It’s a classic narrative. Foreigner comes to China;
is enchanted; learns fluent Chinese; makes meaningful and lasting connections with host country. makes complete fool of self; terrorizes local population; is beaten and arrested; is then pilloried the world over.
What does this image mean?
This image is a still from a wildly viral video (viewable here). The video was shot with a cell phone and shows a foreign man (later identified as a British national) attempting to rape, or at least harassing, a Chinese woman in public view in Beijing. The video, safe for work but probably not safe for young ones, shows him apparently caught in the act, then beaten and left on the street to absorb more punishment until the police arrive. If nothing else, it provides an excellent primer on Chinese cuss words, delivered in standard Mandarin.
It’s also an excellent primer on what gets eyeballs online. With over 110,000 reposts(!), it is far and away Sina Weibo’s most viral image of May 10, 2012 according to Hong Kong University’s Weiboscope. Weiboscope displays the most widely reposted images among prominent users.
Where did it come from?
After being uploaded to Chinese video-sharing site Youku.com, the video was quickly reposted to Sina Weibo on the evening of May 9. It took off like a rocket.
Why is it so popular?
Some have suspected that the video was “hyped” by Weibo to get eyeballs. It is safe to say Weibo didn’t need the help. Generally speaking, videos containing sex, violence, and idiotic foreigners will do well on the Chinese Internet.