Top searches on Douyin: West-to-east green hydrogen transmission pipeline; Return of the panda
China has taken a significant step towards reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and transitioning towards renewable energy.
Welcome back to the Top Searches newsletter! Over the past month, we've been heavily focused on China's "Two Sessions," but today we're shifting gears to bring you the latest trends and searches on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok.
China plans to build its first west-to-east hydrogen pipeline to transfer clean fuel more effectively, which will provide Beijing with a direct supply of green hydrogen.
In other news, the long-awaited return of Ya Ya the panda to China is finally about to happen. While some may consider this a minor event, the Chinese government's response demonstrates their serious commitment to the well-being of their “national treasures” and their desire to prevent further escalation of tensions with the US, at least on this issue.
Tuesday's top 10 trending searches on Douyin (the Chinese equivalent of TikTok) as of 5:00 p.m. (0900 GMT)：
#1 Celebrities in slo-mo
2022-2023 M-Chart of China Movie Channel & the Ceremony of Chinese Movie Data (2022-2023年度电影频道M榜暨中国电影大数据盛典), held in Jingzhou, central China's Hubei Province, on Sunday presents a star-studded collection of slo-mo full shots in which Chinese celebrities (mostly actresses) spined and posed for the HD camera.
#2 Livestreamer jobs closed to the less-educated
Zhang Lan, the renowned entrepreneur and founder of the popular restaurant chain "Qiao Jiang Nan" (俏江南), recently shared a video in which she announced that she will no longer be hiring less-educated livestreamers, whom she referred to as "little wild children" and "bad apples". Zhang started from scraps, had her ups and downs, and now livestreams every day promoting "Ma Liu Ji" instant foods, her newest venture. She explained in the video that the less educated tend to get full of themselves, a remark agreed by most of the comments.
#3 China to build first west-to east green hydrogen pipeline
China plans to build its first west-to-east hydrogen pipeline to transfer clean fuel more effectively and the project has been included in the country's oil and gas network construction plan, according to Xinhua on Monday. The pipeline will extend for over 400km, transmitting hydrogen from Ulanqab, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to the capital Beijing, helping alleviate the mismatch between the supply and demand of green hydrogen in resources-rich west and energy-consuming east.
#4 Private donation of 200,000 yuan to shared kitchen for cancer patients
An anonymous donor offered 200,000 yuan (about 29,000 U.S. dollars) in cash to a charity kitchen in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province. The kitchen, which opened nine years ago near Zhengzhou Cancer Hospital, has been a haven of hope for disease-stricken families. Family members of cancer patients can pay 5 yuan to get unlimited access to the cooking facilities and condiments. The anonymous donation is only part of the timely help as the kitchen struggles financially.
#5 Father embarks on a quest for trafficked son
The boy nicknamed "little Mickey" was six years old when he was abducted. In 2014, Dearest (亲爱的), a movie about lost children which took inspiration from his story drew increasing attention to Du Xiaohua, his father. Having searched for his son for more than ten years, Du has gone on a new journey to north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to follow up a new lead. He called for the human trafficker and the buyer of his son to come forward and reach a compromise. The successful retrieval of another trafficked boy, Sun Zhuo, in 2021, serves as a motivation for the father.
#6 A young Chinese coast guard dies in preventing and counter-smuggling
Wang Xiaolong, a 27-year-old Chinese police officer from Guangdong (south Chinese province) Coast Guard, sacrificed his life in an investigation of smuggling cases in the early morning of March 24, according to China Coast Guard. When fighting against the outlaw, Wang braved danger and charged forward, but unfortunately fell into the sea. Many Chinese citizens commented on the sad news to pay tribute to the heroic sacrifice.
#7 Intelligence leak: US has been spying on Zelensky
The incident of leaking alleged classified US military documents has sparked heated discussion worldwide. According to CNN on Monday, one of the leaked documents reveals that the US has been spying on Zelensky, and the leak deeply frustrated Ukrainian officials, and it is reported that Ukraine has already altered some of its military plans due to the leak.
#8 Rare aquatic wild animal first seen in south China
Novaculina chinensis, a national second-class protected aquatic wild animal which usually appeared in east China's Jiangsu and Zhejiang province, has recently been found on a riverbed in Henzhou City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to CCTVnews. Novaculina chinensis is one of the three species of freshwater razor clam genus Novaculina, which represents an example of a marine-derived, secondary freshwater group that lives in the mud under fresh water, and occurs at the lower Yangtze River in China, according to a scientific report. Some netizens from Guangxi remarked that the appearance of Novaculina chinensis proves the good environment in Guangxi because the species has high requirements for water quality.
#9 Liu Yan wants to play Mother of Jackson Yee
Liu Yan, a Chinese actress, hostess and singer, in an entertainment interview, expressed her admiration for many senior Hong Kong celebrities both in their appearance and performance, such as Tony Leung, one of Asia's most successful and internationally recognized actors, and Chingmy Yau, a retired actress popular in the late 1980s. When asked about the promising younger generation actor in her eyes, Liu proposed Jackson Yee, a 22-year-old popular Chinese singer, dancer and actor, and she hopes to play his mother or elderly sister if there is a chance for cooperation in film and television works.
