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“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.

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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.

womens

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.

swimmers1

“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 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.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    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 ^^

    DON’T CHANGE NEVER FU!!!

    Hi from Spain! ; ) Bye and kisses

    • Avatar

      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

      • Avatar

        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.

        • Avatar

          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.

          • Avatar

            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.

          • Avatar

            Liuxing Shen

            August 10, 2016 at 3:06 am

            Respect personal choice!

          • Avatar

            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!

          • Avatar

            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

          • Avatar

            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.

    • Avatar

      Deus Vult

      August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am

      gas yourself you fucking spic

      • Avatar

        Jesús

        August 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        No mereces que nadie pierda el tiempo respondiéndote…

    • Avatar

      Robert

      August 10, 2016 at 2:13 am

      Miss you ass,humiliate our Chinese citizen

  2. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    Cindy

    August 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

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

    • Avatar

      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.

      • Avatar

        Norha

        August 11, 2016 at 4:42 am

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

  4. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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

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Backgrounder

How Chinese Kuaishou Rebel ‘Pangzai’ Became a Twitter King

He’s been called a ‘Twitter king’, but how did the unexpected online fame of this ‘Hebei Pangzai’ start?

Jessica Colwell

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Twitter has fallen in love with a Chinese farmer after his drinking videos on Kuaishou were cross-posted abroad and went viral. He has embraced his new fans and Western social media, arguably becoming one of China’s most successful cultural ambassadors of the year.

He describes himself as the “inventor of tornado beer drinking style” and as an “ordinary peasant from China.” ‘Hebei Pangzai’ only joined Twitter in August of 2019, but he already has a Twitter following of more than 111.6K.

Although his account is temporarily restricted by Twitter at time of writing (“due to suspicious activity”), his popularity is only growing. Some Twitterers, such as the China twitterer Carl Zha (@CarlZha), are even initiating a “#FreePangzai campaign” to restore the account of the “one true King.”

But where and when did the online fame of ‘Hebei Pangzai’ start?

Let’s begin our introduction to Pangzai with one tweet from March of this year, when Twitter user ‘Hunnaban Trenchboss’ posted a video from Chinese short video app Kuaishou (快手) showing a man – ‘Pangzai’ – wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette while preparing an incredible mixed drink.

The man in the video smoothly pops the cap off a bottle of beer with a chopstick, pours some in a large jar, then twirls the bottle and propels the rest of the beer in a tornado of force down his throat.

He follows that up by pouring in more beer, some blue liquor, an egg, some Pepsi, and a hefty glass of baijiu – which he dumps in only after lighting it on fire, igniting his finger, and coolly lighting his cigarette. He then chugs the entire concoction in a matter of seconds.

“How do I become as cool as this guy, The Coolest Guy?”, the tweet said.

The same video was shared again in August by a few Russian accounts, was retweeted by an American account, and then went completely viral, racking up millions of views and tens of thousands of retweets.

That video has now been viewed almost 12 million times on Twitter, and has inspired tens of thousands of fans who herald him as ‘king.’

The man in the video referred to as ‘Pangzai’ (胖仔, ‘chubby dude’) is Liu Shichao (刘世超), a 33-year-old farmer and small-time Chinese internet celebrity from a city called Xingtai in Hebei Province.

According to an interview with Technode, he found out about the video on Twitter when some of his new foreign fans opened Chinese social media accounts to find him and tell him about his overnight online fame.

“One message told me that I was a celebrity now in America,” he told Technode: “So I chatted with the person [who sent the message] for a whole day, with the help of translation software.”

Within two days of his video going viral, Pangzai had figured out how to use a VPN, opened his own Twitter account and started uploading videos.

He even posted a reply on the original viral video to alert everybody to his account.

Liu’s early response to his viral video on Twitter.

Since then, Liu ‘Pangzai’ has amassed over 111,000 followers and has posted many more videos of everything from drinking, to cooking, to exploring his countryside hometown.

But it was the drinking videos specifically that earned him his following, both abroad and in China.

 

IT STARTED ON KUAISHOU

“Pangzai epitomizes the typical Kuaishou account.”

 

Liu began his internet career three years ago on Kuaishou, a Chinese short video app massively popular among China’s lower-tier cities and countryside.

In contrast to the polished, celeb-heavy platform Douyin, which is most popular among urban youths, Kuaishou is a platform for the masses. Its users are known for their crazy antics and general disregard for personal safety.

Liu Shichao’s Kuaishou account has 354,000 followers, but the majority of his videos have been removed.

Pangzai epitomizes the typical Kuaishou account. Posting under the handle “Chubby Dude from Hebei” (@河北胖仔), he uploads videos of himself eating and drinking in eye-popping combinations, or sometimes smashing things – from bricks to unopened water bottles – with his bare hands.

Liu’s video of breaking bricks with his hands was also popular on Twitter.

Liu also gained notoriety, and a couple hundred thousand followers, from his mastery of the so-called ‘beer tornado technique’ (小旋风 xiǎo xuànfēng).

According to an interview with the BBC, he peaked at 470,000 followers on Kuaishou and was monetizing his online fame with some 10,000 RMB ($1420) per month.

Liu’s signature beer tornado technique features in the first video he posted to Twitter.

Unfortunately for Liu, China’s Cyberspace Administration announced a crackdown on vulgar and illegal content across multiple social media platforms in spring of 2018, with a focus on Douyin, Kuaishou, and its sister news company Jinri Toutiao. Kuaishou was pulled from app stores until it cleaned up its act.

It is unclear just how many videos and accounts have been removed as a result of the cleanup. We can get a rough idea from an announcement by Kuaishou earlier this year that in March of 2019 alone, it removed an average of over 11,000 videos and blocked almost 1,000 accounts every day.

The result for Liu was that his account was suspended for four months and the majority of his most popular videos, including the one that went viral abroad, were removed for promoting ‘unhealthy drinking habits.’

When you look at his Kuaishou account today, you won’t see many videos focused solely on baijiu and beer chugging.

The videos that remain on his account do include drinking (and his signature tornado move) but it is always accompanied by eating food or some other activity (such as sitting deep in a field of corn, munching on roast duck and dribbling baijiu down a corn leaf into a glass.)

In a video posted to Kuaishou, Liu pours baijiu into a glass from a corn leaf, before then lighting it on fire and chugging it.

Liu still has 354,000 followers on Kuaishou. His Chinese fans, like his foreign ones, marvel at his cool and collected manner as he eats and drinks all sorts of disgusting things.

Canned herring features heavily in his most popular recent videos, where he can be seen sipping the juice directly from the can.

In one of his videos on Kuaishou, Liu eating herring directly from the can, to the disgust of his fans.

“This has to be the most unaffected anyone has ever been by eating canned herring,” says one fan. “The flavor is disgusting! 99.9% of people who try this would vomit,” another online commenter replies.

 

AN UNEXPECTED TWITTER KING

“Liu is like many young men from the countryside of Northern China: open, friendly, humble, and genuinely excited to share his life.”

 

This year, Liu seems to have embraced his newfound international stardom with grace and savvy.

He uses Twitter’s in-app translation to help him communicate with fans and has been highly interactive on the platform.

Liu ‘Pangzai’ was also quick to open up a Paypal account and share it with followers, and has recently made YouTube and Instagram accounts to prevent scams pretending to be him. He has also collaborated with a Twitter fan to sell T-shirts online in America.

Many online fans have dubbed him ‘king’, perhaps the highest praise one can receive on the internet today.

But in contrast to the sunglasses and chill demeanor of his videos, Liu does not appear to be an internet celebrity overly obsessed with being cool.

Instead, he is like many young men from the countryside of Northern China: open, friendly, humble, and genuinely excited to share his life (and drinking habits) with the rest of the world.

Liu began using translation software to communicate with fans soon after joining Twitter.

After reposting all of his old drinking videos from Kuaishou, Liu started asking Twitter fans what they would like to see from him. Many responded that they wanted more about his life in rural China.

He has since followed up with videos showing him fixing a pipe with his friends, exploring his local market, cooking sweet potatoes, and, of course, a tutorial on how to master the ‘tornado beer’ technique.

Liu explaining on Twitter how to perform the tornado beer technique that helped make him famous.

Many have expressed concern for his health in light of his drinking habits, but he has assured everybody that everything he does is “within his ability” and that he doesn’t drink like that very often.

Liu is grateful for all the support and praise he has received from abroad. “It’s crazy to have all of these foreign friends all of a sudden,” he recently said in an interview with Deadspin: “I really have to thank them a lot. If I have a chance I will find them and we can drink together.”

Seemingly to that end, Liu has recently organized a party to be held near his hometown in China, exciting fans all over the world and spurring many to apply for passports and visas.

Once Liu began inviting people to his party, he changed the date and location in order to accommodate more attendees.

The date is set for December 14, 2019 in Zhuamadian City, Hebei Province; too soon for many to make it, but he promises another party in the spring. There is talk also of organizing a visit for Liu ‘Pangzai’ to go to America.

 

WINDOW INTO CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA

“Liu’s growing notoriety abroad seems to have flown completely under the radar of the Chinese internet.”

 

Although there are many vloggers like Pangzai in China, he stands out on Twitter as some sort of window into Chinese social media, especially because this online world is usually so separate from the Western realms of social media.

The recent explosive growth of Chinese social media apps such as TikTok has not done much to facilitate this kind of cultural interaction between China and the West.

Although Tiktok is, in fact, a Chinese app (called Douyin 抖音 in China), there are actually two different versions of the same app in mainland China and abroad, meaning that the other ‘Pangzais’ of the Chinese internet still remain within the social media spheres of the PRC, rarely gaining fame outside of the Great Firewall.

In China, aside from his fans on Kuaishou, Liu’s growing notoriety abroad seems to have flown completely under the radar of the Chinese internet. He is mentioned only one or two times across Weibo, and searches for his name and handle on WeChat, Baidu, and various Chinese tech news sites bring up nothing.

Liu is a rare example of genuine soft power coming out of China. A pure, grassroots man of the people with strong cultural appeal who sincerely enjoys sharing his life and his culture with the rest of the world. His tweets are full of affection and appreciation for his fans, as well as frequent prompts for followers to share their own lives and customs of their home countries.

To watch his introduction to Twitter and rise to fame is to see the best of the internet: cultural interaction, genuinely shared delight, and mutual admiration inspired by hilarious antics caught on camera.

His Twitter fans express their hope that Twitter Support will soon lift the temporary ban on their ‘Twitter king.’ To them, it’s perfectly clear: this online king is nowhere near dead, long live Pangzai!

Follow the #FreePangzai hashtag on Twitter.

Update: Panghaizi is out of Twitter jail!

 
Want to read more about unexpected online celebrities from China? Also see:
The Story of Two Farmers Who Became Internet Celebrities;
The “Vagrant Shanghai Professor”;
From Farmgirl to Fashionista: Weibo Celebrity Fairy Wang.

 

By Jessica Colwell
Follow @whatsonweibo

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.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Celebs

“Living a Nightmare” – Chinese Beauty Guru Yuya Mika Shares Shocking Story of Domestic Abuse

Famous makeup artist Yuya Mika shared her story in a video that has since gone viral on Weibo.

Manya Koetse

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First published

Chinese famous makeup vlogger Yuya Mika has come out and shared her experience of being physically abused by her former boyfriend. Yuya’s story – told in a documentary-style video that is now going viral – does not just raise online awareness about the problem of domestic violence, it also shows the raw realness behind the glamorous facade of China’s KOLs’ social media life.

Fashion and makeup blogger He Yuyong, better knowns as Yuya (宇芽) or Yuya Mika (@宇芽YUYAMIKA), has gone viral on China’s social media platform Weibo for sharing her personal story of suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-partner.

On Monday afternoon, November 25 – which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – Yuya, a KOL (Key Opinion Leaders/online influencer) who has over 800,000 followers on her Weibo account, wrote: “I’m a victim of domestic violence. The past six months, I feel like I’ve been living a nightmare. I need to speak up about domestic violence here!”

With her post, Yuya shared a 12-minute documentary-style video in which she tells how she has been abused by her partner of one year, with whom she has now separated.

The short doc does not just tell Yuya’s story, it also features the experiences of her former partner’s ex-wives, who allegedly also suffered domestic violence at his hands.

Besides the shocking accounts of the women, the video contains also footage of Yuya’s ex-boyfriend trying to violently drag her out of an elevator – a moment that was caught on security cameras in August of this year.

Yuya identifies her former boyfriend and abuser as the 44-year-old artist and Weibo blogger ‘Toto River’ (@沱沱的风魔教), who was married three times before starting a relationship with the famous beauty blogger.

The two met each other through social media, and Yuya initially fell for his talent and kindness. But, as she says, his perfect social media image soon turned out to be nothing but a fake facade, and the nightmare began.

The beauty blogger explains that the domestic violence went hand in hand with mental abuse, with Yuya being brainwashed into believing she was lucky to be with a man such as her boyfriend.

As the abuse became a regular occurrence, Yuya tearfully explains how she sometimes could not work for a week because her face was too bruised for shooting videos.

Yuya also writes on Weibo that she shares her story so that the experiences she and her ex-boyfriend’s former wives suffered will not happen to other women, and to warn others from ending up in a similar situation.

Meanwhile, the Weibo account of Yuya’s former boyfriend has been closed for comments.

Yuya Mika is not just popular on Weibo and video ap Tiktok. The beauty guru – famous for doing imitation makeup of celebrities and famous icons such as Mona Lisa – also has over 750k fans on her Instagram account and thousands of subscribers on her YouTube Channel, where she posts makeup tutorials.

Yuya Mika as Mona Lisa.

Yuya is part of the company of Papi Jiang (aka Papi Chan), a Chinese vlogger and comedian who became an internet celebrity in 2016. On Tuesday, the Papi Jiang company also responded to Yuya’s video, saying they fully support the makeup artist in coming forward with her story.

At time of writing, Yuya’s story has been shared over 425,000 times, with a staggering thread of more than 280,000 comments on Weibo.

Many commenters respond in shock that the tearful woman in the video is actually Yuya, as the makeup artist is usually always smiling and shining in front of the camera. Other Weibo users express their hopes that Yuya’s ex-boyfriend will be punished for what he did.

With over 160 million views, the hashtag “Yuya Suffers Domestic Abuse” (#宇芽被家暴#) is now in the top five of most-discussed topics on Weibo.

Over the past few years, the issue of domestic violence has received more attention on Chinese social media, especially since China’s first national law against domestic violence came into effect on March 1, 2016. More women have come forward on Chinese social media to share their personal experiences with domestic abuse.

According to Chinese media reports of Tuesday afternoon, local authorities are currently investigating Yuya’s story.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes
Follow @whatsonweibo

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