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New “Red Song” Called “Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng” Goes Viral in China

Posted: 11/25/2014 3:22 pm

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaThe passing of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976 was supposed to end China’s cult of personality around a central, all-powerful leader. Each leader since Mao has been successively weaker, according to popular opinion, but that trend may have come to a close. Current President Xi Jinping has a charisma and knack for getting attention that hasn’t been seen since Deng Xiaoping. He’s already affectionately referred to as “Xi Dada” while his famous and glamorous wife Peng Liyuan has people online in China swooning.

The latest tribute to the Chinese leader has spread on the Chinese internet faster than re-gifted mooncakes. A group of Henan musicians have created a video for a song called Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng that has already been viewed more than 20 million times. It has been online a mere five days.

Lyricist Song Zhigang was inspired to write the song while watching CCTV on November 16, and calls the work “a true expression of my innermost feelings”.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaThe popularity and subject matter of Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng is similar to a “red song”, which are ultra-patriotic songs that originated during China’s Revolutionary Era. Usually praising the Chinese Communist Party or serving as a call to arms to protect the motherland, red songs aren’t usually about any a single person except for those that praise Chairman Mao.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president china

Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng shares the qualities of a red song by promoting national harmony and establishing an ideal figurehead, namely Xi. Furthermore, the first lyric of this song is very similar to a lyric from the red song Red Asia, but substitutes “Mao Zedong” with “Uncle Xi”.

uncle xi loves mummy peng viral video jinping liyuan president chinaHere are the lyrics, translated from Chinese:

Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng

Out of China has appeared Uncle Xi
a man willing to fight tigers of any size
and is not afraid of anything
Whenever I dream, I hope he appears!
China also has a Mummy Peng
who is given only the most beautiful flowers
may she be blessed, may she have good fortune
happiness for the family, country, and the entire world!

Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
this kind of love is like a legend
Mummy Peng loves Uncle Xi
of all the love in the world, it is the greatest love of all

Men must learn to be like Uncle Xi
Women must learn to be like Mummy Peng
and take after them and love each other
with a warmth that can warm ten thousand families!
Men must learn to be like Uncle Xi
Women must learn to be like Mummy Peng
and take after them and love each other
those in love are those that can win the world

(children rap breakdown)
There is a love called Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
when they are together, he is always smiling and happily looking upon her
There is a love called Uncle Xi loves Mummy Peng
Hand in hand, her smile is the most beautiful flower of all

Here is the Youku version, which has 1.5 million hits:

This news report quotes some of the positive comments about the vidoe. “Honestly, I was moved to tears by watching it. Their love is very moving and warm,” one said. Another: I love Mummy Peng most of all. She is dignified and beautiful, and it is very easy for me to say that she is the perfect model of what I want my girlfriend to be!!”

However, other commentators are less open with their praise. These comments were found on Youku:

Don’t know why, but when I hear this song, I feel embarrassed.

Never heard about propaganda studies? Don’t know about the theory of agenda implementation and the theory of cultivation? Become a member of the media; please read up on it.


Heard this yesterday, think that the people (who made this) are sick, and should be locked up.

Crazy; taken too many drugs.

All of a sudden, I feel it’s a bit like the adoration people used to do old China

Hahahaha, lmao. As I listened to this, I laughed just as much I felt embarrassed.

Hahaha. I have a phobia of becoming embarrassed, so I don’t dare to click on the video.

The overwhelming response to the song means there are already rumors that Uncle Xi Loves Mummy Peng will be performed during the most important show of the year, the Spring Festival Gala. Singer Yu Runze said that CCTV hasn’t contacted them yet, but hopes they will “come find us”.

The personal relationship between Xi and Peng has been in the news lately.

On November 10 during the APEC summit, tiger-releasing Russian President Vladimir Putin was shown on live television wrapping a coat around the shoulders of Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan. Any mention of this romantic gesture in the Chinese media was later censored, raising speculation it harms the image of the marriage between President Xi and his wife.

Perhaps to dissuade any doubts of marital disharmony, the following week saw Chinese news media publish the important news that President Xi helped his wife walk through a door on board a ship. Netizens called President Xi is a “gentleman” who is faithful to his wife.


Photos: screenshots from Youku


Watch and Learn, Putin: President Xi Shows Right Way to Charm a First Lady

Posted: 11/19/2014 4:28 pm

xi jinping peng liyuan ship doorAll eyes in China are upon the nation’s leaders for guidance and inspiration, and so when Chinese President Xi Jinping helps a lady through a door, people pay attention—especially when that lady is his wife.

