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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival: 10 Views From Chinese Netizens

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event that has become more and more controversial, both in China as well as internationally. What are the main comments and views on the controversial dog-eating festival on Chinese social media?

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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event that has become more and more controversial, both in China as well as internationally. What are the main views on the controversial dog-eating festival on Chinese social media? Here are 10 opinions and comments from Weibo users.

The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival (玉林狗肉节) is taking place again this year, starting from June 21. Although many dog lovers and animal welfare campaigners from around the world call on the Chinese government to stop the festival and its dog meat industry, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying already clarified in 2016 that the Yulin government has never supported nor organized the festival.

The annual event, that celebrates the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog meat, has been drawing controversy since 2010. It is a ten-day festival that is organized by locals. Since China has no law that bans the eating of dogs, the festival itself is not illegal.

Its legal status, however, does not stop the controversy. It is estimated that around 10.000 dogs are slaughtered during the ten-day festival, and Chinese welfare groups gather in Yulin to protest the tradition. In previous years, there have been altercations between stall owners and activists trying to rescue dogs.

This year, it is likely that more clashes will occur. One activist in Yulin told BBC she was prevented by police from entering the market where live dogs presumably were on sale. The night before the festival, China-based Dutch journalist Marcel Vink said on Twitter that he was put out of his Yulin hotel: “Wow, kicked out of my hotel in the night, suddenly no foreigner acceptance, after hours. And all hotels in town suddenly full.”

What do people on Weibo have to say about the festival amidst all the contention? Here are ten different views and comments on the Dog Meat Festival controversy, from ten different Weibo netizens.

 

1. “I oppose the dog meat festival!”

 

Many people on Chinese social media deem the eating of dog meat immoral due to the relationship between humans and dogs, and the role of dogs in human lives.

One message that was copy-pasted and shared by dozens of netizens on Weibo today says:

“I oppose the dog meat festival! I don’t eat dog meat! I would dread eating the dog that has guarded and protected his family for the most part of his life. I would dread eating the playmate of a young child. I would dread eating a retired police dog. I would dread eating the eyes of a blind man.”

Overall, many netizens on Weibo express this sentiment. A young woman from Xinjiang responds:

“Every time I say that I am against eating dog meat, there is always a group of people who will say: ‘Chickens, ducks, fish, and cows are all living animals too, then you shouldn’t eat them either!’ Well, have you ever seen a duck guiding the blind, or a chicken tracking down narcotics? Will a fish come and welcome you when you come home? After an earthquake, whose paws are it that will drag you from underneath the ground? What cow will stay by your side in times of danger? Resist the dog meat festival! It’s okay not to love dogs, but don’t hurt them.”

 

2. “Just a Chinese tradition.”

 

One person writes:

“I find this all [all the controversy] very strange, the Dog Meat Festival is just a tradition. We can’t do this anymore, we can’t do that anymore – what’s actually left of Chinese traditions with thousands of years of history? (..) Look at yourself before judging another.”

This is a sentiment that is expressed by many other people on Weibo. A typical comment says: “I don’t eat dog meat myself, but I do respect other people’s right to eat dog meat.”

 

3. “You’re giving China a hard time.”

 

There are also people who think the protestors do not reflect well on China.

One man from Nanning, Guangxi, writes:

“Even if there is no Dog Meat Festival, there are still dog meat traders. All you pure leftists should stop your useless actions. Those of you scolding Yulin should know that Yulin is a part of Guangxi, and Guangxi is a part of China. If you’re giving Yulin a hard time, you’re giving Guangxi a hard time, you’re giving China a hard time.”

 

4. “What else should we do with unsold dogs on the dog market?”

 

Weibo netizen @sven_shi points out the alleged hypocrisy of the anti-Yulin campaigners when he says:

“If you run into people who want to rescue dogs, you can ask them one thing and they’ll look foolish. What should we do with the dogs on the dog breeding [pet] market that still aren’t sold after six months? The answer, in fact, is really clear: they will be sold for slaughter. The market can’t provide for the dogs that aren’t sold. The Tibetan mastiffs that aren’t sold will go into a dog stew. If the real dog lovers ideally don’t want any dogs to be killed, they should block the door to the dog market, and take home all the dogs that are left over. Because the reason that dogs are killed is in the dog market.”

 

5. “Don’t rob people of their livelihood because of your love for dogs.”

 

A popular blogger from Beijing holds a similar view when he says:

“Since you are animal activists, you should go and buy all living dogs and pay the price for which their meat is sold.”

