Quirky China: Paralysed man plays mahjong with brain-computer, Covid-19 test fancy dress, dog’s life ‘more precious’ than child

Making news in China: a man brings cheer by wearing a costume during a virus test and a computer is helping a paralysed man to play mahjong.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post artwork

A 72-year-old man with paraplegia has become the first person in China to play mahjong with the help of a brain-computer interface.

According to a video clip taken in a hospital in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province, eastern China, the patient surnamed Zhang, who is confined to a wheelchair, controlled a cursor on a computer screen through a brain-computer interface to play the popular game, the Jiefang Daily reported.

The man became a paraplegic after being injured in a road accident. After surgery to have the interface planted in his head to send his neural signals to an external device, Zhang is now able to send commands to a machine to perform actions on his behalf, like holding a bottle and shaking hands with people.

“I’m so impressed with how advanced our country’s medical system has become,” said one person online.

Man brings online joy dressing up for Covid-19 test

A Manzhouli resident, from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region of northern China, has become an online celebrity after wearing a green fish-head mask while queuing for a Covid-19 test.

The man caught widespread attention after accidentally appearing in state broadcaster CCTV’s report about the city’s Covid-19 epidemic control measures on Wednesday.

The television report showed people queuing for a virus test, when noticing the cameraman was filming him, the man shook his head rhythmically.

“What a hilarious man he is!” wrote one person on Weibo.

“This fish-head man must have a positive mindset,” commented another person.

Manzhouli, a city in the northern Inner Mongolia autonomous region on the border with Russia, has reported 461 Covid-19 cases since the end of last month. It is currently under strict lockdown, with 11 rounds of nucleic acid tests held over the past two weeks.

A dog’s life more valuable, says man in pet incident

“My dog is more precious than your kid,” a pet dog owner allegedly shouted during a fight with a father whose child was attacked by the unleashed animal in Xian, northwestern Shaanxi province, the Huashang Daily reported.

The incident occurred last weekend when the child and father were walking in a residential community. The child, whose gender was not released, was reportedly knocked over by the dog. The father then kicked the dog, before the dog owner physically attacked him.

Both men were taken away by police for investigation after the father reported the incident.

The dog owner was later fined 1,300 yuan (S$278) for not registering his dog with the authorities and not having the animal on a leash.

Police officers also found the owner violated the city’s rules on pet dog management by owning two dogs. The rule stipulates that each family can have only one.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.