Rachel Lu

Why 100s of Thousands of Chinese are Suddenly Searching for This Chow Chow

Where are you, Xiaoxiao?

How much would you pay to get your pet back? For one man living in Chengdu, China, the answer is an apartment potentially worth one million RMB (about US$160,000).

And that valuation has sent the Chinese social media into a dog-searching frenzy. The original post, from user @家居曹老师 on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, was retweeted more than 340,000 times and generated more than 51,000 comments.

An apartment at a prime location in one of China’s largest cities is a precious commodity. It is especially so to many young social media users in China, who cannot afford to buy but face social pressure to acquire a stable dwelling before they marry. As an economist might say, the demand for real estate from potential mother-in-laws in China is quite inelastic.

So everyone is joining efforts to find Xiao Xiao, the chow chow that went missing on February 8, or at least joking that they want to.

Weibo user @厶人爱an厶人疼 wrote, “I’ve caught more than a dozen dogs on the street today. I’ve taught five chow chows to say that their name is Xiao Xiao, but the rest have not admitted that they are chow chows yet.”

Trust me. I’m a chow chow named Xiao Xiao

Thousands of social media users decided maybe their own pets are a chow chow named Xiao Xiao after all, no matter if they are a golden retriever, a cat, or a turtle. @熊猫Pan-da tweeted a photo of his cactus plant, writing, “It’s time to tell you the truth. You are a dog named Xiao Xiao. I brought you back from Chengdu and dressed you up as a cactus plant. Let’s go. Let’s get the deed and the key!”

The one person who does not find any of this amusing is the owner of the missing dog. The man, a self-described home furnishing expert in his 60′s, tweeted about the missed opportunities to spend time with his son, who attended a state-owned athletics school from the age of six to 20 and did not live at home. Xiao Xiao, to @家居曹老师, is “a family member worth more than one million RMB.”

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.