Quirky China: A man stares down white tigers, a grandson lives with legacy and 2 Shenzhen statues bring smiles

This week in quirky China stories: a man breaks into a lion enclosure and Lu Xun’s grandson speaks about what it is like to live with the legacy of an icon.
PHOTO: Handout

This week in the strange and quirky stories from China, a man entered a zoo enclosure with 11 white tigers, a grandson tries to live up to his iconic grandfather and statues in Shenzhen bring smiles to Chinese people.

Police in China detained a 56-year-old man for entering a zoo enclosure at the Beijing Wildlife Park that is home to 11 white tigers.

The visitor, surnamed Jiang, who was not injured in the incident, is under investigation for “seriously damaging public order”, the Beijing police said on Weibo.

According to the park, the man suddenly left his car last weekend and sprinted towards the enclosure and stood in the ditch that separates the tigers from the general public, despite the warning from the park’s patrolling staff.

At one point, the man stood about a metre away from five adult tigers, and even verbally provoked them.

The workers demanded that Jiang remain still while throwing food at the animals to distract them, the park said on Weibo.

The tigers, tolerating the man, were later driven into their cages by the workers.

Jiang’s motivations for the risky actions are not clear yet.

Lu Xu’s grandson has a handlebar moustache that is similar to his grandfather’s. Photo: Handout

The grandson of a Chinese literary giant Lu Xun went viral last week after a 2018 video emerged of him complaining about following in the footsteps of a legend.

Zhou Lingfei said he felt people were constantly watching him because of his identity. Lu Xun’s real name was Zhou Shuren.

“My classmates often grumbled to me, ‘we will have to recite your grandpa’s compositions again’,” he told state broadcaster CCTV.

Lu Xun, who died in 1936, began to rise in prominence after the May Fourth Movement in 1919. His writings influenced many people who would go on to lead the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong, who considered him one of the greatest writers in Chinese history.

The younger Zhou chose to join the army to escape from the familiar social environment and step out from his grandfather’s shadow.

But in the army, Zhou was first allocated to the medical service department, as senior-level officers said that he should continue the legacy started by his grandfather who had studied medicine in Japan before switching to a career as a writer.

Later, Zhou was told to work as a military reporter. “When I told them I am not a good writer, they did not believe me, asking ‘how can Lu Xun’s grandson not be able to write articles?’,” Zhou said.

He had to take the job but was inefficient. He said that, during a late evening at work, a senior officer offered him a cigarette.

“I told him I don’t smoke. The officer replied, ‘how could that be true? I remember Lu Xun smoked a lot’.”

September 25 would have been Lu’s 140th birthday, and many activities commemorating Lu were held in numerous cities to honour the writer, but the video had the widest resonance.

A lion statue in Shenzhen is winning over the Chinese internet for its adorable face. Photo: Handout

Two stone lions that adorn the entrance to a government office in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese megacity in Guandong, have become an online sensation for their cute facial expressions.

The lion sculptures were among the most searched items on Weibo earlier this week, with over 60 million people browsing for pictures of the felines, according to Shenzhen Business News.

“Look at their facial expressions. They could be mascots because of this,” wrote one internet user.

“I once went to visit the office and was in low spirits, but my heart healed when I saw those two lions,” another person commented.

The lions have become memes and the newspaper found two other statues near a bank in Shenzhen that look similar.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.