklong ban on the site’s “most searched hashtags” and “hottest topics” lists, until Saturday, February 3.

Another penalty was also announced: Sina Weibo’s hot lists cannot contain dozens of names and topics specified on an issued list for a period of at least three months.

On January 28, Weibo’s Administrator (@微博管理员) announced the recent measures and published a list of celebrity names that can no longer hit the ‘most popular’ charts on Weibo for the time to come.

One of the reasons mentioned for the ban is that these celebrities would allegedly buy their way to the top trending lists on Weibo. Weibo’s Administrator writes:

As the largest social media platform in China, we know that Weibo should have higher standards and greater responsibility. Based on our deep understanding for the notification of the concerning departments, we will carry out a thorough self-examination and self-correction, and will strictly carry out reforming measures to ensure we meet the goal. We will increase the cooperation with the formal media, and upgrade the Quality of Service of our content. With more technology and manpower, we will improve our management of illegal and harmful information, and maintain the order within the online informaton and preserve a good [online] environment.

In August 2016, Chinese authorities already announced that they would strictly guard against hyping private affairs and family conflicts of internet celebrities and the rich and famous. The announcement followed after the divorce of Chinese actor Wang Baoqian became one of the most discussed topics of all time on Weibo and Wechat.

Battling Flawed Algorithms?

On January 28, Weibo’s Administrator issued another statement that said that Weibo’s hot trending lists should be a reflection of the actual topics gaining most attention amongst netizens, but that companies and entertainment enterprises have found ways to influence these lists.

On Monday, Financial Times also reiterated that Chinese digital agencies are selling fake rankings on Weibo’s “hot topics” list.

Besides buying targeted marketing space on Weibo, which is actually clearly marked as third-party advertising, companies and celebrities can get a hashtag of choice into the top trending lists for as little as 8000 yuan (±$1260) by which digital agencies create fake Weibo accounts pushing a topic up the charts.

Other big social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are allegedly facing similar problems that falsely affect the top trending lists and platform algorithms.

Weibo administrators promised they would “effectively crackdown on the illicit competition that is harming the [online] community.”

Naughty Corner for Celebrities

Based on online data of the past month, Weibo administrators issued a list of 38 celebrity names, topics, and hashtags that were allegedly illegally bought up the trending charts by companies.

These names and topics will not be allowed to appear in the top trending lists for the months to come. Here are eight examples of names provided by Weibo.

1. One of these banned topics is the actress Li Xiaolu (李小璐), who recently made it to the top trending lists for her extramarital affair with hip-hop artist PG One.

Li Xiaolu is banned from the top trending lists on Weibo for the next 3 months.

2. Another name that won’t go ‘trending’ for the coming months is that of Chinese singer, songwriter, and actress Zhou Bichang aka Bibi Zhou (周笔畅). Bibi Zhou is also accused of paying money to get herself to the top trending lists on Weibo.

However, Bibi Zhou responded to the accusations on January 28, saying that “all the money I have I put into my music videos – I cannot afford [to spend money on] hot search lists.”

3. Chinese comedian Song Xiaobao (宋小宝)

The comedian Song Xiaobo, who stars in the TV show Joyful Comedians (欢乐喜剧人), will not be able to promote himself nor the show in the top lists on Weibo for the time to come.

Chinese comedian Song Xiaobao (宋小宝).

4. Taiwanese singer Lai Guanlin (赖冠霖)

Lai Guanlin, who is part of the popular South Korean boy band Wanna One, was reported to participate in upcoming TV programme “Idol Star Athletics Championships.” Further promotions for this appearance are unlikely to come through on the trending lists now.

Lai Guanlin (赖冠霖)

5. Chinese actress Zhang Xueying (张雪迎) aka Sophie Zhang

Actress Zhang Xueying reached the hot lists earlier this month for her pretty bald head look for her role in Go Away Mr. Tumor, a play that revolves around a woman who copes with cancer.

Zhang Xueying (张雪迎).

6. Wang Lele (王乐乐)

Internet celebrity Wang LeLe is a grassroots celebrity from live-streaming app Kuaishou who has attracted much (negative) attention over recent times for the rocky and drama-filled relationship with Yang Qingning (杨清柠).

7. ‘Brother Martial Arts’ (散打哥)

‘Brother Martial Arts’ aka Chen Weijie (陈伟杰) is an internet celebrity that emerged from the live-streaming platform Kuaishou.

Kuaishou star ‘Brother Martial Arts’.

8. Shawn Wei (魏千翔)

Shawn Wei (Wei Qianxiang) is a Chinese post-80s actor who is currently starring in the popular urban drama ‘My Youth Meets You’ (我的青春遇见你).

Shawn Wei

Although he is not a significantly big influential on Weibo, rumors of his company ‘buying his popularity’ on Weibo are long-standing.

Weibo Responses

The topic of the recent ban on Weibo hot lists itself became a much-discussed issue on Chinese social media. Many netizens dislike the fact that so many celebrities buy their way into the top trending lists, but also express their dissatisfaction with the list of names exposed by Sina Weibo: “There are so many people who frequently buy themselves into the hot lists, yet why are they not on this list?”, many said.

