onsdag 29. januar 2020

Coronavirus: Chinese wish is for new year health, not fortune

The coronavirus has not only disrupted the way many Chinese people are celebrating their new year - it has also reshaped their traditional greetings.  Forget about fortune in the year of the rat - just keep your health. As the coronavirus outbreak grips China in the midst of the country's lunar new year holiday, celebrants are dispensing traditional well-wishes. Instead of well-worn appeals to prosperity, many Chinese are telling each other to be free from sickness as the country struggles to contain a public health crisis.

With cities on lock-down and travel plans derailed due to the outbreak, Chinese internet users have found a new way to connect with family and friends during the two week holiday that began on 25 January. A popular new New Year greeting, "bai du bu qin", is trending online, supplanting wishes for abundance and fitting with the zeitgeist.  A poetic phrase with origins in Chinese literature, it means "may you be immune from 100 toxins". The benediction has been viewed over 50 million times on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.