Top searches on Weibo: Housing prices in county towns & COVID updates
Smaller cities and rural areas in China need to get prepared for the COVID infection peak.
Good to see you all in the first post of 2023! Have you made your new year's resolutions? Your Ginger River’s new year resolution is to bring you more stories about China this year. So let's get started!
Today's newsletter is about trending searches in China. A video from Yicai about the real estate market in county towns has ignited a wide discussion on social media. As multiple cities in China passed COVID infection peak, people have a lot of questions about the recovery. Other top searches on Weibo today range from an internet company's new four and half day work week system to a campaign about finding China's positivity in 2022.
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Tuesday's top 10 trending searches on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) as of 5:30 p.m. (0930 GMT)：
#1 The average house price in nearly 94 pct of county towns in China is less than 10k per meter square, according to Yicai
#2 Does coughing and phlegm indicate pneumonia?
#3 China's positivity 2022
The Cyberspace Administration of China has launched an event to find five hundred pieces of work on the internet that reflect China's positivity in 2022, including words, pictures, videos, columns, and theme activities. The potential winning pieces will be on exhibition on the internet for a vote, according to China Youth Net's official Weibo account.
#4 Women's Federation responded to Internet Celebrity suffering from domestic violence
Chinese Influencer "Sheep of the wolf" posted online claiming that she has been suffering from domestic violence. The influencer said she is forced to stream to make money. An official from the local Women's Federation responded that the organization had noticed the incident and would offer help, according to information online.
#5 Actor Ron Ng Cheuk-hei's role in Mission Run paid the price for the bad he had done
As the Hongkong TV series Mission Run approaches its climax, netizens discuss the plots avidly on Weibo. The gangster TV series is rated 7.3 out of ten by the audience on Douban, a Chinese social media site for rating books, films, and TV series.
#6 Would family members get COVID at different times cause multiple infections for someone?
#7 Old man fell into a lotus pond. It took two days before he was found.
An old man in south China's Hunan Province went missing on Dec. 30. The Police and local residents searched for two days before they found him in a drained lotus pond. According to videos online, the old man was sent to the hospital, and luckily, he is recovering now.
#8 LeTV implements a four and half day work week
China's online video company LeTV announced that the company would implement a four and half day work week, starting from Jan 1, 2023, according to an internal letter on Tuesday. Every Wednesday, employees only need to log in for five hours, like from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Netizens applauded the company, and some even called for other firms to follow suit.
#9 Luyi police reported an incident of a police car getting sabotaged
The police in Luyi, Henan Province, reported an assault on Tuesday. According to the report, eight people sabotaged a police car that was on duty in the county town on Jan 2, creating bad social influence. The police have arrested six suspects and urged other suspects to turn themselves in.
#10 Eat more of these foods after testing negative for COVID (foods abundant in Carbonhydrate, protein, and micronutrients, according to experts. )
#1 The average house price in nearly 94 pct of county towns in China is less than 10k per meter square
A video made by Yicai, a financial media based in Shanghai, said that in about 1,800 county towns across China, only 117 have an average house price of over 10 thousand yuan (about 1,447 U.S. dollars) per meter square, accounting for less than seven percent of all county towns.
According to China News Service, the central economic work conference held in December released three clear positive signals about the industry, including preventing risks and ensuring the delivery of residential buildings, pivoting management towards stabilizing the real estate market and reviving the need, as well as restressing that "house is for living, not for speculation."
Yicai pointed out that positive measures boosting China's real estate market and local policies may have limited impact on smaller places, as the loss of population in county towns and the slowdown of urbanization will curb housing needs. The video argues that the real key to boosting the property market in county towns lies in improvements in medical care, education, and commercial resources, which would attract people from villages.
However, some netizens said that house prices shouldn't pass ten thousand yuan in smaller places in the first place. "The average monthly salary is about two thousand to three thousand yuan in most county towns, and many people have to work decades to afford a condo," said one comment.
[See a previous GRR post about county towns: Another “China” hiding in county towns]
#2 Does coughing and phlegm indicate pneumonia? & #6 Would family members getting COVID at different times cause multiple infections for each other? & #10 Eat more of these foods after testing negative for COVID
As China fights against a big wave of infections after the optimization of COVID measures last month, people have a bunch of health-related questions, including how to know whether the infection has developed into pneumonia, and whether family members getting COVID at different times cause repeat infections.
"It is important to clarify that cough itself does not cause pneumonia. In addition to coughing, pneumonia can cause persistent fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, large amounts of thick phlegm, etc. If these symptoms occur, people should go to the hospital," said Qi WenSheng, chief of ICU in Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of China Medical Sciences, at a State Council press conference on Tuesday.
According to China Central Television, Omicron variants have a relatively short incubation period, which means when one family member catches COVID, others will fall ill shortly afterward. And the family members who get ill first will still have enough antibodies. Generally, they would not get infected again.
For those who have just recovered from COVID, a nutritionist from Peking Union Medical College Hospital gave three suggestions. Eating carbohydrates to get enough energy, eating foods like eggs, fish, and shrimps, which contain quality protein, and eating fruits and vegetables to get micronutrients. With a balanced diet, patients will get back on their feet soon.
Passengers are seen at Hujialou Subway Station during morning peak hours in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 3, 2023. On Tuesday, the first working day of 2023, Beijing saw its morning peak after a steady return to work. (source: Xinhua)
Media outlets have been clarifying the situation and inviting experts to give advice to the general public, and China's government also rolled out more measures to handle COVID infections. On Tuesday, the National Health Commission released a notice requiring relative departments to offer dynamic service to the critical group.
According to the notice, the government will hand out "Health backpacks" to high-risk groups. There would be medicines, antigen tests and masks in them. Moreover, authorities will equip medical facilities and nursing homes with more oxygen devices. And the medical referral process will be further streamlined for seniors in nursing homes.
[Read GRR's post on protecting the elderly from COVID: How can China's elderly be better protected from COVID waves?]
According to Global Times, experts believe that COVID infection peaks in big cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Chongqing have come to an end around New Year's Day. Next, smaller cities and rural regions in China need to prepare for the infection peak. Northern cities that have experienced the infection peak will face an increasing number of severe cases, said Zhang Boli, honorary president of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.