They continue:

“Those people there make a living by selling dog meat. Does your love for dogs mean that you should rob other people of their livihood? In any way, I won’t go there and buy dog meat, but you also won’t allow other people to buy it. Then go and buy it all yourself!”

 

6. “You shouldn’t blame all Yulin people for this.”

 

Some people who come from Yulin (a city of 6.9 million people) also respond on Weibo. This girl writes:

“As a person from Yulin, I feel innocent. Firstly, because I don’t eat dog meat. Second, because I don’t kill. Third, I am just one small citizen. It’s enough for you to curse the dog meat festival – you shouldn’t curse all people of Yulin. Some of you keyboard warriors are just too vulgar. You are the ones with a problem, even more so than those who eat dog meat!”

 

7. “Don’t force your moral point of view on other people.”

 

Another person from Yulin also comments on Weibo, and says that loving dogs and eating dogs can go together.

“When it comes to the Dog Meat Festival, loving dogs and eating dogs are two separate things. To the dog activists I would like to say: don’t force your moral point of view on other people. I am from Yulin, and I’m also a dog lover. I’ve raised dogs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like eating dog meat. Mao Zedong said: ‘Only when you eat dog meat will you know how tasty it is.'”

One woman from Guangdong takes a similar stance, but points out that the abuse that often comes with the dog meat market is unacceptable. She says:

“These days on Weibo I’ve seen so many ‘oppose the dog meat festival’ posts. Actually I also love cats, dogs, and animals a lot. But to be honest, I don’t really oppose it. Many people like to eat dog meat and it’s part of the food chain. I can understand it. But I do oppose the stealing of dogs, the abuse of dogs, and other illegal and immoral actions. I despise this behaviour.”

 

8. “I’m going, but I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

There are also people who say they will visit the festival but not eat dog meat. The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival celebrates the Summer Solstice.

“Today is the Summer Solstice, and the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival. I am meeting up with some friends. We’ll go out to eat some lychees. I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

9. “Turning this into a special treat day for dogs.”

 

For other people, the Yulin festival is another reason to treat their own dog to snacks today. A female netizen by the name of ‘Flying Lolita‘ writes:

“Since the Yulin dog meat festival has started, I can’t help but notice how fat our own little Harry has become! Haha. I love him. And I just hope you all won’t eat dog meat.”

Many other people also post pictures of them cuddling their own dogs or cats on this day, turning the dog meat festival into a dog-loving day.

 

10. “The festival has become world famous.”

 

Ironically enough, there are also people who think the growing controversy and international attention for the festival is a positive thing. The dog meat festival hardly received any attention before the previous few years. The national focus on Yulin bring many outsiders to the city – some come to eat dog meat, others come to protest it.

As one young netizen from Guangxi says:

“The Lychee & Dog Meat Festival is here. Yesterday on the train, I heard people say: ‘Even foreigners are now coming to Yulin for the dog meat! Never in my life would I’ve imagined that the traditional feast I grew up with would at one time become so world-famous!”

As the ‘world-famous’ Yulin festival has started, so has the turmoil surrounding it. On June 21st around 18.00 Beijing time, some netizens post photos of cars driving around the festival with ‘dog activists belong to an evil cult’ signs, and other photos of people holding up signs to condemn the festival. Despite all the disagreements and different views, one thing is certain: as long as the Yulin festival continues, so will the controversy.

“Resist the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Respect life. Care for animals.”

“Dog activists [dog-loving-people] are an evil cult.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Eddie wood

    June 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    How in the name of God can anyone accept the brutal torture of the dogs and cats that are killed in the most heinous manner, SKINNED ALIVE, BOILED ALIVE, DISMEMBERING OF THEIR LIMBS WHILE ALIVE, BLUDGEON UNTILL THEY ARE SEMI CONSCIOUS AND ALL THIS IS DONE IN FRONT OF OTHER DOGS TO IN STILL ‘SHEER TERROR!’
    How can anyone say this is ok? they are NOT KILLING THEM TO EAT, THEY ARE TORTURING THESE ANIMALS FOR THEIR OWN GRATIFICATION. Thousands of dogs and cats are killed and no way are thousands of people eating them!!! All animals have a nervous system and to know that they are skinned alive is utterly horrific, a dog or cat only wants to give and receive LOVE, AND THESE PEOPLE KILL THEM THIS WAY??? WHY?????

