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Outrage As China’s National Mahjong Team Loses To… Japan

Posted: 07/18/2014 9:11 am

The Chinese might seem nonchalant about state affairs at times, but losing a mahjong competition to another sovereign nation is unthinkable. In back valleys, tea houses, and even swimming pools,you can hear the crisp sound of the shuffling and mixing of Mahjong tiles. It is probably one of the rare moments in China when crude language and a room full of cigarette smoke are entirely appropriate.

This explains why the news of China’s national team, called State Flower, losing in the fifth European Mahjong Tournament and finishing in 37th place out of 51 teams came as a shock to the country. Online users flooded the news comment sections and Sina Weibo to express their shock and anger.

Several mahjong players were seen floating on a river and playing the game.

Worse, the loss came to a combined team of Europe and Japan, China’s arch rival. Some blasted the crushing loss as “the most disappointing performance in the history of all competition”. Other comments were even more poignant by comparing it to a “national shame” and said it was even more shameful than the country’s national football team.

New Beijing Daily even published an article looking at why the national team lost the game and summarized three reasons below:

Reason 1: Talent drain: grannies choose dancing over Mahjong.

To be fair, for this international game, no players from Sichuan or middle-aged retired women or government officials were on the Chinese national team. Sichuan is the mecca of Mahjong where a random vest-wearing, foot-rubbing man picked up from a street in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, could easily win the game. In addition, not even one county head or government bureau chief was selected to the national team. Some from Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei and Heilongjiang provinces have even been caught playing Mahjong during working hours. Such diligent practice must have made them top-class Mahjong players.

Probably the most capable players who missed out were the dancing grannies, who used to be religious Mahjong players before square dancing became popular.

One Weibo user (马乾恒) commented: “Ask the winner of the Mahjong tournament to compete with several aunties from some random famers’ markets. You shall see those laowai will even lose their passports in the end. When an auntie plays Mahjong, if she wins, she will throw scorns at you. If she loses, she will drone you with endless yells. After several rounds, there is nothing for you but to lose.”

Reason 2: No prize money means no motivation.

One thing that might have depleted Chinese players’ morale is that the Mahjong tournament has no prize money in an effort to distinguish it from gambling, which is banned in China.

Weibo user 作家崔成浩 wrote, “This time, I have to defend the Chinese team. The result by no means reflects the true ability of the China team, which comes from the country where Mahjong is invented. The reason for the loss is there was no financial incentive. As a result, the Chinese players were not even interested. If you don’t believe me, organize a competition with large amounts of financial incentives, you will see who will win the game.”

Meanwhile, some joked that cursing and smoking are banned in the game, which might have caused emotional upheavals among Chinese players, affecting their performances.

Bao Zhupo, a movie character from Steven Chow’s comedy Kungfu.

Reason 3: Mahjong is not a testing subject in the gaokao, or national college entrance examination.

CCTV sports commentator Huang Jianxiang wrote on Weibo, “Mahjong should be included in the Gaokao.” Given the fact so many students can memorize the date of birth of ancient historical figures, playing Mahjong would not be a problem at all.

Photos: Internet; baikeNew Beijing Daily 


3 year-old boy in Dongguan diagnosed with H7N9

Posted: 11/6/2013 7:36 pm

After a Huizhou woman who was the only person in Guangdong to be diagnosed with H7N9 was taken out of quarantine in September, it appeared the avian influenza problem may have passed.

But now there has been some bad news. A three year-old boy in Dongguan was confirmed to have the virus yesterday (Nov. 5), Hong Kong Information Services Department reports.

Three people close to the child had flu-like symptoms, but none tested positive for the virus.

The child, originally from Suining in Sichuan but living in Yuanshanbei Village in Changping District, is in a stable condition in People’s Hospital of Dongguan City, according to the provincial disease control and prevention centre.

It’s the third H7N9 case reported in China this fall, following cases in Zhejiang Province on Oct. 15 and 23, according to Xinhua.

China reported 134 cases by the end of August, with 45 fatalities, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.


