“Dogs Wearing Pantyhose,” a popular new meme in China

Dogs

Two dogs dressed in pantyhose and high heels

Laughing Squid/Kotaku: 

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku is reporting that “dogs wearing pantyhose” is a popular new meme in China. He writes that Hong Kong site Sharp Daily has reported that users on the Chinese social network Weiboare uploading gag photos of their dogs wearing panty hose, joking how ‘sexy’ the mutts look.”

According to Chinese site Sina, “bored” people on Weibo started the meme. Apparently, Weibo user Ulatang, who noted that the pets rolled their eyes after getting dressed in pantyhose, uploaded the first “dogs wearing pantyhose” pic (above). That image has been commented on over 16,000 times in China.

 

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Pantyhose Dog

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Chinese web firms delete more than 60,000 accounts as new rules loom

Wall Street Journal: (by Josh Chin)

Chinese Internet companies have deleted tens of thousands of user accounts as the country prepares to enforce new registration rules that will further cement government control over online discourse.

A total of more than 60,000 accounts across a number of Chinese Internet platforms were deleted in recent days, chiefly because of misleading or harmful usernames, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement dated Thursday. Among them were accounts that masqueraded as government departments, carried commercial names such as “Come Shoot Guns” and “Buy License Plates,” spread terrorist information or sported erotic avatars.

Unverified accounts falsely claiming to represent state media were also shut down, the agency said, adding that it covered everything from microblogs to chat accounts to online discussion forums. Companies listed as having taken part in the cleanup included top U.S.-listed Chinese tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , Tencent Holdings Ltd. , SinaCorp. and Baidu Inc.

The comprehensive creation of a clear and bright Internet space requires active and positive conduct from enterprises,” the regulator’s statement said.

The new rules aim to further tame the country’s already tightly controlled Internet by prohibiting the use of deceitful or harmful identities and requiring Internet users to submit genuine personal information when registering for online services. They were announced earlier this month and go into effect March 1.

China has attempted to implement similar limits in the past, with mixed success. The current effort, however, arrives at a time of intense ideological and political tightening as Chinese President Xi Jinping moves to reassert Communist party dominance over public discourse, particularly online.

Venture capitalist and Chinese blogging pioneer Isaac Mao warned that requiring users to register with their personal information to use any Internet service would stifle expression and creativity online.

It definitely has a chilling effect,” Mr. Mao said. “In the long run, freedom of speech and freedom of innovation will be dramatically harmed.

Weibo Corp. ’s microblogging service deleted 5,500 accounts, according to the regulator’s statement. They included accounts that spread information related to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Tencent canceled instant messaging and other social media accounts related to gambling, firearms, fake invoices and fake food-safety information, the regulator said.

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Some analysts have warned that the new rules could make things challenging for Chinese Internet companies by increasing operational costs while reducing total user numbers.

Yet tighter registration might also improve the quality of their users, said Xiaofeng Wang, a senior analyst at Forrester.

Marketers and consumers have become more mature. They’re getting past the stage where they care only about the total number of users,” she said. “They’ve realized the important thing is the actual, active users.”

Baidu dismissed the idea that the deletions would have an impact on its business. The search giant removed more than 23,000 accounts from its popular PostBar, or Tieba, discussion forums, mostly for promoting “vulgar” culture or featuring erotic avatar images, the agency said.

It’s a vanishingly small percentage of the total number of Baidu PostBar accounts, which number in the hundreds of millions,” said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. He declined to comment further on what the company was doing to comply with the new requirements.

The regulator didn’t say whether Alibaba had deleted any accounts, but said the company had set up a special working group to manage usernames on its various platforms. Alibaba declined to comment.

Ms. Wang said further restrictions on speech could hurt the attractiveness of social media platforms, but said that companies were unlikely to resist. “With the Internet, you always have to obey certain rules if you want to operate a business in China,” she said.

Burberry’s oriental strategy goes awry, gets roundly mocked by Chinese netizens

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RocketNews 24:

Burberry, one of the most famous luxury brands in the world, recently caused havoc on Chinese internet with their new product – a scarf with the Chinese character for prosperity (福) embroidered on it. This character is often used in Chinese New Year decorations and is seen as a sign of good luck. Clearly Burberry thought that if they threw the character on a scarf, it would sell millions of them China.

As it turned out, the Chinese positively hated it…

When one Weibo user came across Burberry’s New Year’s scarf and shared images of it on the social network, the post garnered nearly 15,000 shares in just five days, with nearly 4,000 comments, almost all of which were negative. The scarf is made from wool and printed with the signature Burberry pattern. On the company’s website, the product is described to “celebrate the joys of Chinese New Year and the prosperity of the Year of the Goat”. At a pricey 5,750 RMB (US$919), the scarf comes in three colors: stone, charcoal and camel.