    • Avatar

      Lisa

      January 8, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      It’s not so much the killing and eating moreso than the torture. We kill and eat animals and it’s not up to me what culture likes whatever particular meat they like. That’s not the problem. My problem is the way it’s done. Skinning them alive, holding them in small cages, throwing them in boiling water ALIVE, ignorantly believing that if they’re afraid before death, the meat is more tender. That is FALSE. When an animal is afraid, they release hormones that toughen muscles not soften them, and either way it would not be consistent enough to change the taste or texture of the meat. It is savage. I have nothing against eating the meat. I oppose the torture. No torture of a living thing with feelings and nerve endings should me allowed in the WORLD! It’s called empathy. If we don’t have empathy, we are not human beings!, we are animals! Picture yourself as that dog and what he’s feeling. Have some MERCY

  2. Avatar

    Anna

    June 23, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Ban the torture of cats and dogs! I hope the ones that eat them live to suffer bad luck and contract the worst disease contained within their own chain of relations!

    • Avatar

      tu suying

      June 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Hypocrisy:

      I have watched PETA videos of cows and pigs getting slaughters in the US and being torn apart while still being alive, male chicks ground to death, lobsters boiled alive (no from PETA video). Why love one and eat another.

      Bullshit argument from Hypocrites:
      1. Dogs and Cats are more intelligent – Research shows that pigs are as intelligent as dogs.
      2. some are meant for meat and some are for companionship – Hindus consider eating cows as barbaric and yet they are slaughters in millions especially in the west.

      Please don’t shove your morality over others.

      Thank you.

      • Avatar

        nikki

        June 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        Okay, but have you ever seen a cow guide the blind? Or heard of a chicken rescue someone from the wreck after a natural disaster? Or a pig fight and help men in war? No I didn’t think so. Everyone knows the meat insutry as a whole is often cruel and horrible. But that does NOT JUSTIFY this cruelty to a species which has saved lives and have ALWAYS been there for humans through good and bad. Why extend the list of animals getting tortured? Shouldn’t we start stopping the cruelty? Then why not start with this? It’s merely a step towards a kinder world.

        • Avatar

          Dan

          July 4, 2018 at 10:47 am

          Stupid comments. “Oh but have you seen a cow guide the blind” … Eye roll. Does if matter?! If you eat cows but oppose dog meat and will condemn dog meat eaters you are a hypocrite and the reason evil thrives.

      • Avatar

        Yulin Is Pure Evil

        April 2, 2018 at 11:25 am

        They’re all evil, cruel and disgusting, you stupid Chinese idiot.

  3. Avatar

    TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:36 am

    This is sick …It’s gross I could never eat my pet …Dogs and cats are house animals they are a part of family…This needs to “Stop ” Stop making excuses of how this is a tradition in culture. Dogs are like humans they feel and think like us ….We live in a future here were not living the old ages !!! I respect every culture but not when it comes to eating a dog or cat or brutally killing them it’s disgusting. These people have no souls they have no feelings …They need education .

  4. Avatar

    TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    We all come from different cultures and we all have a tradition…But there’s a limit to everything …Some animals are not ment to be eaten, chicken and fish is not a dog or a cat …These animals are a lovable pets specially dogs they are very loyal to their human companions , they love you til the day you die…How dare you hear the cries of these sweet animals how can you bare it listening to their cries when they are being tortured alive…This is barbaric it’s disturbing. I read these articles and I can’t stop balling my eyes out . THIS NEEDS TO END NOW “STOP” KILLING DOGS AND CAT FOR GODDESS SAKE.!!!????????????????????

    • Avatar

      Dan

      July 4, 2018 at 10:53 am

      “Some animals are not meant to be eaten” I hope you realize one day that you are the reason this happens. That mentality of well some are okay to eat but some aren’t. Don’t you realize you are part of a whole group that eats animals, whether it is a dog or cat or chicken, it is wrong. And the Chinese will NEVER stop eating dogs until you stop eating chickens.

  5. Avatar

    Kelly Schadt-Kelly

    June 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I cannot understand the killing of dogs for the purpose of eating. I love my pet dog and could never sell her or have her slaughtered for meat. However, I do not oppose the act of consuming any animal for food. From what I understand, some cultures value cows, but I love beef hamburgers and steaks. I don’t see them picketing my local grocery for selling beef flank steaks! Still, the abuse of any animal before slaughter is horrendous! Why torture? In front of other animals? If it is truly for meat, the release of adrenaline ruins the taste of meat! Dumbass slaughters! No animal should be tortured, stolen, and brutalized before death for the pleasure of a crowd!

