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September 27th, 2011
09:37 AM ET

China Social Media Trends – Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

Sources include Chinese social media sites such as Sina Weibo ranking page (风云榜), Baidu Beats, and Weibo Top News (新浪新闻). Please keep us posted with what's buzzing on your radar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Sina Weibo Top Trending Terms

Not many significant Weibo trending terms today as netizens continue their discussion about popular TV series, local celebrities, etc.

Top Trending News Topics

Shanghai Metro Line 10 collision – Shanghai metro line 10 malfunctioned around 2pm HKT on Tuesday, causing a rear-end collision. Sources from the metro department said equipment failures could have caused the crash. Per Xinmin Newspaper's Weibo posts, no death but several injuries were reported. Many stranded passengers posted updates and images online. More details here.

Shandong Yantai Foxconn fire – A fire broke out at a Foxconn plant in Yantai, Shandong Province around 10:20am HKT this morning. Netizens closeby reported sounds of explosions. The fire has been controlled and investigation is underway. Weibo user "worldof" posted first image of the fire below. More details here.

Train staff beaten passenger to death – A middle-aged man was beaten to death by train staff when he tried to mediate a quarrel between a passenger and three railway workers. The incident took place at the Ganzhou railway station in Jiangxi Province around midnight on Tuesday. Further investigation indicates that the victim was also a railway worker.

Netizens expressing anger toward train staff's unnecessary hostility. Even after media reported the fight was an "internal struggle" among railway workers, many still feel shocked by the sheer absurdity and brutality involved.

One Weibo user "HookCaptain" (Hook船长) commented, "high-speed rail crash people to death, train staff beat people to death, ticket booth suffocates people to death, railway station scares people to death." (动车撞死人,快车打死人,买票挤死人,站台吓死人).

Luoyang sex slavery case – Ongoing discussion since last Friday about an ex-firefighter who kept 6 women as sex slaves in a basement dungeon in Luoyang, Henan Province. The suspect, Li Hao, is subsequently fired and stripped of Party membership. More details here and photo slideshow via Tencent here.

Southern Metropolis Daily’s reporter, Mr. Ji Xuguang, exposed the story but was accused by related officials for “leaking a state secret” (侵犯”国家机密”) in publishing the case.

Given the mounting unresolved questions (how did Li organize sex trade? How did he commit murders? How come the women didn't ask for help?), many are speculating that Li Hao is in fact a scapegoat to cover up other top officials’ dirty deeds. No evidence to support such claim at the moment.

Selected Baidu Beats

Li Yang’s children as experiments (李阳孩子实验品) – Crazy English founder Li Yang stirred yet another controversy after his domestic abuse incident. Recently, he told an interviewer that his children and his marriage were “experiments” in cross-cultural education. When the reporter reminded him that his kids were human beings, Li replied: “Life is an experiment, don’t we also experiment on lab rats?” More details here.

Michael Jordan engaged (乔丹订婚) – Chinese netizens are discussing a rumor that basketball legend Michael Jordan is engaged to his longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto. This is generating a lot of discussion because Jordan remains a popular figure in China.

Ruo Xiaoan’s diary (若小安日记) – This is almost the Chinese version of “The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl" but with a different twist. Ms. Ruo Xiaoan is a Hangzhou prostitute who garnered notoriety online when she began keeping a public diary of her experiences with clients. Netizens coin her as “China’s most educated prostitute.” According to local police, she was arrested last week. More details here.

September 26th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

China Social Media Trends – Monday Sep 26, 2011

Below is a summary on today's top trending topics on Chinese social media sites including Sina Weibo ranking page (风云榜), Baidu BeatsWeibo Top News (新浪新闻). Please keep us posted with what's buzzing on your radar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Sina Weibo Top Trending Terms

Terms related to local TV series and celebrity gossips continue to make top trends. One term worth mentioning is "Chinese men's basketball team" (中国队) where netizens congratulate the team for being qualified for London Olympics. More details here.

Top Trending News Topics

Xinwen Lianbo (新闻联播) unveils new look – China's prime-time news program, Xinwen Lianbo, which airs at 7pm HKT daily on CCTV 1 unveiled a new look. More details here.

Netizens discussing the new anchors, opening music, reporting style, etc. Some praising the more stylish and colloquial feel while others criticizing the channel. You can take a look at the mixed reviews in Chinese here.

Progression of Xinwen Lianbo's look taken from Hua Shang Newspaper's Weibo below:

Guizhou Vice Mayor's daughter You Yixi – The 21-year-old daughter of a local government official in Guizhou has become the target of yet another online storm. Ms. You Yixi, whose father You Chenghua is the Vice Mayor/Director of Jinping County in Guizhou Province, is depicted in the image below holding two designer bags. More details here.

