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The most bizarre China news of 2018, from cheating pigeons to Jacky Cheung concerts

Day in and day out, we at SupChina are dedicated to covering news about China of every stripe, but one kind of news that hasn’t gained much spotlight on this website are those unbelievably outlandish, unusual, and offbeat stories that from time to time send us into a state of both utter confusion and guilty joy.

And the thing is, absurd news stories were bountiful over the course of 2018. In case you missed any of these while trying to keep abreast of an ever-accelerating news cycle, we’ve compiled a bunch for you here. Enjoy.


Man sends four-year-old nephew to wrong kindergarten despite his opposition

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Think this irresponsible uncle should never be allowed to have kids? Wait until the final segment of this video when the poor child’s father actually shows up and turns out to be unaware of which kindergarten his son attends.


Burglar breaks into a home to cook, drink, and smash a kid’s homework

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The temptation of free food and drinks was so overwhelming that a burglar in Ningxia Province decided to linger for a few more hours after breaking into someone’s home. He reportedly cooked 15 eggs and consumed some booze before the police arrived. In between his binge-eating and drinking, the man also demolished the house owner’s son’s homework, for reasons unknown.


Arrested accountant at a Fujian temple says Buddha gives him permission to embezzle

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Apparently the Buddha he claimed to have consulted with failed to give testimony to prove the man’s alleged innocence.


Woman expresses gratitude to police after losing 30 pounds in prison

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Spending some time in jail is surely a life-altering experience. Devoid of distractions and, of course, freedom, prison is a place where convicts can contemplate their past mistakes and gain a new way of life — in many senses. For Amei, a former owner of a gambling house in Zhejiang Province and a long-term sufferer of high blood pressure, spending six months behind bars helped her establish a healthy lifestyle that includes weight management, good sleeping habits, regular exercise, and healthy diet. Grateful for the jail time, Amei brought a letter and a silk banner to the police officer who caught her when she was released. “I gained good out of misfortune. My time in prison gave me a chance to adjust my life. Thank you all! Thanks for the journey!” she told the officer, adding that she had quit her gambling business and was on the path to evolving into “a decent human being with a legal job.”


Suspect voluntarily sweeps entrance to a police bureau before interrogation

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In a last-minute effort for redemption, a suspect in Anhui Province brought a broom to a local police station and started sweeping the floor prior to interrogation. When asked what he was doing by officers who passed by, the suspect said he wanted to make a good first impression.


Cheating pigeons win race in Shanghai by taking high-speed train


Two men have been sentenced to three years in prison for rigging a bird race by smuggling their pigeons onboard a high-speed train. Perhaps the most jarring part of this story, though, is that when suspicions emerged over the surreal flying capabilities of the pigeons, the pair decided to kill the birds in an attempt to destroy evidence, which is a crime as heinous as cheating.


Rookie driver wrecks driving school he graduated from with his first car


A new driver in Guangdong Province mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal in a parking lot at the driving schools he went to and successfully graduated from. He said he was paying a visit to his driving instructor, who found the “greeting gift” very “special.”


Victim of hair salon scam ends up becoming a meme

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The disgruntled look meme is as simple as it is effective. The gif, of a young man featuring caricature-like facial features looking at a television journalist with a sense of bewilderment and anger in his eyes, has been dominating the Chinese internet over the past few months. The virality of this gif mainly relies on its versatility, as it can be applied to a huge number of circumstances that make people confused or irritated.

The source of this super-viral meme is Wú Zhèngqiáng 吴正强, an 18-year-old real estate agent in Hangzhou, who was interviewed by a local TV station after receiving grooming services in a salon and receiving an exorbitant bill of nearly 40,000 yuan ($5,850).


Woman calls police over a burglar hiding at her home, who turns out to be her husband

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The moral of the story: Just be transparent with your significant other when you plan to skip work to play video games at home. It doesn’t have to get police involved.


Distressed husband pays 200,000 yuan to learn how to save his marriage — from the guy who her wife had an affair with

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When Mr. Zhou found out that his wife disappeared and cut all sorts of contact, he refused to let it go. Instead, Zhou started paying his love rival for updates on her wife’s status and relationship advice. The unofficial pair scammed the husband out of 200,000 yuan in total.


More than 60 suspects have been arrested at Jacky Cheung concerts


We initially thought it was a fun idea writing about every suspect spotted and captured at a Jacky Cheung show, but at some point we stopped because the pattern was basically the same. Nonetheless, we still feel obligated to keep you posted on this ongoing phenomenon. So here is the most recent update: There have been about 60 suspects arrested at Jacky Cheung concerts since he began a world tour in October 2016 — a tour that, to the chagrin of cops, will finally come to an end this month.

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

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