While accompanying Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott aboard the South Pole exploratory ship “Snow Dragon”, President Xi was photographed turning back and extending a hand to help First Lady Peng Liyuan through a door. In order to perform the gesture, Xi even interrupted another man that was talking to him at the time.

Chinese netizens are abuzz at the sparks of romance demonstrated by the couple, and have nothing but praise for the “First Gentleman”:

Uncle Xi is the ideal model (husband) who loves his wife. [thumbsup.emoji]

I am truly envious.

[thumbsup.emoji] Uncle Xi~ (He) is so considerate and nice towards his wife [heart.emoji] (It is so emotionally) moving~

I need to learn from Uncle Xi

Having gained such a husband, what more can a wife ask for?

At last week’s APEC summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin was seen on television draping a coat over First Lady Peng during an outdoor event, an incident that was later censored from Chinese media in part because of its romantic overtones.

It appears First Lady Peng needs only one man to be her white knight—the president of her country.

Photo: Sina News


Singles’ Day Grows from Humble Beginnings to Massive Shopping Bonanza

Posted: 11/10/2014 10:00 am
singles day youzi baozi

The traditional way to celebrate Singles’ Day is to eat four youzi (fried doughsticks) and a meat bun, which represents the dot between month and day.

David Beckham met with Jack Ma last week to develop a Singles’ Day promotion. Headlines have been flying around about China’s famous “Single’s Day”, with some comparing it to Black Friday for shopping in the United States. But what exactly is Singles’ Day? And why is it so important that Jack Ma is willing to pay David Beckham to promote it?

Singles’ Day” is something of a mash-up of Chinese superstition and Western consumerism. The holiday takes its name from the date, November 11, and is most often represented as 11/11. Visually, the date represents a bunch of sticks in a line, which gives it its Chinese name, “Bare Sticks Festival”, or 光棍节. Although there are many theories explaining the origin of Singles’ Day, the most common one is that it was concocted by lonely university students to celebrate being single and relieve themselves of the pressures of getting married and raising a family.

singles day

Chinese numerology places importance on certain dates that sound like something else. For example, January 3, 2014 (2014/1/3), is significant because it sounds close to, “Love you for the rest of my life, and the end of my years.”

While the holiday was conceived as a celebration of singlehood, November 11 has slowly gained traction as another holiday for couples to celebrate their “couplehood”. It is now commonplace for couples to reserve the date for their weddings.

Singles’ Day was eventually added to the many dates “Chinese Valentine’s Day” is celebrated, including the traditional western Valentine’s Day on February 14, White Day on March 14 when women are expected to give gifts to their partners, Qixi Festival/Girls Day/Seven Sisters Festival on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and now Singles’ Day.

singles day

Singles’ Day has quickly become a lucrative commercial opportunity for retailers. Although singles have no one to buy gifts for, except presumably themselves, couples have each other. Taobao was the first online retailer to create Singles’ Day promotions, and it was soon copied by several other online retailers who all offer games and the promise of cash rewards or discounts. It has become so popular that many retailers now strategically remove their best selling items on Singles Day to help get rid of unwanted stock.

Photo: Chinaface, nipic, pchouse


UK Expat Visits China, Marries Girl, Then Skips Town Without Her

Posted: 10/24/2014 9:30 am

backpack laowaiMiss Tan had a very simple dream: she wanted to leave China. When she married Mark, a UK national, she thought her dreams had come true. However, Mark had other plans.

Two years after getting married to Mark, Tan was forced to get a divorce after she spent the majority of their marriage by herself.

Tan met Mark online in July 2011, and the two met a year later when Mark came to visit her in China in November 2012. It must have been a good visit, because the two got married that same month.. Neither could communicate with each other well, and Tan later said she carelessly married Mark in order to leave China.

However, Mark left in December 2012 because his visa expired, leaving Tan, who lived in Liuzhou, on her own. Then the pair began fighting and holding grudges against each other, and grew distant

When seeking a divorce from Mark in June of this year, Tan ran into problems because her husband was not present. To process the divorce, the courts required Mark’s visa and marriage certificate.

However, Mark finally showed up and agreed to the divorce.

Tan was never able to fulfill her dream of leaving China. It is not known if she is now looking for foreigners for other opportunities.



Guangdong Newlyweds Struggling To Stay Together

Posted: 08/13/2014 10:00 am

Marilyn Monroe in movie “The Seven Year Itch”

Forget about couples who can’t survive the seven year itch, for Guangdong newlyweds born in the 1980s, surviving half that long appears to be a struggle.