  6. Avatar

    Nikki

    June 27, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    To the people who say: “But you all probably eat other animals, that are also killed horribly, why is that okay? Blah, blah” I’m sure everyone knows that other animals are also killed. Yes, we know farm animals are often treated like shit. And yes many people do eat meat and still oppose dog meat. Why? Because dogs are NOT farm animals! “But everyone has different cultures and we eat animals that other cultures consdier saint”. Yea, but who says I agree with the meat industry as a whole? I myself don’t eat much meat, and try to buy from companies which have shown video footage of better care for their livestock. Besides, dogs have been a COMPANION animal for humans since the beginning of time. Look at all they’ve done for us! Guide the visually impaired, search and rescue, police work (locating drugs and bombs and helping officers catch criminals), therapy dogs who help patients with anxiety/depression or other disorders, helping men in war, protecting our homes, herding livestock or simply being SOMEONE’S BEST FRIEND. Have you ever seen a sheep or a cow do all that? No. I’m not saying I agree with how the meat industry treats them. But don’t use their suffering to justify this horrible cruelty. Why extend the number of animals getting toruted? Why not work towards kindness? And dogs sure as hell deserve better than this.

    • Avatar

      Yulin Is Pure Evil

      April 2, 2018 at 11:18 am

      They are ALL vile. Any cruelty to animals is wrong. You can’t say farm animals deserve it slightly more because they’re less intelligent, you’re being almost as bad as the Chinese. Think about it.

  7. Avatar

    lola

    July 23, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    For me it’s totally fine to kill dogs and eat them since everyone kills the cows/chicken and fish in a PAINFUL way and NO ONE CARES, Kill them all so people can stop being such HYPOCRITE

    • Avatar

      Yulin Is Pure Evil

      April 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Wow, you would let innocent animals suffer when they have NOTHING to do with the barbaric practises that go on world wide to other animals just to make a point. You obviously don’t care about animals at all and are like these evil people. You are disgusting.

  8. Avatar

    Truth

    June 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    FAKE NEWS. Obviously this piece is meant to incite and nothing else.

    Yulin festival is not even a real festival. Just created a few years back by a few restaurant owners.

    How devious of the western media to continue to rile up hatred.

  9. Avatar

    Truth

    June 22, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Purposely choosing 10 comments, the majority which would cause anger amongst the readers.

    Quite clear what is this website up to.

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China Food & Drinks

98-Year-Old Hotpot and Coca Cola Lover Becomes Online Hit

Are hotpot and cola the key to longevity?

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This week, a 98-year-old Chengdu resident has become an online hit on Chinese social media, after videos of her and her granddaughter went viral. The popular grandmother loves to drink Coca Cola, eat hamburgers, and is crazy about hotpot – but only if it’s really spicy.

The 98-year-old became an overnight hit because of the videos posted by granddaughter Cai on China’s popular video app Douyin (TikTok), that show the grandmother’s great appetite for spicy food, alcohol, and sweet sodas.

When the granddaughter tries to persuade her grandma to drink less alcohol (“You’ve already had five!”) she’ll pour herself another cup; while dozing off, she’ll still talk about her favorite hotpot with beef tripe; when eating her hamburgers, she’ll eat so fast that her dentures fall out – all moments that were caught on video by Cai.

The woman, who has been nicknamed “grandma foodie” (吃货奶奶), has been starring in her granddaughter’s Douyin videos since August of last year. Since then, she has accumulated a social media following of some 410K fans and has now risen to nationwide fame, with dozens of Chinese news outlets writing about her. On March 4, she became the number one trending topic on Weibo.

On social media, most netizens praise the grandma for her positive attitude. “I hope I can do all the things I love, too, when I reach her age,” some say: “Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and drink whatever you like, whenever you like.” “Eating good food is the key to happiness,” others write.

Some also see a lucrative opportunity in the grandma’s sudden rise to fame: “She should become a brand ambassador for Coca Cola.”

Granddaughter Cai told Chinese reporters: “I think it’s the contrast that makes her so popular. She drinks Coke, eats hamburgers, loves spicy food, and all that greasy food. She’s leading the life of a young person, and it appears to be very unhealthy. But she still has longevity.”

Because Cai’s grandma does not know much about social media, Cai tried to explain to her that “many, many people” like her a lot. “Why on earth would they like me for?” she replied: “I’m old!”

Want to know more about hotpot, all the reasons to love it, and how to make it at home? Visit our sister site Hotpotambassador.com here.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please email us.

©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 Food & Drinks

These Chinese School Are Awarding Excellent Students with Pork Meat Gifts

Awarding excellent students with raw meat or even fresh fish seems to be a new trend in Chinese schools.

Gabi Verberg

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School in Liuzhou, Guangxi, image via the Paper.

First published

A number of schools in China have recently introduced a new gift for outstanding students at the end of term ceremony: no books, no pens, but a chunk of meat that can be shared with the entire family.

