Those of us living in China might have been spared the tumultuous drama that our US counterparts have experienced in 2017, but like always, the Middle Kingdom has had its own fair share of attention-grabbing headlines. From the boom of shared bikes to a presidential visit from The Donald, our team has put together a list of 2017’s most unforgettable viral stories, recounting major events that defined the worlds of sports, tech, arts, fashion and food. Here’s to another year of eclectic, weird and wonderful life in China, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more, follow our full 2017 Year in Review coverage.
10. The dancing grannies using wireless headphones in Beijing
Earlier this year, Beijing officials vowed to crack down on the city’s ‘dancing grannies’ by issuing fines to anyone playing loud music in public spaces. While this news was a relief for some, many Beijingers felt badly for the elderly ladies who gather in groups to socialize and excercise. Well, it looks like a solution that will please all parties may have been found: headphones. That’s right, community workers recently started issuing special wireless headphones to troupes of dancing grannies.
9. The senior looking for love in Shenzhen's marriage market
Zhou Dehua has been making the two-hour trip to Shenzhen's Lianhuashan Park marriage market every week for a year now. As in similar places across China, his personal ad 'looking for a wife' is posted up among many others, each one representing a single person searching for a match. Zhou's stands apart for multiple reasons, though. For one thing, at 67, he's by far the oldest marriage-seeker in the market.
8. The grandpa who tried to destroy a road barrier in Foshan
We’ve all been there: you need to catch a bus or hail a taxi but roadside access is inconveniently blocked by white, metal barriers. Sure, they can be annoying, but most would agree (we hope) that they serve a purpose: to limit jaywalking, and keep people safe and traffic moving. One man in the Guangdong city of Foshan, however, probably wouldn’t agree the barriers are a good thing, as demonstrated when he attempted to hack down a street-side fence to make a shortcut.
7. The 80(+)-year-old Hong Kong men who walked 100 kilometers to Guangzhou for charity
Over Chinese New Year, two Hong Kongese men in their 80s completed a five-day, 100-kilometer trek to Guangzhou: 89-year-old Lu Xiangmao and 84-year-old Chen Rudong. Though Lu received a bit of help from a wheelchair, this year’s journey marked his 18th time participating in the ‘On the Road Guangzhou’ campaign, which he says he hopes he will still be a part of when he’s 99.
6. The granny who stripped and danced in the street in protest after getting scammed by a cab driver in Guangdong
5. The 400 Seniors who took part in a bikini contest in Tianjin
In July, more than 400 men and woman gathered at a Tianjin water park for a bikini contest, although at this competition, there wasn't a college student or sopping wet white T-shirt in sight. No, this contest was for the seniors.
4. The grannies who tore up their local KTV
Proving that no one is ever too old for karaoke, a video that made the rounds on WeChat in June showed a group of grannies singing the classics and just generally getting lit (sans whisky+green tea) at their local KTV.
3. The grandpa who showed off his amazing square dancing skills
Attention, dancing grannies: you've got some serious competition. A viral video from November showed a trio of what may be China's most amazing square dancers showing off incredible dance moves like it was no big deal. The short clip features two young girls dancing in nearly perfect sync with the World's Most Badass Grandpa™ to the tune of '草原情歌' ('Grassland Love Song').
2. The old man who strolled through Dongguan completely naked
Is it just us or are elderly Cantonese men the sh*t? They’ve got millions in the bank and still refuse to pay more than RMB30 for a T-shirt. Perhaps a refusal to buy clothes in general is what led our latest newsworthy character to stroll down the streets of Dongguan in April wearing nothing but his skin.
1. The sassy livestreaming Chinese grannies that went viral
Proving that age ain't nothing but a number, 81-year-old Yuqin Wei and 87-year-old Cuiqiong Qin are two sassy women who took the internet by storm after one of their grandsons posted a video online. The video showed his grandma riding a motorcycle while wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket. Since then, the video has gained tens of millions of views and over 80 million fans clamoring for more of their hilarious banter and trendy clothes. The enterprising grandson later helped them open a livestreaming account to give their fans what they want. With millions of fans, the grannies are now "wanghong" (internet celebrities) and earn thousands of renminbi each month from their videos.
For more 2017 Year in Review coverage, click here.