Among divorce cases filed in the province in the first half of the year, 65% of them were married for less than 3 years, reported Nanfang Metropolis Daily on August 12.

In the first half of 2014, Guangdong courts handled 675 divorce cases, of which 102 were filed by couples in their 20s and 30s. Only 34.3% of the couples were married for more than 4 years, while 20.6% of them were married less than a year and 45.1% between 1 and 3 years, according to the report.

47.1% of the couples cited different values as the top reason for divorce, followed by 32.4% who blame a “refusal to take family responsibility” as the culprit. Long distance and extramarital affairs accounted for 11.8% and 8.7% of divorces, respectively, according to the report.

The trend corresponds with the country’s rising divorce rate. According to an earlier report by Beijing Times, about 10,000 couples split up every day, resulting in 3.1 million divorces in 2013, up from 2.46 million in 2009.

One of the reasons driving up the country’s divorce rate is women’s changing economic and social status, said Susanne Choi, a sociology professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Another explanation is a 2003 change to the marriage laws which removed the requirement for couples to seek a divorce endorsement from their employer or neighbourhood committees, said CNN.

Photos: SinaPhil Degginger /Alamy


Hong Kong’s Gender Imbalance Leaving a Generation of Unmarried Women

Posted: 08/4/2014 11:09 am

Women browsing single men’s information displayed on a board in a dating event in Shanghai.

While China has a lopsided sex ratio of 1,176 men for every 1,000 women, an imbalance that could leave 24 million men without a wife by 2020, the country’s special administrative region of Hong Kong is having an equally confounding problem but in reverse: a surplus of unmarried women, the result of the city’s worst gender imbalance recorded in history according to the latest official government statistics.

In 1981, the city’s sex ratio was 1,087 men for  every 1,000 women. However, 33 years later, the gender imbalance has declined to 864 men for every 1,000 women, down from 876 men recorded in 2013. This is Hong Kong’s most imbalanced gender ratio since the city first started recording it in 1961.

According to Xinhua, there are two factors behind the problem. One is the influx of mainland women who generally hold a single-entry Hong Kong visa. The other is the mass of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, mostly women from Philippines and Indonesia. The population of domestic helpers in Hong Kong is estimated at more than 300,000, wrote The Diplomat.

Meanwhile, the pool of unmarried Hong Kong women aged 25 or above, or the so-called “leftover women”, is also growing. In the city’s central and western district, for instance, the number of unmarried women account for 33% of the district’s total population. In Shatin district alone, there are more than 90,000 unmarried women, according to the Xinhua report, citing official figures.

As a result, the ages for marrying and child-bearing have been pushed later and later. The average age for a woman to marry has moved from 23.9 years old in 1981 to 29.1 years old in 2013. Likewise, their child-bearing age has been postponed to 31.3 in 2013.

In addition, the plight of the city’s leftover women is worsening as more of the city’s men marry mainland women across the border. There could be many reasons for this, but popular belief in Hong Kong is that mainland women are, rightly or wrongly, viewed as more compliant than the stereotyped selective and picky Hong Kong women. In 2013, close to 20,000 Hong Kong men married mainland women.

Squeezed by the worsening gender imbalance in favour of men in the city, Hong Kong women are looking to the fuerdai, the second generation of rich, on the mainland for future partners.

Dating consulting agency personnel Ou Huifang said Hong Kong’s surplus women are “perfect matches” for the mainland’s surplus men. Mainland men in general favor Hong Kong, which means they will have an additional sense of accomplishment if they can marry a Hong Kong woman, Ou continued.

But so far, the cross-border dating experiences have been disappointing for Hong Kong women as they are far too independent to fit the traditional model for mainland men, which involves seeking a “virtuous wife and caring mother”, according to another Hong Kong-based dating agency. For now, most Hong Kong women will continue to be unmarried and lonely by choice, or increasingly, by default.

Photos: Daily Mail; Reuters


Chengdu Battles Shanghai for “Most Whipped Husbands” in China

Posted: 07/29/2014 2:04 pm

marriage domestic assault love under coercionChinese men don’t always have the best reputation among the ladies, as we reported yesterday in a story on how men fail to match-up with their female counterparts in terms of fashion and hygiene. Now guys are getting hammered again, this time through another survey.

Another question has been vexing China recently, namely: “Which cities’ husbands are more subservient to their wives, Shanghai or Chengdu?” Sichuan Online decided to turn the question into an actual survey that has stoked controversy among Chengdu husbands who are not satisfied with the results.

While details of how the survey was done remain unclear, the results show that 36.8% of respondents said Shanghai while only 31.6% believe Chengdu men are more subservient.