A remarkable award ceremony at a middle school in Fuyang, Anhui province, has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens this week for the meat gifts the school offered to its outstanding students.

The award ceremony was held on January 26 at the Anhui Fuyang No. 1 Middle School. The five best students of every class were each rewarded with 2,5 kilogram (5.5 pounds) of pork meat.

At the end of the ceremony, a total of 600 students took home a staggering 1500 kilogram (3306 pounds) of pork meat in total.

Chinese media outlets Pear Video and We Video posted video reports of the noteworthy event on their channels (link and link) on January 28.

Although the initiative of this particular school came as a surprise to many netizens, more schools across China are introducing these kinds of food gifts to their students lately.

 

“Nowadays, every household has enough stationery. So we came up with the idea to award our students with pork meat instead.”

 

The director of the Anhui school, Mister Sun (孙), told reporters: “In the past, the school always awarded its best students with pencils and notebooks. But nowadays, every household has enough stationery. So we came up with the idea to award our students with pork meat instead.”

The pork meat, gifted in a bag with a pig on it, was given just in time for the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival, which celebrates the start of the Year of the Pig this year.

Sun further added: “The students’ hard work is rewarded with something they can take home and share with their family members and other people they love. In this way, they can also experience the gratefulness of others.”

The Fuyang middle school is not the first school that awards its students by offering them fresh meat products. Recently, several stories of Chinese schools awarding their students with meat gifts made their rounds on Chinese social media.

A primary school in Liuzhou, in a mountainous and impoverished area of Guangxi province, received the praise of many netizens when they awarded their 71 most outstanding students with 1,5 kilogram of unwrapped pork meat on a string. It is the second year in a row that the school chose to present its students with a meat gift.

Primary school kids in Liuzhou, Guangxi, showing their meat gifts for excellent performance (image via Chinanews.)

At another school in Dongguan, Guangdong province, the 90 most outstanding students were each rewarded with a fresh fish earlier this month. The fish were caught from the Humen Wharton School’s own pond, The Paper reports.

In a recent interview, director Wu (吴) of the Dongguan Humen Wharton School told The Paper that the fish are usually fed with the leftovers from the school canteen. By rewarding the students with these fish, Wu said, the school not only hopes to make the pupils happy, but also hopes to increase their awareness on the ecological environment.

 

“This is the reality. When you work hard, you’ll have meat to eat.”

 

Last year, a school in Fujian’s Nan’an awarded 30 of its highest-scoring students with a pork leg, something that also attracted the attention online at the time. More schools, including one in Shanwei, then followed their example.

On Weibo, various hashtags relating to the new ‘trend’ are making their rounds. “Middle School Awards Its Students with 1500 Kilogram of Pork Meat” (#中学用3000斤猪肉表彰学生#) received over 5.5 million views this week. “School in Mountainous Area Awards Students with Pork at the End of the Year” (#山区小学期末发猪肉奖状#) had over 3 million views on Weibo.

Chinese netizens applaud the schools for giving these food products to reward students, mainly seeing it as a way to boost the children’s confidence.

“This is great!” one commenter wrote: “The students can really experience how it feels to earn something and what it feels like to contribute. And at the same time, they can share and enjoy their achievements with their family.”

A pork leg and an award (via Chinanews).

“What a great award,” others say: “They’ll feel so proud to bring this back home.”

“This is the reality. When you work hard, you’ll have meat to eat. Why weren’t there such good schools around when I was a kid?”, a Weibo user says.

It is a tradition in China to hold an award ceremony at the end of the semester. During the ceremony, that is attended by the school’s students, teachers, and sometimes (grand)parents, the best students are praised for their accomplishments. The purpose of the award ceremony and the public praise is to let the excellent students set an example for their fellow classmates, and to motivate the students.

But not everyone is equally positive about the initiative. “The intention is good, but how attractive is it for a child to receive a pork leg nowadays?” one man from Guangdong wonders: “Isn’t it more and more uncommon for people to perceive meat as something that’s rare to eat?”

“It’s not about the meat itself,” others argue: “It’s about bringing home something and making them feel accomplished.”

Among the few voices criticizing the idea, there are also those who advocate vegetarianism and think it would be more valuable to teach children the value of living creatures rather than to give them pork.

Others argue that the pork meat gift is not ‘halal.’

But the vast majority of commenters still praise the initiative, saying it is honest, nutritious, and lets the whole family benefit from their child’s accomplishments. For some, the idea is simple and straightforward: “Those who study hard get to eat meat.”

By Gabi Verberg and Manya Koetse

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

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

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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 info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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