4 year-old in intensive care in Guangzhou after drinking baijiu

Posted: 09/7/2013 9:07 pm

A 4 year-old is in intensive care in Guangzhou after he drank up to half a bottle of baijiu that his grandmother had hidden under a bed on Aug. 30. The family have already spent 23,000 RMB on medical treatment and doctors say that if he pulls through he may be paralysed or in a vegetative state for the rest of his life, Southern Metropolis Daily reports.

The boy’s father, Lao Lin, is a migrant worker from Sichuan and the family lives in rented accommodation near Wanggang in Baiyun District. Lao Lin, his wife and his mother all habitually drink baijiu. At around 10 a.m. on Aug. 30, when the toddler Xiao Long’s grandmother was supervising him, she took two sips of a bottle of baijiu in her bedroom and left the bottle under her bed.

She went into the kitchen to wash rice and, ten minutes later, discovered Xiao Long lying face down on the bedroom floor. His skin had already turned red and the baijiu bottle was half empty. Her first move was to get some wet cloths to try to bring his temperature down.

It wasn’t until 6 p.m. that she deemed the situation serious enough to merit calling Lao Lin at work. When Lao Lin and his wife got home at 7 p.m., they rushed him to hospital and his situation was so serious that he was transferred twice, ending up in the Guangdong Province Maternity and Children’s Hospital.

Xiao Long has been in the intensive care unit the whole time and his father has barely left his bed side. Even though the family will struggle to pay his medical fees, having been hit hard by the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008, Lao Lin says he will do everything he can for his son no matter what.


Girl red-faced after spending 3 months on a mountain preparing for Doomsday

Posted: 12/24/2012 7:00 am

The ark

Starting mid-September, Liang Chengli, also known as “Doomsday Sister”, amazed Sohu Weibo users with her pictures and accounts of life on a mountain in Sichuan preparing for the end of the world.

In an interview with Southern Metropolis Daily, Liang explained that she was originally from Sichuan but came to Dongguan to work when she was young. Precociously talented, she got a job as a light engineer for a very famous company.

In September this year, she heard about the widespread belief that the Mayans had predicted the world would end on December 21, 2012. For reasons that she didn’t explain, she saw credibility in the claim and and on September 21 decided to be proactive about preparing for it.

Plenty of guys offered to repopulate the earth with her

She quit her lucrative and stable job to return to her hometown in Sichuan to ‘live away from a big city and build an ark.’

Along with her cousin she returned to her native Dazhou in Sichuan Province where there was a village called Yongsheng that boasted lots of mountains where she could build a hideaway.

She came to the public’s attention when she uploaded pictures of herself on Sohu Weibo on a mountain wearing only leaves and living primitively.  Over a period of almost three months, followers of her microblog saw pictures and read accounts of how she had bought enough instant noodles and biscuits to last for months, and she was growing her own food and occasionally inviting villagers to bring her vegetables she could cook.

She also showed pictures of a small bamboo ark she had built with the help of villagers.

In this time, the number of followers of her microblog skyrocketed from 0 to 60,000 but there was much suspicion that the whole thing was a hoax. Her leaf dresses appeared to have been put together with more skill than she is likely to have had and the photos were of such quality that they were probably taken with a camera that was beyond the price range of anybody in the village.

Moreover, some of the pictures contained images of her company’s products, causing some netizens to accuse her of being part of an elaborate publicity stunt.

Counting down to doomsday through painting

Maintaining that she was genuine, Liang used her microblog to invite a suitable male to join her and repopulate the Earth after doomsday. Needless to say, there were plenty of offers.

But then on December 17, Liang abruptly gave up and returned to her job in Dongguan. Two days later, she uploaded a video to her microblog in which she confessed to having been naive. She told people to “believe in science” and assured us that the world wouldn’t end.

She maintains that it wasn’t a hoax, saying that the whole thing had made no difference to the popularity of the company anyway.

Posing with one of her company’s products while wearing a dress made of leaves, like you do.


Domestic dispute spills into the public in Shenzhen, couple fight over baby

Posted: 09/26/2012 1:00 pm

A couple let their domestic dispute spill out into the public on Monday when they engaged in a tug-of-war over their baby on Longgang Road in Shenzhen, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

At around 11 a.m. the couple were seen fighting over the baby next to Heao bus stop in Shenzhen’s Henggang District and shouting “Let go he’s mine!” and “Don’t steal my baby.”

