Baidu Beat

Second in our year-end series on the year in search on Baidu. Today, we look at the fastest-rising search terms of the year.

1. 薄谷开来 (BógǔKaīlaí – Bogu Kailai) -  Gu Kailai, wife of fallen Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, was the Lady MacBeth of this dramatic year politically. When she was publicly named on a CCTV1 news broadcast as being “strongly suspected” in the murder of British national Neil Heywood in Chongqing, many found it odd that all references to her included her husband’s surname, appended to hers as a kind of double surname. Speculation was that this was a none-too-subtle attempt to tie her husband more closely to her misdeeds. Searches for her peaked again around the time of her trial, when many netizens believed that a body double had been used in court. This has since been generally disproven. Gu (or Bogu if you prefer) is now serving a sentence after her conviction in the murder of Heywood.

2. 蒙牛伊利停售 (Měngniú Yīlì tíngshoù – Mengniu and Yili sales suspended) – After a Weibo user posted in March about the fact that he couldn’t find products from China’s leading dairy brands Mengniu and Yili in Hong Kong supermarkets like Wellcome and PARKnSHOP, a flurry of searches regarding a possible boycott—was it a melamine scare that Hong Kong knew about but the mainland didn’t? Was it some other quality problem? Was it baseless anti-mainland prejudice?—flooded Baidu. Turns out that Wellcome claimed they had discontinued Yili over a year previous.

3. 大娘变少妇 (Dàniáng biàn shaòfù  – “Old Dame” becomes young girl) – People get sensitive about logo changes. We get that. Starbucks and The Gap were both roundly criticized for their choices in logo design. Here in China, people get attached to logos too. So when Danian Dumplings, a popular Shanghai-based chain whose name means something like “old dame” decided to ditch the goofy old lady who’d been on their logo forever in favor of a curvaceous young lass, viewed from behind in silhouette as she carries a bucket, people all over China were curious, and anxious to spout off their opinions.

4. 央视报道刘翔现乌龙脚 (Yāngshì baòdaò Liú Xiáng xiàn wūlóngjiaǒ – CCTV’s broadcast of Liu Xiang scores an own goal) When darling Shanghai hurdler Liu Xiang was shown in pictures on CCTV with a cast first on one foot, then on the other, sports fans naturally cried foul, accusing him of faking an injury at the London Summer Games. But then when it was learned that one of the images had simply been reversed, CCTV became the object of indignation. They subsequently apologized to Liu.

5. 少女梦想穿越被骗 (shàonǘ mèngxiáng chuānyuè bèipiàn- girl who dreamed of time travel got conned) – A 19-year-old young woman named Dan became obsessed with the idea of going back in time after watching a hit TV series where the young female protagonist, a college student, goes back in time to hang with the emperor and cavort with handsome Manchu princes in the Qing Dynasty. She met someone online and was told that she could travel back in time after drinking a “miracle wine.” The unwitting Dan drank the wine and woke up to find her 1800 kuai cash gone.

6. 温兆伦陷财色门 (Wēn Zhàolún xiàncáisèméng - Wen Zhaolun caught in naked photo scandal) – Wen Zhaolun is a Hong Kong actor who has married three times. One of his ex-girlfriends told reporters that Wen took naked photos of her and stored them in his computer. Some of her naked photos were shown to her by a friend and she was threatened by the publication of the photos. Wen said the accusations were groundless and will take legal actions if necessary. If you ask us, this pales in comparison to the Edison Chan scandal of a few years ago.

7. 赵本山退出春晚 (Zhào Bénshān tuìchūchūnwán – Zhao Benshan absent at the Chinese New Year Gala) – For over a decade, Chinese audiences made it an annual routine to watch Zhao Benshan’s comedy sketch on the Chinese New Year Gala. Right before the 2012 Chinese New Year Gala, many were disappointed to hear that Zhao had pulled out of the gala at the last minute due to health reasons. Media reports said the official reason given as not the entire story and that Zhao was asked to revise his comedy sketch as the last round of rehearsal and he refused to do it.

8. 《时代》喂奶照 (shídài zázhì weìnaízhào- Time Magazine cover photo of breast-feeding) – A cover of Time Magazine triggered much controversy in May. The cover featured a 26-year-old woman breast-feeding her 3-year-old son, who was standing on a stool. The editors said the reason they put it on the cover was to attract attention. It looks like they got what they wanted. The cover story has grabbed eyeballs in China, introducing the novel concept of “attachment parenting” to millions of Internet users.

9. 局长儿媳炫富 (júzháng érxí xuànfù - official’s daughter-in-law shows off wealth) – In Zhejiang Province, a local drug administration bureau chief’s daughter-in-law posted photos of luxury bags and watches online and said her husband basically gets paid for going to work once a week at a local state-owned entity. The photos and comments triggered an investigation into her father-in-law and husband. In a similar case, the wife of a local police in Hainan showed off photos of her visiting hot spring resorts in her husband’s patrol car and an investigation was launched against the conduct of her husband. Internet users made fun of these “ignorant women”, calling them “death traps” for their men and “big helpers” of the ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

10. 春晚睡觉姐 (chūnwán shuìjiàojié - the sleeping woman at the Chinese New Year Gala) – Every year, the Chinese New Year Gala enjoys an audience of hundreds of millions and creates stars on the stage as well as off the stage. This year, the brightest star off the stage was a woman in the live audience who was captured by the camera sleeping soundly amid all the clapping and laughter. Internet users gave her the nickname of “the sleeping woman.” We’re sympathetic, as it’s proven to be a powerful soporific especially when administered after a huge meal of jiaozi.

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