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However, netizens were completely unimpressed by this gesture. One commented that the scarf looked like “it costs 35 RMB (US$5.60)”. Another complained that even his colleague’s mother wouldn’t buy something so unfashionable.

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Burberry definitely miscalculated their strategies this time. According to critics, Chinese consumers actually harbor a strong dislike for anything ‘Made in China’ so they would rather buy American or European brands. The Chinese character on the Burberry scarf had the opposite effect – it made the product look like a cheap knock-off.

China to build $242bn high-speed Beijing-Moscow rail link

China Railway High-speed

China and Russia’s multi-billion dollar high-speed rail network project

International Business Times:

China is to build a 7,000-kilometre high-speed railway connecting its capital Beijing to Moscow which will reduce the journey time between the two cities to two days from five.

The $242bn (£160bn, €210bn) project was confirmed in a Weibo post published by Beijing’s municipal government. The rail link will go through Kazakhstan and make travel between Asia and Europe easier, according to the post.

China and Russia had signed a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project in October 2014. The construction of the project is expected to take eight to 10 years.

The huge investment would mostly be made by China, as Russia’s economy has been hurt by the recent oil price plunge and Western sanctions, according to critics of the project.

However, the high-speed rail line can provide many other long-term benefits that could make up for the cost of the investment, according to an earlier post on Sina’s military blog.

The new high-speed rail line can be used to increase the transfer of energy resources and food items, which are scarce in China, according to the blog.

It noted that the rail network can be used to import some of Russia’s fertile soil to China to improve the quality of its overdeveloped land. Further, the rail line could be used by Chinese farmers to migrate to Russia and set up small agricultural villages.

The relationship between China and Russia has been strengthened as the latter is engaged in a political row with the US and Europe over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The countries earlier signed a $400bn deal for Russian gas giant Gazprom to build a pipeline and start gas supplies to China. The 30-year contract will enable the company to supply 38 billion cubic metres of gas to China per year.

Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady

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RocketNews 24:

We get that the whole point of cosmetic surgery is often to dramatically change one’s appearance, beyond what’s possible through ordinary means. Likewise, if someone’s had a sex change operation, we don’t really expect the before and after pics to show a strong resemblance.

Even still, those procedures don’t automatically change your skin tone or cut your body fat percentage in half, which is why the Internet is taking notice of this slim transgender woman from Thailand who used to be a pudgy boy.

As a country that’s relatively accepting of both plastic surgery and transgender individuals, in Thailand, stories of attractive young women who started out as men aren’t nearly as uncommon as in other nations. Even still, when images of this transgender woman showed up on Weibo, the online portal of the Chinese Thai-centered Sing Sian Yer Pao Daily News, they garnered plenty of attention from those wanting to get an eyeful of her flowing hair, long eyelashes, and ample cleavage.

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Visitors to her Facebook page were met by more photos of her dressed in revealing outfits that showed off her feminine figure.

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As a matter of fact, until now, that’s all one could find on her Facebook page, which was previously devoid of any photos taken prior to her sex change operation. Recently, though, she shared a glimpse of her past self, and the gap between her old and new appearance is startlingly wide.

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Apparently, the woman used to be a heavy-set, heavily-tanned boy. Just to be clear, the left half of the above photo isn’t taken at an odd angle that makes the boy look pudgier than he really was, as proven by this shirtless snapshot.

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The change is so dramatic that the media is scrambling to find out which clinics the woman had her procedures done at, with Thai variety program Weeknight Show planning a special on their findings. From the looks of things, though, it’ll take more than the same doctors to duplicate her transformation, which arguably owes as much to long hours in the gym and judicious use of sunscreen as it does to modern surgical techniques.

Could a ratings system improve the Chinese film and television industry?

A publicity photo handout for the TV drama Empress of China, which was censored to crop out any regions below women’s necks with exposed cleavage.

ChinaFile:

It all started with plunging necklines. After the sudden withdrawal and subsequent sanitizing of a popular Chinese show, viewers in China have renewed longstanding calls to strip government censors of their power, using one simple solution: a ratings system for television and film. Shortly after its December 21 premier, the series Empress of China rose to swift popularity on the shoulders of beautiful women in expensive period costumes featuring abundant décolletage. But the series was yanked from airwaves shortly after its debut, only to return on January 1 with a glaring lack of cleavage; censors had replaced the more revealing scenes with close-ups cropping out any region below women’s necks. The outcry and downright mockery that resulted says much about why Chinese entertainment continues to fall short of its massive potential.

Soon after Empress‘s inglorious return to the small screen, Chinese social media demanded the original’s return. They argued that low-cut garments were true to the history of that period. They complained the revised show comprised so many head-shots that it might as well be called “The Legend of Empress Big Head.” They posted satirical images of other movies, photographs, and works of art similarly cropped to ridiculous effect, including the Mona Lisa, the statue Venus de Milo, and the former Communist strongman Mao Zedong. Media outlet Sina Entertainment reported on January 5 that viewership has slipped since its post-censorship return to the airwaves, jeopardizing the big-budget show’s profitability.