#10 China ready for the return of Ya Ya the panda
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the daily briefing on Tuesday that the return of Ya Ya, the giant panda on a 20-year loan to Memphis Zoo in the U.S., is well-prepared and will proceed as soon as possible. Ya Ya is in stable health, said the spokesperson, with bald spots as a result of her skin disease. The health condition of Ya Ya has recently come under intensive scrutiny of Chinese netizens, and many suspect Memphis Zoo of maltreatment.
#3 China to build first west-to east green hydrogen pipeline
China plans to build its first west-to-east hydrogen pipeline to transfer clean fuel more effectively and the project has been included in the country's oil and gas network construction plan, according to Xinhua on Monday, informed by Sinopec, China's largest oil and gas giant, which is also the operator of the pipeline.
The pipeline will extend for over 400 km, transmitting hydrogen from Ulanqab, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to the capital Beijing, with an initial capacity of handling 100,000 tons per year and the potential to increase 500,000 tons in the long run, according to Sinopec chairman Ma Yongsheng.
The project will help alleviate the mismatch between the supply and demand of green hydrogen in resources-rich west and energy-consuming east, playing a pioneering role in trans-regional transmission and promoting the national energy upgrade, such as replacing the current hydrogen production from fossil fuels in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Ma added.
The country's oil and gas network construction plan was released by the National Energy Administration in March and reaffirmed at the national oil and gas pipeline planning construction and protection work conference on April 6, aiming at detailing the implementation of medium and long-term oil and five-year gas pipeline network planning and pipeline construction tasks.
#10 China ready for the return of Ya Ya the panda
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 11, 2023
Dragon TV: Recently, the Memphis Zoo in the US held a farewell party for the giant panda Ya Ya, whose health conditions have been on the mind of many internet users in China. Do you have any updates on the giant panda’s return to China?
Wang Wenbin: ... At present, an expert from the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens and two technicians from the Beijing Zoo are now working with the Memphis Zoo on the caring of the giant panda and they have got a general understanding of the daily care of Ya Ya. The overall condition of the giant panda is relatively stable except for the fur condition caused by skin disease. The Chinese side has already made preparations to welcome Ya Ya home in terms of quarantine sites, living quarters, feeding plans, medical care and feed supplies.
Ya Ya had her farewell party on Saturday in Memphis, Tennessee, while a memorial for Le Le went on display at the zoo. The two pandas have been at the center of a whirlwind of disputes as to whether they have been underfed, neglected, or even abused.
Ya Ya, born on 3 August 2000 in Beijing, may look different from what comes to mind when people think of giant pandas. She has a chronic skin condition, a fact acknowledged by Memphis Zoo, that results in shedding and patchiness. Le Le, who was sent to Memphis Zoo with Ya Ya in 2003, also had significant teeth issues resulting in broken molars.
Giant panda Ya Ya and her farewell cake at Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., Apr. 8, 2023.
Stories of Ya Ya's suffering have been spreading for some years, but things really took off after Le Le died shortly before his due return to China on Feb. 1, when he was 24 years old. The life expectancy of a giant panda in the wild is about 15 years, but in captivity they have lived to be as old as 38. Exponential attention was paid after Le Le's death on the surviving Ya Ya, who was reported to be given insufficient bamboos and barely any treats or supplements. Some claimed that Ya Ya was often begging for food, after watching the live animal cams of the Memphis Zoo.
The Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens(CAZG) released a statement on March 10, 2022, acknowledging both pandas were underweight and suggested Memphis Zoo improve their diets by increasing food variety and protein sources to improve nutrition and help them gain weight. However, their blood test and imageological scans showed no diseases whatsoever, and although the CAZG has come up with no explanation of Ya Ya's skin condition, it confirmed that it was hereditary and subject to seasons and hormone fluctuations.
The CAZG statement has only exacerbated the fury and patriotism of Chinese netizens. On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, #overhaulCAZG has received over 36,000 reads, and many accuse the association of corruption and neglect. On Mar. 18, Chinese experts came to Memphis Zoo to oversee Ya Ya's living conditions and negotiate the procedures of her return. On Apr. 11, it is finally announced that the preparations are complete.
There are some people, however, who support the CAZG and claim there is nothing inappropriate with Ya Ya's treatment. Their argument boils down to two points: 1) Ya Ya's condition is genetic. 2) Stories about the mistreatment of Ya Ya and Le Le are false information.
For a start, Ya Ya is genetically flawed, with her mother and grandmother both artificially inseminated. It is even possible that her mother was father-to-daughter inbred. To date, Ya Ya is the only surviving offspring of a total of twelve of her mother's children. As to the second question, they argue that the video clips showing Ya Ya's sufferings are maliciously edited and that the Memphis Zoo has a good record of caring for giant pandas.
But it seems that the discussions have already moved on from the zoological realm. "No more neglect. No more loans. No more experiments. The dignity of the state is not to be trampled upon", reads one comment on Weibo which garners more than 3,800 likes. "I am grateful to my strong motherland for Ya Ya's safe passage home," says one comment on Douyin. “I hope all the pandas who are suffering in the U.S. Can return to China," says another.