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“I’m Icelandic, please take me home!” – Weibo Post from the Embassy of Iceland triggers a wave of jokes

Weibo commenters say they don’t know ‘whether to laugh or cry’ about some state media news stories desperately trying to turn information on Shanghai’s Covid situation into something of “uplifting”.

JThis week, a WeChat post criticizing the “uplifting” news about the Covid situation in Shanghai made its rounds on Chinese social media.

“Sometimes I really doubt the intelligence of some institutionalized journalists, I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it,” the author (大松子哟) of the Wechat article titled “If please guys give us less delayed news”. (“求求你们了,少整点弱智新闻吧”) written.

One of the recent reports that is cited as an example of Shanghai blowing its own horn while stunning news readers, is from a state-run media outlet. Xinhua News about a drone flying over the Huangpu River to deliver priority life-saving medicine to a cancer patient.

According to the state media report, the Shanghai local committee of the Communist Youth League of Xuhui district received a request for help on April 27 from an elderly patient with advanced liver cancer who had need his emergency medicine from Shanghai’s Pudong district.

With the help of fire and emergency services, the Committee immediately arranged for two drones to go on a mission over the Huangpu River to collect and deliver the drugs, a journey of about 20 kilometers. The mission was reportedly completed in thirty minutes and the entire ordeal was filmed by the second drone for a Xinhua video.

“Such positivity,” wrote one popular blogger: “But what about just putting these drugs in a car for transportation? Transportation by car is a bit safer than flying them over the Huangpu River, don’t you think? »

Another Weibo user wrote, “Shanghai bridges aren’t bombed, are they? The tunnels aren’t blocked, are they? Couldn’t the firefighters just drive a car and deliver the medicine? The idea that the two drones had to fly away because the bridges and tunnels had been bombed or blocked then became something of a running joke on Weibo.

“It’s just to match the propaganda messages, did you think people were stupid or something?” others wrote, with many commenters repeating the line, “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it.”

“I laugh so much at this, all these issues with one drone delivering medicine and then another drone following it to film it, they make it so difficult.”

Following online criticism, a hashtag page related to the news was temporarily disabled and later only eight comments praising the video were posted under the Xinhua thread, which actually received almost 5000 replies.

Grateful wheelchair patient

Another example cited is a story about a sick old man with a leg amputee living on the fourth floor of a building (no lift) who had to go downstairs for a mandatory Covid test. Unable to get out of his apartment on his own, the old man was helped by five epidemic control workers who carried him to the end in his wheelchair.

According to the original report, the old man was moved and thanked the workers for helping him down.

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to bring the test upstairs?” many people wondered. “Wasn’t the editor himself a bit amused by this news?”

Others also wondered how and if the wheelchair-bound man got back to his fourth-floor apartment.

“So you think it’s not a good idea for one person to come home to do the nucleic acid test, but you think it would be good for five people to transport the old man with a wheelchair and take a picture of it?” the author of the WeChat article wrote: “And he was moved and actually thanked you? Are you sure he didn’t call you stupid?

The blogger also wrote, “I understand the purpose of these kinds of posts is to express positivity and convey a sense of urgency that ‘every second counts’, but could you also consider our IQ when creating the atmosphere?”

Adding: “I once heard, when I was a child, the story of an Arab who won a camel in a competition. When he got home, he wanted to put the camel down but found his knife was on the third floor, so he asked three of his neighbors to help him carry the camel up to the third floor…” I always thought this story was just fabricated, but now I realize I was too naive.

A life or death mission

Another report mentioned was originally published by Jiefang Daily (解放日报), the official daily of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China. This is the personal account of a civil servant in Shanghai who returns to work “in the field” for the first time in a decade.

This is how the story begins:

“On the evening of April 12, around 10 p.m., I received a call from my unit informing me that I would be part of a team of ten people as the first group of cadres to enter the village. In fact, I was scared, I didn’t know what the situation would be like where we were going. What challenges would we face? In addition, I have two sons in college, I always help them with their homework, I was afraid that their studies would be delayed.

“I told my sons to go up to the attic to get the biggest suitcase. They were stunned as they asked me, “Mom, how long are you going to be away?” Why do you need such a big suitcase? I told them, ‘You can never be too prepared. I don’t know exactly how long. I could see the panic in their eyes.

“The next day, when my sons carried my luggage to the car, I turned around and hugged them both. I had never been so sad to part with it, and the tears started popping into my eyes, I held myself back and said to myself, ‘You can’t cry, you have to be a good role model for your sons, in the face of a disaster, someone has to stand up and bravely stand up.’ Besides, I’m not the one who suffers the most – if others can do it, so can I.

The WeChat blogger responds to the news article by writing, “I first thought that the protagonist left his family to go abroad on an all-or-nothing secret mission, moving heaven and heart, between life and death, .. but then I read and, oh, my dear, it turns out that it is a civil servant who is going to work in a neighborhood committee!

The author criticizes the article for portraying the work of a local executive at a neighborhood committee – doing simple work like scanning QR codes and collecting PCR tests – as a life-and-death mission.

“Where does this kind of ‘self-displacement’ come from? [‘自我感动’, like stroking one’s own ego] comes from? Isn’t that annoying?

Meanwhile, on Weibo, the banter continues: “I remember someone saying that the head of the Shanghai propaganda line was back from North Korea.”

This is not the first time that this kind of “positive” reporting in times of Covid has been deemed inappropriate and exaggerated.

In February 2020, Chinese media hailed the nurses as real heroes for having their heads shaved before traveling to Wuhan to help fight Covid-19. Reports and videos showed women crying while completely shaving their hair, and the media segment angered Weibo and Wechat users who thought it was just propaganda.

Gansu Daily report on women getting their heads shaved in preparation for their assignment in Wuhan, February 2020.

Many have wondered why women had to shave all their hair when nurses could keep their hair. Some experts claimed that having a bald head would not be helpful in the fight against the virus, because (short) hair also has a protective function, reduces irritation caused by wearing hats and masks and prevents sweat to fall into the eyes.

More recently, a CCTV video report on the situation in Shanghai went viral on WeChat after people thought the part showing a supposed supermarket in Shanghai was “too fake”, with many suggesting it was filmed. in a movie studio instead of a real supermarket in Shanghai in times of confinement and grocery problems.

After, a video made by social media users edited a song by Joker Xue in the state media video, in which he sings about a relationship in which one person pretends and the other just plays along and pretends not to notice for the sake of their relationship.

State media later reported that the supermarket scenes were “authentic”. The very fact that state media apparently felt the need to convince netizens that the state news program was legitimate, rather than staged as some netizens suspected, speaks volumes about the relationship. between state media and Chinese netizens amid tensions surrounding the situation in Shanghai.

“This kind of reporting is an insult to my brain,” wrote one commentator.

For more articles on Covid-19 related topics on Chinese social media, click here.

By Manya Koetsewith contributions by Miranda Barnes

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