Quirky China: Filming North Korea, Squid Game is a moneymaker and a man blocks a fire engine

·4-min read

This week in quirky China stories: A popular Netflix show becomes a moneymaking opportunity in China, even though it’s not available in the country.

Plus, a man was detained for intentionally blocking a fire engine on its way to put out a fire, and vloggers are accused of stealing the government’s patriotic propaganda.

Yeah, no way that actually happened

Chinese vloggers pretended they were filming North Korea. Photo: Baidu
Chinese vloggers pretended they were filming North Korea. Photo: Baidu

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Authorities criticised a handful of vloggers in China for using fake content to make patriotic videos to grown their online traffic.

The videos all had the same title, which was, “We were not born in a peaceful era, but in a good country” and were uploaded on Douyin before being removed, the Global Times reported.

Every vlogger told the same story, which roughly said they were shooting videos on the border between China and North Korea when several Chinese border protection agents approached them.

The agents supposedly told them that the North Korean government was sensitive about people filming their country. According to the report, the soldiers allowed the filming and stood nearby to protect the vloggers rather than turning them away.

It got more unbelievable when some vloggers said they had filmed videos on the border between China and Japan. Japan is an island nation and shares no land border with any country, making it extremely unlikely that vloggers could film “at the border”.

Some videos received as many as half a million likes.

The Central Commission of the Youth League criticised the phenomenon on Weibo by saying, “patriotism is not a business, and it should not be used to create traffic”.

The PLA Daily said in an editorial: “We should firmly and clearly oppose and boycott these videos”.

Playing the Squid Game

“Squid Game” clothing is popular on the Chinese internet, despite Netflix being blocked. Photo: Baidu
“Squid Game” clothing is popular on the Chinese internet, despite Netflix being blocked. Photo: Baidu

Netflix’s original series “Squid Game” is becoming a popular avenue for people to make money in China even though the Korean drama is not available in the country.

Squid Game, which is the most popular Netflix show in the Hong Kong special administrative region, has become a huge talking point on Chinese social media.

Chinese companies have taken advantage, marketing everything from masks, clothes to the dalgona-style biscuit featured in the movie.

Dalgonas are a Korean-style honeycomb biscuit and Chinese vendors are selling them with imprints of circles, triangles and umbrellas, a reference to critical themes in the show. Its price ranges from 12 to 15 yuan (US$1.8 to US$2.32), depending on the design.

The iconic pinkish coat with a black mask worn by workers and the green tracksuits worn by participants in the drama also can be bought for 100 yuan (US$15.47) and 50 yuan each respectively – and are sure to be a hit at Halloween.

On Douban, China’s artworks rating website, “Squid Game” ranks first in the real-time movie and drama popularity rankings.

Running interference

A man in China was detained after blocking a fire engine en route to put out a gas fire. Photo: Baidu
A man in China was detained after blocking a fire engine en route to put out a gas fire. Photo: Baidu

Police in China detained a man for 10 days after he intentionally blocked a fire engine in transit to put out a fire.

The resident of the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi was accused of having driven purposely slowly in front of the truck, hitting the brakes in multiple unnecessary situations.

The fire engine was on its way to put out a fire at a waste collection station experiencing a liquefied gas leak last Tuesday.

The man blocked the fire engine for 200 metres before the firefighters were able to overtake him.

The 58-year-old man, surnamed Qin, told police he did not hear the sirens but was detained because he violated the law by hindering the passing of vehicles that were enforcing emergency tasks.

He was also fined 200 yuan (US$31) and got three points deducted from his driving licence record.

No one died or was injured in the fire.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Quirky China: Filming North Korea, Squid Game is a moneymaker and a man blocks a fire engine first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting