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‘Yueqing Boy’ Mother Falsely Reports Son as Missing to Test Husband’s Devotion

After five days of searching and drawing the attention of millions of people, the story ended with a twist.

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The case of the 11-year-old “Yueqing Boy,” who allegedly went missing on the last day of November, attracted much attention online, and ended with a twist earlier this week. The mother of the “missing boy” had been hiding her son for five days after having a dispute with her husband.

In the early morning of the 5th of December, the Yueqing Public Security Bureau released a notice on Weibo stating that the “Yueqing Missing Boy” – real name Huang Zhengbao (黄政豪) -, whose missing had attracted the attention of millions, was found in good health.

According to the China Daily, the mother who had reported her son missing on the 30th of November had deliberately filed a false report. She hid her son in another house near their home and deceived her husband in making him believe their son was missing. All in an attempt to test how much he cared.

On the day that the boy allegedly did not return home from school, the parents had reported him missing at the local police station of Yueqing in the city of Wenzhou. In reality, the mother of the boy had met up with her son earlier that day when he was on his way home from school. She had ordered her son to wait in an arranged car on a parking lot, handed her son the keys of the car and some food, and went off.

Later, the mother reportedly came back and transferred her son to a house near the place they lived. He stayed in the house until the police found him.


Photo of the house where the boy was hidden.

The case of the missing boy attracted nationwide attention last week. A large-scale search operation was set up in Wenzhou. The police asked citizens to report any clues and forward information about the missing boy.

Netizens also came into action for the missing boy. The hashtag “11-year-old boy from Wenzhou missing for five days” (#温州11岁男孩失联5天#) received over 330 million views on Weibo. Many people forwarded information about the boy and expressed their sympathy for the family.

After the news spread that the whole incident was set up, Weibo users reacted with mixed feelings in the comment section of the Yueqing Police Official Weibo account. Many expressed their disbelieve about the mother’s actions, criticizing her for wasting so much of people’s time, efforts and money. But there were also those who were simply relieved the boy was found to be safe.

Timeline of events

The case started on the 30th of November when the 11-year-old boy did not return from school. As stated by the boy’s parents, the mother went to the bus station to wait for her son to get off the bus. When the boy had still not returned an hour later, both parents asked the Yueqing police for help.

According to China Daily, the Yueqing Public Welfare bureau launched a large-scale search operation that same night.

Social media was involved when the police asked people to forward news of the missing boy on channels such as Weibo and WeChat. They also mobilized as many volunteers as possible to help in the search.

On December 2nd, many Wenzhou people and netizens were shocked when the news came that the boy might have drowned in a small local river. A special search dog, employed to look for the boy, had given three signals at a river bank. Reason enough for the special search units to start looking for the boy’s body in the water. The footage of rescue teams combing out the river made their rounds online. However, after hours of searching, there was still no sign of the boy.

On the 4th of December, according to sources, the boys’ father announced that he would reward the person who could bring his boy home with 200,000 yuan (±$25,690). One hour later, the desperate father spread a video message online, in which he raised the reward to 500,000 yuan (±$64.240).

News of the missing went viral when Zhejiang media reported about the case, with millions of people instantly forwarding their posts.

On the 5th of December, the search for the boy came to an end when the Yueqing Public Security Bureau released a notice on Weibo, announcing that a family member of the boy deliberately falsely reported the boy missing. Huang Zhenghao was kept in good health and safety in a house, nearby the family’s home.

Various Chinese media reported that the boy’s mother and father were experiencing some troubles in their marriage, and that the mother had let the father to believe their son was missing to “test how much he cared.”

The mother was arrested for intentionally spreading false information, and has now been taken into custody. The police are further investigating the case.

Despite the mother’s arrest, the family of the boy expressed their sincerest gratitude to all the people who helped in search of Huang Zhengbao. In an interview with the uncle of the boy, he says that the boy is all right and went home with his father to have a good rest.

By Gabi Verberg, with contributions by Miranda Barnes.

All images via Baijiahao.

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 info@whatsonweibo.com

Gabi Verberg is a Business graduate from the University of Amsterdam who has worked and studied in Shanghai and Beijing. She now lives in Amsterdam and works as a part-time translator, with a particular interest in Chinese modern culture and politics.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. K.

    December 9, 2018 at 8:10 am

    豪 is hao2, not bao.

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China Health & Science

Shanghai ‘Dead Man’ Taken Away to Morgue, Found to Be Alive

An incident in which a man taken to a morgue turned out to be alive doesn’t really help to restore residents’ trust in Shanghai.

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An incident in which a Shanghai man, who was thought to be dead, was taken to a funeral home before he was found to be alive has become a big topic on Chinese social media.

The incident happened on the afternoon of May 1st at the Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home (上海新长征福利院) in the city’s Putuo District.

A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social media in which a body bag can be seen put into a vehicle by three people, two members of staff from the nursing home and one funeral home worker. Shortly after, the body bag is taken out again and put back on a trolley. One of the nurses zips open the bag, pulls a cover from the man’s face, and apparently finds him to be alive.

“He’s alive,” one of the workers says in shock: “He’s alive, I saw it, he’s alive. Don’t cover him any more.”

The man is then transferred back into the nursing home, still inside the body bag.

The video that is making its rounds on social media was filmed from two different angles, the person filming can be heard calling the incident “a disgrace for human life” and “irresponsible.”

On May 2nd, the Chinese state media outlet People’s Daily posted about the incident on Weibo, saying the city district is currently investigating the case. The man was hospitalized and his vital signs are stable.

Meanwhile, multiple people are held accountable for the incident. The head of the nursing home has been dismissed and will be further investigated, along with four district officials. The license of the doctor involved will also be revoked.

The Shanghai Xinchangzheng Nursing Home has also apologized for the incident (#上海一福利院就未死亡老人被拉走道歉#).

On social media, many people are angry about the incident, wondering why the old man was transported to the funeral home in the first place, and why the members of staff seemed to be indifferent after finding out he was still alive.

In the video, the member of staff standing next to the man can be seen covering the patient’s face again after finding out he is still alive, leaving the body bag zipped up. Many also see this as a cold and incomprehensible way to respond.

After weeks of online anger about the chaotic and sometimes inhumane way in which Shanghai authorities have been handling the Covid outbreak in the city, this incident seems to further lower the public’s trust in how patients and vulnerable residents are being treated.

“Shanghai is such a terrifying place!”, some on Weibo write.

“Just think about it,” one person responded: “This incident took place in one of China’s most prosperous cities and happened to be filmed. How much is happening in other cities that is not caught on camera? Today, it’s this man, in the future, it’s us.”

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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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 and Covid19

‘Hard Isolation’ is Shanghai’s New Word of the Day

In line with a new ‘hard isolation’ measure, the entrances of some Shanghai residential buildings were fenced up.

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While some Shanghai households have already endured weeks of isolation, a new word was added to their epidemic vocabulary today: ‘hard isolation’ or ‘strong quarantine’ (yìng gélí 硬隔离)

The word popped up on Chinese social media on April 23rd after some Shanghai netizens posted photos of fences being set up around their community building to keep residents from walking out.

“New word: hard isolation. Shanghai is rotten to the core,” one commenter wrote.

The word soon turned into a hashtag page where people started commenting on the issue of fences being placed around residential buildings, voicing concerns on what a fence around buildings would mean for fire safety, especially after online rumors suggested that there had been a fire at one community in Pudong on Saturday night.

An official document regarding the ‘hard isolation’ measure was also shared online on Saturday. It is dated April 23, 2022, and its source is the Pudong New Area Office for Epidemic Control.

The document states that in line with the guidelines for the city’s epidemic prevention and control, the division between areas or zones that are in certain risk categories should be ‘optimized,’ with those in the high-risk category requiring a ‘hard isolation.’ Security guards should also be on duty 24 hours a day at the entrance of the buildings.

Earlier this month, Shanghai adopted “3-level control measures” after its initial phased lockdown. It means that local areas will be classified as “locked-down,” “controlled” or “precautionary,” based on their Covid19 risk.

“Could we also put fences around the homes of Shanghai leaders?”, one person suggested, while others posted images from the Walking Dead to mock the situation.

In the hope of Shanghai soon tackling the Covid situation, not everybody disagreed with the decision to fence some buildings or communities in the Pudong area: “I don’t disagree with it, as long as there is always someone there to open the fence in case of fire,” one person stated.

Although having a fence around their building is currently not a reality for most in Shanghai, the online photos of some communities seeing their buildings being fenced up is a reason to worry for some: “It’s been 40 days, and now they start hard isolation? This actually scares me. Before we know it, it’s June.”

One Weibo user asked: “Why is it possible to implement this hard isolation now? Was this created by the same persons who also implemented the rule to separate children from parents at isolation sites?”

“I truly can’t imagine why some people thought this is a good idea,” others wrote.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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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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