The couple had just emerged from the court where they were filing for divorce. The man, surnamed Li, walked away with the baby, but the woman, surnamed Zhang, sneaked up behind and stole his I.D. card from his pocket.

During the ensuing fight, both fell to the ground and smashed their glasses. Blood came out of Li’s nose and he shouted “Call the police!” at onlookers. Zhang shouted, “Don’t call the police, the baby’s mine.”

Li’s smashed glasses

Zhang fled when she saw an onlooker dialling on his mobile phone.

Li, with blood on his clothes, explained that he and his wife both came from Sichuan and had been married for more than 10 years, according to witnesses.

They live in Henggang District and also have a 10 year-old daughter, said Li.

Zhang turning her back on a photographer

They had been discussing separating, but Zhang demanded 500,000 yuan in the event of a divorce.

Later, Zhang was seen 50 meters away, behind a sign at Heao bus stop. She berated onlookers for taking photographs of her undiginified situation.

With tears in her eyes, she said she wanted a divorce because Li was cheating on her. Li then berated her and they had another war of words.

When police arrived, the couple assured officer Chen Qing that they would sort it out between them. After giving them a warning, the officer let them go.

Policeman Chen Qing arrives at the scene

When deciding custody, Chinese courts do not favour either the father or the mother, but consider what’s best for the child, according to China Law Blog.


An 83 year-old man with dementia shackled by ‘caring’ sons in Shenzhen

Posted: 09/10/2012 8:00 am

The Chinese proverb “养儿防老” means having sons is a good way of ensuring you are looked after in your old age. For one 83 year-old man in Shenzhen’s Longhua New Zone, this couldn’t be more true… sort of.

After the man, Huang, had gone missing for 8 days, his sons found him in a homeless shelter. To ensure they won’t lose him again, they have shackled his ankles with cloth, local media reported yesterday.

Huang suffers from dementia and has a tendency to wander around aimlessly and get lost, according to his wife, He.

Huang’s wife who is also in her eighties

The couple have two sons, but both are too busy to look after Huang, as are their wives, He told media. Initially, neighbours suspected that Huang was being abused by his sons, but the family denies the claims.

The sons paid to bring Huang and He down from Sichuan so they could look after them in their old age. Last year the sons paid over 10,000 RMB for life-saving brain surgery for Huang.

When he was missing for eight days, the sons bought an advertisement on television to find him, according to Sina News.

The sons have a business in Baoan District’s Chuangye Park and give their parents an allowance of 1,000 a month.


Migrant in Shenzhen holds woman hostage demanding RMB100,000 for trip back to Sichuan

Posted: 07/9/2012 7:00 am

We live in uncertain economic times, and one of the groups that is most threatened by faltering economies is the migrant workers of China. In 2009, rising unemployment in manufacturing hubs such as Shenzhen and Dongguan caused many migrants to lose their jobs and forced them to go home. But what of the ones who cannot afford to get home? One young man faced with this problem has taken a proactive (though excessive) approach.

A 23 year-old man in Shenzhen’s Baoan District held a woman at knife-point demanding 100,000 yuan from the government to pay for transport back to his hometown in Sichuan, according to local media.

Around 9 p.m. on July 5, the man abducted a woman who was walking with her sister on Fuyong Road with a knife he had just bought. After a stand-off in which he knelt down holding her next to him, a policeman offered him a loudspeaker with which he could announce his demands. The policeman then hit him in the head with the loudspeaker before another cop who stood poised behind him and a group of onlookers crowded around to subdue him. The attacker has been detained and the victim is in hospital in a stable condition.

According to a witness named Mr Sun, the attacker was carrying a large knife used for cutting watermelons. After waving it around maniacally, he knelt down with the woman. You can watch parts of the scene unfold here.

After being taken to the police station, the assailant gave an explanation that was described by local media as leaving one not knowing whether to laugh or cry. He comes from Sichuan and has been unable to get work in Shenzhen. He wants to return but doesn’t have the money to do so, so he kidnapped the girl in a sudden act of desperation. A witness named Mrs. Shi confirmed that he had been “screaming” his demand for 100,000 yuan from the government.

The sisters surnamed Zou explained that they were walking home from a trip to the shops when they were assaulted. The man has been detained for questioning.

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