Two weeks ago, we featured the 8 Weird Wonders of India. Today, our sights turn to China as another crown bearer of Asia’s weirdest superlatives.
Here are the craziest that made it to the top 10:
1. Businesses install suicide-proof nets around their buildings
Foxconn, Apple’s major outsourcing partner in China, quickly addressed the rising number of suicide incidents — which peaked in 2010 — in its employees’ dormitories, hence the installation of protective nets on its premises.
2. Firefighters quench a different kind of fire
When the rest of the world trains firefighters to battle forest fires and burning buildings, a different case holds true in China: keeping protesters from deliberately burning themselves.
3. Authorities train tourists some travel etiquette
With reports of Chinese tourists’ utter public misbehaviors — from spitting to defecating in public, and of course, the infamous vandal inscribed by a Chinese tourist on an Egyptian relic — the Chinese government has all the reasons to address its people’s embarrassing public blunders.
4. Arranging ghost marriages means raking in large sums of money
Arranging traditional marriages for dead unmarried young men has become a very lucrative business in China, with some stealing corpses just to collect thousands of dollars in return.
5. lipsyncing prettier proxies
While North Korea has long been suspected of ostentatiously displaying fake missiles in public, in China, such fake showoffs happen in ways a tad more entertaining than intimidating.
In this case, just because Peiyi Yan, a child whose voice was used for the song “Ode to the Motherland,” did not look pretty enough, a more charming Miaoke Lin took the center stage to lipsync the entire song at the Beijing Olympics.
6. Burial at sea equals monetary rewards
What happens when more than one billion people cram inside a country with rising real estate price tags? Burials become much more rewarding if residents choose spreading the ashes of their loved ones at sea. Guangzhou reportedly rewards US$160 for such option, while in Wenzhou, families are offered a higher sum of about $1,290.
7. Fake Apple stores run wild and free
What could be more blatantly fraudulent than an entire “Apple” store selling fake Apple products? In Kunming, southern China, your choices of fake iPhones are seemingly endless.
8. Cockroach farms are an economic bubble
From snake blood to shark fins to tigers’ body parts, these rather famous Chinese medicines aren’t enough. Add cockroaches to the list, as these common household insects are cultured and dried to treat diseases. You can have them for about $20 per pound. Today, many fear that the overpriced roaches signal an impending
bear roach economy.
9. The Mayan apocalypse can put you to jail
Only if you spread such prophecy in China, marking the “apocalypse” of your freedom. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, embarrassment might be the worst punishment you’d get for blurting out the prophecy.
10. Reality TV showcases interviews with death row inmates
Forget about keeping up with the Kardashians. Reality TV shows in China once involved interviews with convicts on death row. It was only recently that Henan TV cancelled the program when a BBC documentary caused worries among Chinese officials regarding China’s international image.