Others jumped in to defend their idols: “Why would Lai Guanlin be on this list?!” They say that people such as Lai Guanlin and Zhang Xueyin have been unjustly targeted by Chinese censors.

There are also people who wonder why they can no longer access the hot search and trending lists, because it is not so much the Sina Weibo company and the celebrities who are now punished, but the Weibo-loving netizens.

“How boring life is without the hot lists,” some say.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Continue Reading

China Arts & Entertainment

Successful Reality Show ‘The Birth of Actors’ Surrounded by Controversy

Some viewers suspect there is foul play in this acting competition.

Boyu Xiao

Published on

The Chinese reality show ‘The Birth of Actors’ (演员的诞生) has become a huge TV hit and a favorite topic of discussion on social media in China. But, despite receiving much praise, the show is repeatedly surrounded by controversy.

Reality show ‘The Birth of Actors’ (演员的诞生) has been trending on Chinese social media for weeks now. Since its first airing in late October 2017, the Zhejiang Satellite TV hit has repeatedly become a focus of discussion on Weibo.

Its first two episodes alone already had a viewership of 330 million. The show’s hashtag (#演员的诞生#) received 4,6 billion views on Weibo so far.

The show is hosted by the popular actor and director Zhang Guoli (张国立).

The live show invites Chinese actors and actresses to re-enact famous scenes from TV-series or movies. A team of judges, consisting of renowned celebrities Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Song Dandan (宋丹丹), and Liu Ye (刘烨), give commentary and marks.

The celebrity team, along with the studio audience, then votes over who will stay on the show and who has to leave. The show’s winner gets a chance to perform with one of the acclaimed ‘judges.’

Foul Play?

Chinese netizens, however, have been questioning the show’s credibility since many deemed the show’s ‘losers’ better performers than its winners. In the first episode, for example, judge Zhang Ziyi harshly criticized Chinese actress Zheng Shuang (郑爽) over “lacking respect for her job,” but Zheng Shuang won the competition anyway.

In December 2017, Chinese actress and show contestant Yuan Li (袁立) started a big discussion over the validity of the show when she posted screenshots on Weibo of a conversation with a woman working for the show. In this conversation, the show’s staff member promised Yuan Li that she would win the first competition and go on to the next stage, to eventually perform with Zhang Ziyi.

Yuan Li on the show (image by

According to Yuan, not only was this promise broken, the show allegedly also edited Yuan’s performance in such a way that it made her look like a “crazy person.”

‘The Birth of Actors’ responded to the allegations, stating that the staff member’s conversation with Yuan Li was not representative of her function at the show. The woman has since resigned from the show.

Corrupt Voting System

Despite the fact that the show’s production has denied allegations, rumors of a corrupt voting system are persistent. Later in December, actress Yuan Li also exposed on Weibo that the machines given to the studio audience of the show are actually fake.

Photos of the non-functional machines were originally taken by a Weibo netizen named ‘Sea Breeze Diary 1983’ (@海风日记1983), who claimed they joined the live recording of ‘The Birth of Actors’ as the studio audience.

Later, however, other sources claimed the vote machines did not belong to Zhejiang TV’s ‘Birth of the Actors,’ but to another show by Beijing Satellite TV, and that Yuan Li was spreading false rumors.

Copyright Infringement

On January 2nd, the show made headlines again after it had featured a re-enacted scene from the Hong Kong stage classic I Have A Date with Spring (我和春天有个约会) by dramatist Raymond To (杜國威).

The Hong Kong production company’s chairman responded to the episode through Weibo, claiming that ‘The Birth of Actors’ never approached the company for copyright to the scenes.

Screenshot from the re-enacted ‘Date with Spring’ scene.

Not only did the chairman accuse the show of copyright infringement, he also stated that the performance of the actors in the Zhejiang Satellite TV show “entirely distorted the nature of the play’s characters and its experience,” and that it “completely destroyed the image of the original script,” “wrecking the spirit of this classic drama.”

The scene became a topic of discussion earlier when Zhang Ziyi called its performance “the most awkward” she had ever seen.

Ongoing Success

Despite all of its controversies, or perhaps because of them, ‘The Birth of Actors’ has continued to draw large numbers of viewers.

It is not the first time a popular Chinese TV show faces allegations of copyright infringement and fake voting systems. Previously, Dutch production company Talpa sued Zhejiang Satellite TV for its hit TV show ‘New Singing of China’ (中国新歌声), of which the Dutch company owned the TV format (‘The Voice of..’) rights.

Many other Chinese TV shows including voting systems have been accused of influencing or faking audience votes. These controversies often draw more attention to a TV show, which usually grows its viewership.

Besides its controversies, the show has another recipe for success: its all-star cast members that mixes established names with new talent (小鲜肉). As China’s idol industry is thriving, this show gives millions of viewers exactly what they want: superstars, competition, entertainment, and some juicy gossip.

By Boyu Xiao and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Continue Reading



Follow on Twitter



What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact ©2014-2017


Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor? Email us as at