As we reported yesterday, certain fact-check averse sections of the Western media have gotten themselves in a tizzy over the purported story that Chinese teens are taking cabbages for walks as a means of coping with depression.
It pains me to think that this needs pointing out, but the story is not true.
One need only turn to Chinese media coverage of this weekend's MIDI festival in Beijing, where cabbages were abundant, to find the truth. Rather than the "depression" narrative, Chinese media describes the cabbages as what they are: a poncey piece of performance art.
The performance is based on 14 year old piece by Han Bing, Walking the Cabbage in Tiananmen. Han described the cabbage as:
a quintessentially Chinese symbol of sustenance and comfort for poor Chinese turned upside down. If a full stock of cabbage for the winter was once a symbol of material well-being in China, nowadays the nouveau riche have cast aside modest (monotonous) cabbage in favor of ostentatious gluttony in fancy restaurants where waste signifies status...Yet, for the poor and struggling, the realities of cabbage as a subsistence bottom line have not changed—what's changed is the value structure that dictates what—and who—is valuable or worthless in Chinese society.
As with men suing their wives over ugly children, if it seems to good to be true, and – more importantly – isn't reported in the Chinese press, it's probably not true.
[Image via CNS]