However, Chengdu husbands are apparently not satisfied with their position at #2, despite their apparently familiarity with it. Comments criticizing the survey results include:

Simply can not accept this. We’ve been at it neck and neck with Shanghai men, and we’ve given all of our earnings over (to our wives).
This clearly destroys the image of the Chengdu husband! Could it be?
This is definitely a trick!

marriage domestic assault love under coercion

A ranking of cities by how afraid husbands are of their wives begins with Shanghai, and is followed by Chengdu, Wuhan and Chaozhou. But one Chengdu male said they are simply misunderstood:

This isn’t called ‘being afraid of one’s wife’, but ‘loving one’s wife’.

The meek behaviour among men around their wives or girlfriends comes from the phrase “burning ear”. It is used to describe when a wife punishes her husband by twisting his ear, but the husband remains too afraid to use physical force against his wife so quietly accepts his punishment.

There were other questions as part of the survey, too. One was: “Are Chengdu husbands willing to allow themselves to be coerced by their wives with the public fully knowing the extent of their emasculation?” Twenty-six percent answered “yes”, 15.8% said “no”, while 57.9% said husbands are willing to be coerced by their wives, but only in private.

When asked why this is a particular phenomenon in Chengdu, 20.8% of respondents said that “Chengdu women have a spicy attitude”, 20.8% said “Chengdu men are mild and amenable”, while 29.2% stated, “This is a modern trend.”

If this is a modern trend, we wonder where people get the idea that domestic abuse within a marriage is acceptable, or even humorous.

hui tai lang hong tai lang

He’s holding a yellow rose and saying, “I love frying pans.”

Photos: meilishuo, media.163news.tigercity


Soaring Wedding Costs in China Lead to Daddy Competitions

Posted: 06/23/2014 11:02 am

The cost of holding a wedding has increased globally, but nowhere more so than here in China. Chinese youth are now spending over RMB 200,000 (US$32,000) to get married, according to 2010 statistics, a massive increase over what was spent just a few years ago.

In China, the groom is the one who traditionally pays for weddings. In fact, he’s also responsible for buying a home, car, and giving a substantial sum to the bride’s family that can range anywhere from RMB 10,000 to RMB 1 million or higher. Because few men have this kind of cash on hand, people are joking we’re in an age of “daddy competitions” because the groom’s family is increasingly likely to foot the bill.

The cost of getting married has increased dramatically over the past 40 years in China. In the 60s, couples needed only a bottle of good Chinese white wine, two sets of Maoism books and their family, closest friends and co-workers. Guests would have tea and candies and the cost wouldn’t exceed one person’s monthly salary, around RMB 20 to RMB 30.

In the 70s, the cost of getting married increased to almost RMB 1,000, with most of it spent on making furniture (RMB 400) and a wedding lunch at a factory canteen with co-workers, friends and family.  An average factory worker needed to work for about two years to pay for the wedding.

The big leap came after Deng Xiaoping launched the opening up policy. The cost of getting married in the early 80s was around RMB 3,000 to RMB 5,000, with a big chunk of it spent on a color TV (RMB 1,800) and a big wedding celebration with food and drinks in a local restaurant (10 tables for around RMB 600). In the late 80s and early 90s, a honeymoon somewhere in China became popular for newlyweds who had the financial wherewithal. That cost another RMB 1,000. The cost of getting married was about three to four years’ worth of the groom’s salary, which was still considered reasonable.

In the late 90s, as Chinese became more exposed to the outside world, a celebration at a local restaurant was no longer good enough; it had to be in a luxury hotel, preferably a foreign hotel. A soft bed and western style beddings were a must to make the bride and her parents happy. Gold accessories became a must-have in the 90s; the groom’s family had to bring gold necklaces, a gold ring and a pair of gold earrings to the bride when they came to ask for permission from the bride’s parents.  The cost of the “old three gold sets” cost the groom RMB 3,000.  With RMB 5,000 for the celebration in luxury hotel, gold sets and a western style bed and beddings, the cost easily passed the RMB 10,000 level.

There were other requirements, too. A western style wedding photo set was considered upscale and luxurious.  Moreover, a team of luxury cars to pick up the bride on the morning of the wedding was also a way to show family status and wealth.  The cost of getting married in the 90s was about four or five years’ worth of the groom’s salary.

Things however really got crazy in the new millennium. Chinese people have officially entered the age of comparing their dads’ net worth. Now brides’ families say: Want to marry my daughter? You have to have an apartment in the city, you have to have a proper city hukou (identity card)….  Okay, you’ve met all of the requirements?  Good! Now bring RMB 10,001 (no more no less), this is according to Feng Shui!

