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David Wertime

Today's Most Viral Image: Love = Tolerance

To love is to care, and to care is to want to change. But as the image below suggests, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. With over 22,300 reposts, it is Sina Weibo’s most viral image of May 9, 2012 according to Hong Kong University’s Weiboscope. Weiboscope displays the most widely reposted images among prominent users.

What does this image mean?

The key here is the accompanying text: “When two people are together, mostly it’s about accepting your partner, not changing your partner. This is what tolerance means. If you only want to change your partner, that’s not a life, that’s a war.” {{Chinese}}[[Chinese]]两个人在一起,更多的不是改变对方,而是接受对方,这就是包容。如果光想着改变对方,那不是生活,那是战争。[[Chinese]]

Where did it come from?

This image was tweeted on Tuesday morning by @时尚经典语录, which literally means “fashionable classic quotes.” It pumps out posts every 20 minutes, focusing on “refined language, beautiful images, [and] coming to understand wonderful life.”  The account boasts over 4 million followers on Sina Weibo, not to mention a significant presence on Tencent Weibo.

Why is it so popular?

The account tweeting this photo clearly sets its sights on virality, with the slogan “Sharing is the happiest thing!” in its self-description. This image hit a particular nerve, perhaps in part because its audience, which appears to be mostly female, has felt the pain of trying to change an imperfect partner. In particular, as Tea Leaf Nation has shown here and here, Chinese women appear keen to change Chinese men into, well, higher earners. 

But to borrow another Chinese saying, perhaps everyone should try to 知足常乐–that is, learn how to be content. That’s not easy, but it’s probably easier than finding someone who can afford a multi-million RMB apartment in Beijing or Shanghai.

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.