Top 10 China Internet Memes of 2011

In the past year of 2011, China has witnessed a lot of big events on the Internet, the network is reshaping the our social interaction ways and daily living habits, hundreds of millions of net users use debris-language to record personal life, engage in public events and see social change, let us sort out our thoughts and review 2011 China big events on the Internet.

#1 Salt Panic Incident In March, Due to radiation fears from the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, many Chinese citizens have rushed to buy salt under the belief that it will help fight the effects of radiation due to it’s iodine content. The panic buying not only left supermarkets void of salt, it has also driven up stock prices of companies in the salt industry.

#2 Guo Meimei Incident June 20, Guo Meimei, 20 – who goes by the name “Guo Meimei Baby” – flaunted her wealth through photographs posted on Weibo. She posted photos of herself with the sports cars, a pile of luxury Hermes handbags, sipping drinks in business class on a flight and showing off her luxury villa. She identified herself as “commercial general manager” at the Red Cross, a position verified by Sina – the company that runs Weibo. Suspicious Chinese netizens are asking how a young woman such as Ms Guo came into such wealth. Did she or her boyfriend embezzle money from the Red Cross to line their own pockets? Donations to Chinese charities dropped sharply following Guo Meimei scandal.

#3 7.23 Wenzhou Motor Car Accident  On 23 July 2011, two high-speed trains travelling on the Yongtaiwen railway line collided on a viaduct in the suburbs of Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. The two trains derailed each other, and four cars fell off the viaduct. 40 people were killed,at least 192 were injured, 12 of which were severe injuries. The collision was the first fatal crash involving high-speed rail (HSR) in China. Officials hastily concluded rescue operations, ordered the burial of the derailed cars, and issued directives to limit media coverage. The response elicited a slew of criticism from online communities and media outlets, including defiance of official regulations on state-owned networks. The accident, the first of its kind, had a profound effect on the development of high-speed rail in China. Public confidence in high-speed rail eroded, leading to lower ridership.

#4 Shanghai Train Collision Sep 27, A Shanghai subway train rear-ended another, Some 260 passengers were injured, 20 critically, the incident sparked fresh concerns about China’s aggressive expansion of its transport infrastructure.

# 5 Steve Jobs Died Oct 5 Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs has passed away. Although this incident has nothing to do with china, but it triggers great concern among Chinese netizens. The world’s political and business leaders have publicly praised him , the domestic IT industry celebrities  expressed their grief.through microblog.

#6 Xiao Yueyue Incident October 13th afternoon around 5:30, a car accident occurred in Foshan. A van hit a 2-year-old little girl and then fled. In 7 minutes a total of 18 people passing by failed to extend a hand, up until the 19th person, a garbage scavenger woman, who found her and called for help.  October 21,Xiao Yue Yue died in hospital. The incident caused concern from the media.

#7 China Telecom, China Unicom Monopoly Probe On November 9, an official from the NDRC confirmed in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) it has opened an anti-monopoly probe against the two state owned companies over allegations they have monopolized the market.  The companies have acknowledged their own failures.  The second day, the People’s Post and Telecommunications News, a newspaper run by the Ministry of Industry and Information, continued to defend broadband service charges in China as reasonable.

The Controversy shocked the industry, Some people think  this is “the gospel of the Internet industry,” Some say it is a well-planned conspiracy, a interests-competing “farce” under the current system, and consumers has nothing to do with the “immortal war.”

#8 Gangsu School Bus Accident Nov 6, A recent school bus  with only nine seats, carrying 64 people, collided with a coal truck while traveling to a kindergarten accident in Gansu Province, which caused at least 20 deaths and injured another 44 people, mostly children, was the result of an overcrowded bus and has urged a nationwide call for the establishment of a unified school bus safety management system in China.

#9 Weibo to start real-name registration Dec 16 ,The Beijing municipal government published new rules for Weibo, the country’s twitter like microblogging service, requiring real-name registration of users.   Following identical moves,Guangzhou,Tianjin and Shenzhen,Shanghai is going to require users of Weibo to register under their real names. Authorities explained that the new rules aim to protect web users’ interests and improve credibility of the websites as well as to “foster a healthy Internet culture.”

#10 Password Leak Gate December 21, 2011, an unknown hacker released over 6 million accounts from one of the largest programmers’ websites in China, CSDN. The company said the leak included user IDs, passwords and e-mail addresses in plain text. Three days after CSDN leakage,,China’s best-known online forum, confirmed that private information for 40 million users had been leaked, This is the biggest ‘Password leak’ in China ever. The information which was made public includes some companies’ data, which makes this incident much more serious.

1 Response

  1. Some Guy says:

    some these are NOT memes, perhaps you are confusing yourself with ‘memes’ and just simply ‘news’ and ‘incidents’

    by definition, ‘meme’ is a cultural idea, or a transport for a cultural idea that gets transmitted through the process of repetition.

    for example, the death of Steve Jobs is NOT a meme, however his famous line of ‘you are holding it wrong’ is a meme, and gets turned into the repetitive reply of ‘you are ___ing it wrong’ for basically any question concerning an apple product.

    another good example would be the latest meme in the US, where as a line from the game ‘Skyrim’ has become the catch phrase of basically anything, the line goes like this ‘I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow in the knees’, this got turned into ‘I used to _____, until I took an arrow in the knee’ meme. it is the humorous underlying meaning that is responsible for this spread (and success) for it to be considered a meme.

    things such as password hack, bus accident, train collisions etc, are simply news you are reporting, if you want a good example of a meme that stem from these news, i could say ‘eating salt could help protect against radiation (吃盐防辐射)’,this could be an meme, or ‘I don’t care if you believe or not, but I believe it! (不管你信不信,反正我信了。。等等)’

    so to conclude, a meme is a ‘transport’ of the ‘idea’ that gets spread, not the root of the idea.

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