 

Chinese authorities issued no statement explaining their rationale, but they likely believed Empress to be too salacious for younger viewers. If that were the case, it would have sufficed to rate the series for mature audiences—except China has no such system. A widely read January 3 blog post on Hong Kong-based Phoenix Media explained official refusal to implement a ratings system this way:

Officials believe that “if people are exposed to elegant things, they will become elegant; if they are unable to view vulgar things, they will be cut off from vulgarity.” By contrast, “With a ratings system, there will be both elegant and vulgar things, and ignorant people cannot help but choose what is vulgar.”

The author of the post rejected that logic, positing that a “cultural products rating system” was the only way to resolve the contradiction between “creative freedom” and limits to what some might be able to see.

On January 5, even state news agency Xinhua chimed in. The incident demonstrated that “China’s television and film management process is insufficient,” the Xinhua article asserted, adding that “experts” recommended the immediate adoption of a ratings system in order to “give television market management a ‘law’ to rely upon”—an invocation of the Communist Party’s recent rhetorical emphasis on rule by law. Some were less circumspect. “This whole thing is one big joke,” commented one user of Weibo, China’s largest micro-blogging platform. “The fundamental cause is that our country doesn’t have a television ratings system.”

China’s government has thus far been unwavering. The Xinhua article was later removed, though it can still be viewed on other websites. The adoption of film and television ratings has long been a hot topic in China, so much so that in August 2010, the powerful State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) felt compelled to reject the proposals. And though Chinese netizens have continued to push for a ratings system, no system has yet been adopted. The official argument against a film and television rating system—that it is not “suited” to China because it can not guarantee youth would not be exposed to inappropriate materials—has irked people for years. A popular June 2011 post on discussion forum Zhihu criticized the government’s desire to control even the possibility of young people’s exposure to sexually explicit material. “The Chinese film market is the fastest growing in the world,” the author wrote. “Whether or not to adopt a rating system shouldn’t even be a point of discussion.” Without ratings, and the resulting market segmentation that in turn drives investment and creates a strong business environment, “Chinese movies cannot experience a true artistic and business boom.”

For now, works produced in the West, not to mention the relatively tiny South Korea, continue to outshine Chinese efforts. “Works that are appropriate for everyone are rarely good,” declared Bi Xiaozhe, a prolific editorialist, in a January 5 op-ed syndicated in government mouthpiece People’s Daily. Bi acknowledged that the re-launchedEmpress of China was “now ‘appropriate for all audiences,’” but said “it has also lost its edge.” If classical Western art had to “avoid sex as well as the female body,” Bi asked, “would they still have become classics that have kept their appeal for hundreds or even thousands of years?” To leave a space for the creation of high-quality works—while also satisfying worried parents—China should “emulate the ratings model of Western countries.”

A popular January 6 essay on Weibo titled “Why do Korean Movies Completely Blow Chinese Movies Out of the Water?” partly attributed the success of Korean movies and dramas—hugely popular in China and throughout Asia—to South Korea’s own film and television ratings system. Allowing creators to work “completely without interference,” the author wrote, encourages private investment and drives competition. (For curious readers, a January 4 Sina article estimated what rating the uncut Empress of China might receive elsewhere: TV-PG or perhaps TV-14 in the United States; “15” in South Korea, and an outright ban from Saudi Arabian television.)

However sensible a Chinese ratings system may seem, censors wield the power to pick winners and losers in a massive market, and they are unlikely to part with that authority easily. Until that time, grassroots Chinese will continue to chortle at what they see as SAPPRFT’s prudishness, and imagine a Chinese film and television renaissance that still feels too far away.

Incredibly responsible seven-year-old spotted driving drunk father home in China

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RocketNews 24:

We’ve got a new candidate for the “Worst Father of the Year” award. And trust us–he’s got a very good chance at winning that title. What responsible parent would make his seven-year-old son drive him home after getting drunk and passing out??

Following a lead at the China-based English-language news portal That’s, the child was seen driving a motorized tractor vehicle in the city of Yizhou, Guangxi, an autonomous region in South Central China. According to the original Weibo post by a Guangxi newspaper, the child reportedly drove more than 20 km (12.4 miles) at night with his inebriated father sprawled in the back wagon.

▼Guangxi, China: Where seven-year-olds take the wheel, apparently.

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As shocking as it seems, here is the photographic evidence:

▼”Father of the Year” caption courtesy of That’s.

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Since few details are known, this bizarre scene raises all sorts of questions: How did the newspaper know that the child was seven years old? Why did the boy know how to drive in the first place? And most importantly, why the heck did the people who took the photos apparently follow the young driver for 20 km without ever attempting to stop him?

Let’s hope that this was only a one-time stint and the father has sobered up so that he will never, ever endanger his child like that again.