A wedding celebration now costs about RMB 8,000 at the lower end. If you want a fleet of cars, a ceremony and a host with a meal for family and friends, the cost will be around RMB 30,000 to RMB 40,000. Then there’s the honeymoon, wedding dress and other treats that push the cost even higher.

The cost of a wedding varies nowadays in China, and is largely dependent on the net worth of the groom’s father. For an ordinary person in major cities, the cost now easily exceeds RMB 200,000 ($32,900). That means the groom – and his father – need to work harder and put aside even more money to get the bride’s consent.

Sina compiled the data based on a survey. You can read the report in Chinese here.

Home page photo credit: JingDaily


Hundreds of Shenzhen Couples Marry on “I Love You” Day, 5/20

Posted: 05/21/2014 1:01 pm

i love you day marriageYesterday was a terrible day in Shenzhen: there was heavy rain, lightning, and flooding as the city issued a red alert weather warning to make the crappiness of yesterday bureaucratically-approved. And yet, yesterday saw hundreds of Shenzhen couples throw caution to the wind and take the plunge into marriage as May 20 is now regarded as one of the most romantic days of the year in China.

If you missed it, yesterday was “I Love You” Day, so-called because the Chinese pronunciation of the date 5/20 (wú èr líng) can be loosely re-interpreted as the phase “I love you” (我爱你, wǒ ài nǐ).

The populist trend of this fad stems from online communities, as have other random dates that sound similar to romantic phrases. They include: 2013/1/4 (“Love you for the rest of my life, now and forever”), 1/3/14 (“For now and for always”), and 11/11 (Singles’ Day). These dates have seen hordes of lovebirds flocking to marriage licensing centers to get hitched at the right place and at the right timedate.

493 couples tied the knot yesterday in Nanshan District, while the number of married couples in Futian District was reported at a prophetic 520, reports NewsGD.

i love you day marriage

The number of marriage license applicants numbered eight times more than those on average non-”I Love You” days at the Nanshan marriage licensing center. Extra security guards were called in to help keep order from rambunctious lovers who presumably didn’t want to wait until the non-symbolic day of May 21, otherwise known as the summer solstice.

However, that wasn’t the biggest public display of love in Shenzhen on “I Love You” Day. The message “Jia loves Qiong; our love is ordained by heaven” was written in lights yesterday on Shenzhen’s tallest building, the KK100, a lost sentiment upon every other Shenzhen resident who had to settle for rain and lightning to pour down from the sky above.

“I Love You” Day now joins the ranks of China’s other recognized days of romance: Valentines’ Day, White Day (March 14, when girls give gifts to their boyfriends in return), Qixi Festival on 7/7 of the Lunar Calendar, and Singles’ Day on November 11 (Lantern Festival can be seen as China’s “traditional Valentine’s Day”).

We’ll try to keep you apprised of any new developments should they arise.

Photos: NewsGD, Shenzhen Evening Report via Weibo


Bigamist Legally Weds Shenzhen Woman with Proper Paperwork

Posted: 05/19/2014 6:51 pm

One man; two identification cards for the same person; two legal names; six hukou; three wives; four children. And yes, it’s all legal: he’s got the paperwork.

This is the legal morass that a Shenzhen woman named Chang must deal with now that she’s found out her husband is a bigamist, already having having married two other women in other parts of China. When Chang finally found out, she was already five months pregnant.

After receiving a strange phone call asking for her husband but with a slightly different name, Chang because suspicious and confronted Liu about it. Liu finally confessed and explained that having a large family is a Jiangxi tradition because there is “happiness and strength in numbers”.

Chang wanted a divorce, but Liu rejected the idea, so she is taking Liu to court. Chang’s lawyer, Ma Xueping, doesn’t say Chang’s and Liu’s marriage should be annulled because polygamy isn’t tolerated in China. Instead, Ma explains the situation this way:

If we are to accept that Liu’s identification and hukous are authentic, or at the very least the majority of them are authentic, then it is likely that Liu had been involved in bribery or had forged a government institution to get receive multiple identification or hukous, and that this bribery or forgery of a government institution to receive this identification is a crime.

Yes, the lawyer isn’t even disputing that this marriage is illegal because Liu has all the right paperwork for it; it’s only the pretenses behind the documentation that Ma is questioning.

We hate to say it, but it looks like Liu has beaten a mammoth bureaucracy by becoming a saber-toothed paper tiger.

Photos: Sina

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