Flooded subway cars, Kris Wu, and paperless hotel check-ins
It's been a long week, with plenty happening on the news front. Here's a quick roundup in case you missed it.
Probably the biggest story this week, and the one that touched me the most, was the flooding that overwhelmed Zhengzhou, the capital city of central China's Henan Province. This was in large part due to the terrifying videos that locals posted online, including some who were stuck in a submerged subway car and the water level kept rising.
Heavy rains began to fall in Zhengzhou on Sunday evening. By Tuesday it all became too much and the city became overwhelmed. Xinhua news agency reported that around a year's worth of rain fell in just two days, ultimately flooding one of the city's Metro lines.
On Tuesday, video began to be posted online from desperate passengers on Line 5, who were stuck underground inside subway carriages that were filling with water.
"Don't panic," one man could be heard yelling in the background of a video that was posted online begging for help.
"We are stuck in the train and the water is already really high," the man said calmly as he filmed the water level rising, at that stage already up to his hips. "If you see this video, please call the police, and please help me re-post this."
"Oxygen was low. Some people began to vomit," one rescued woman recalled. "Children, pregnant women and the elderly suffered the most, losing their strength after staying in the water for a long time," she said. "You could feel a sense of desperation. I even messaged texts to my family and friends in fear of death."
In the end, 12 died in the city's flooded Metro, although many more were rescued.
The torrential rain and flooding has affected about 3 million people in Henan, with 33 reported dead. The provincial emergency management department said a total of 376,000 local residents have been relocated to safer places.
Rainwater has damaged more than 215,200 hectares of crops, causing direct economic losses of more than 1.2 billion yuan (US$185 million).
Kris Wu faces the music
Massive Chinese-Canadian celebrity Kris Wu, former member of a famous South Korean pop group and a face you would have seen all around China whether you know him or not, has lost dozens of brand deals following the allegations of a 19-year-old woman who says Wu took advantage of her and other young girls, some underage.
His accuser, Du Meizhu, has been posting the allegations online and has took interviews from domestic media outlets.
Major brands who employed Wu in their marketing campaigns were quick to sever ties, despite the singer and model denying all allegations on his Weibo account, where he has more than 50 million fans.
International brands who cut ties include Porsche, Bulgari, L'Oréal and Louis Vuitton, while local brands like Bestore, Liby, Ethereal Sound and IT giant Tencent were just as fast.
The allegations topped trending topics on Chinese social media platforms for days.
Nanjing, the capital city of neighboring Jiangsu Province, has ordered citywide nucleic acid testing after locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the community.
The city has a population of more than 9.3 million and has classified 10 areas as medium-risk for COVID-19, which means they will be locked down and quarantined.
The city government has urged residents not to leave the city unless necessary. Anyone leaving the city must produce a negative nucleic acid test certificate issued within 48 hours of their departure. The rule does not apply to transit passengers.
Hotels in Shanghai have started offering paperless check-ins, whereby guests can check in without contact using only their local health QR code or a digital ID card.
Unfortunately, though, the service is not currently available for foreigners, although the prospects are looking good since expats have been able to use the city's health QR code since March last year.
I will keep an eye on it!