China This Week
Want to know about the hottest trending topics in China, you won’t see on TV or newspapers? Follow the weekly updates from U.S.-China Perception Monitor, “China This Week”. We are providing you with the most talk-about topics, most interesting points and must-know information of Chinese culture and society.
1. A controversial mascot
新年快乐！HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! (or as the Chinese call it, Spring Festival). The biggest holiday in China, the Spring Festival is a special time of year to see your family, feast, and of course, tune in for the New Year’s Gala, the incredibly popular live variety show, aired and produced by China Central Television (CCTV). Who and what will be on the Gala is one of the hottest discussions in China, filling up the news feed on Chinese social media. Drawing an audience of over 700 million globally, the Gala needs a mascot, and being that 2016 is the year of monkey, we can be sure that the mascot is sure to be one. Let’s take a look at the Gala mascot, Kang Kang!
Not impressed? Chinese netizens weren’t either. Internet users compared Kang Kang to traffic lights and even made emojis to laugh at the drawing’s 3D rendering. Kang Kang was created by the famous Chinese artist Han Meilin, the same artist who designed the Fuwa dolls for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, however, Kang Kang was not well received and has attracted more debates than appreciation, with most of China’s internet users preferring some of the losing candidates for this year’s Gala mascot.
2. 20-year old wrongful conviction finally brought to justice.
This week, the Chinese government penalized 27 local officials for the wrongful conviction and execution of Huugjilt. Huugjilt was an Inner Mongolia man accused of rape and murder who received the death penalty in 1996. Huugjilt was posthumously acquitted of his crimes in 2014. The Chinese government has also seemingly avoided harsh punishments for the officials involved, however, some believe that the harsh punishments are yet to come. China does not disclose the number of executions it carries out every year, claiming that the information is a state secret. Despite regular expressions of outrage over wrongful deaths, capital punishment itself is reported to receive widespread public support.
3. China’s position on North Korea is lukewarm
This week, North Korea announced a satellite launch this February, creating urgency in the United States and South Korea as the nations believe that the launch is a cover for a ballistic missile test. Due to the announcement, there are calls in the United Nations Security Council for a sanctions package on North Korea. Even China, North Korea’s closest ally, has expressed caution with the announcement. This week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang expresses China’s “deep concern” of the issue and urged Pyongyang to “exercise restraint”. However, Lu doesn’t put the blame on North Korea exclusively and effectively puts blame on the United States as well. He states that China does not wish to see tensions rise but “if relevant parties insist on doing so, then it is not something that we [China] could stop”.
4. Spring Festival: planes, trains, and automobiles
Spring Festival brings many things: family togetherness, good food, exciting television, public criticism of a cartoon primate. However, it also brings something else: the largest annual human migration in history. Travel across China for this year’s Spring Festival has begun with difficulties. With the large number of people traveling around China for the holiday, combined with snowy and icy weather conditions, there are many delays for air, rail, and road travel. In Guangzhou, for example, 100,000 people were reported waiting at the central train station as bad weather had caused train delays.
However terrible travel across China is this time of year, some people were more fortunate. Particularly Ms. Zhang, who ended up being the only passenger on her plane from Wuhan to Guangzhou due to weather-related rescheduling and was eventually dubbed, the “world’s luckiest passenger.”
Compiled and edited by YAO SUN and AARON WALAYAT by USCNPM