Images were allegedly taken from You Yixi's Weibo and shared among netizens online.

Netizens have coined her as "Guo Meimei No.2".

29-year-old Deputy Party Secretary in Hebei Province – Mr. Yan Ning has been promoted to become the Deputy Party Secretary of Hebei's Guantao County. However, the government stated that Yan's resume is "a secret", which triggered widespread public anger. Yan's profile was finally made public and his track record shows a history of extremely fast promotions. More details here and here, which includes a translation of Southern Metropolis Daily editorial about the affair.

September 19th, 2011
08:05 AM ET

"Versailles" in China

You would be forgiven for thinking that this grandiose palace – filled with crystal chandeliers and pianos – is the Palace of Versailles in France... but it's not.

This is the new headquarters of a state-run drug maker in China.

Photos previously published on the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group's website show its unbelievably luxurious interior, full of gold and marble, and its reproductions of works by famous artists.

The HQ also features office space fit to host royalty; but it has not proven popular with people on the street, or on the web.

The photos triggered harsh criticism from Chinese netizens; it has been reported that some critics even went as far as hacking the website to express their anger.

Chinese media report that Harbin Pharmaceutical say the images are from an "internal museum" and have now limited the shots on their website to simple exteriors of the building.

September 14th, 2011
05:02 PM ET

Li Yang’s love-hate relationship with Sina

Just days after being exposed as having abused his wife on Sina’s microblogging portal, Mr. Li Yang has granted them an exclusive interview.

“As soon as I saw [the photograph she posted online], I thought my personal image has been completely ruined. I was in a state of extreme fury,” Li said on Monday.

As China’s top celebrity English teacher and the flamboyant founder of "Crazy English" which employs non-traditional methods of language learning, Li admitted to beating his American wife and apologized via a Weibo post last Saturday (Sep 10).

In both Chinese and English on his Weibo account, Li apologized to his wife, Kim Lee, and three daughters for causing them "serious physical and mental damage." He later added that they are seeking professional counseling.

This rather overdue apology from Li came more than a week after Lee posted photographs of her bruised face on her Weibo account, instigating widespread online reactions as outraged netizens flooded Li's Weibo with criticisms.

FULL POST

September 14th, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Deadly ax assault in China spurs online buzz

The death of six people, including two pre-schoolers, at the hands of an ax-wielding man in central China early Wednesday, has provoked a heated debate online about mental health.

The attack took place in Gongyi city in Henan province when a 30-year-old man, Wang Hongbin, allegedly began hacking people on the street, according to the International Information Office. He is now in police custody.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent assaults involving children in China. In most cases the attackers were suspected of having mental health problems. In a brazen attack last March, a community doctor in Fujian province stabbed eight children to death out of rage after he was jilted by his girlfriend, shocking the entire nation.

Similarly, the Henan incident struck a chord on China’s social networks, as netizens debated the reasons behind such attacks.

FULL POST

August 22nd, 2011
02:54 PM ET

Arab Unrest: The Times They Are A-Changin'

With Moammar Gadhafi's future increasingly uncertain, this photo - taken in Libya less than one year ago - is a symbol of how quickly the Middle East and North Africa has changed since the Arab unrest first took hold in January.

Colonel Gadhafi is seen posing with three of the ten major leaders of the region in 2010, and very friendly they look too. To his far left is Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose ousting in January began the so-called "Arab Spring". To Gadhafi's immediate left is Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was badly injured in an assassination attempt in June. He has yet to return to his country after leaving for treatment in Saudi Arabia. Then to Gadhafi's right, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who fled Cairo in February after his people staged a revolution in 18 days.

It is a fascinating snapshot of a very different time in the Middle East as the world waits to see what the future holds for Libya.

Remember, you can stay up to date with the very latest developments in Libya on the CNN.com "Just In" live blog.

August 8th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

iReport turns 5!

 
These days social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr are integral to most news organizations' news-gathering processes. CNN launched its own user-generated content initiative – iReport – back in 2006, allowing viewers to contribute to breaking news and share their personal stories on CNN.com.
 
iReport officially turned five on Aug. 2nd. In that half-decade, iReporters have sent us some of the most moving and meaningful footage and images from tsunami zones from India to Japan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London bombings and more.  The hardships, the bravery and the skill of our iReporters has only heightened the value of their contributions, enabling CNN's coverage of breaking news stories to be not only more immediate but more emotive.
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