TV personality Qu Zhihang and his naked push-up
Push-ups and the Internet usually don’t go together, much to the regret of doctors. In China, though, they’re both part of the newest meme, sort of a protest against a government that insists on one version of the story no matter what.
Seventeen-year-old Li Shufen died in June in Guizhou provence. She had been traveling with two men and a 16-year-old girl, who Li’s family say played a part in her death, maybe even raping and murdering her. The China Daily reports Li’s brother says he saw injuries on her face.
The government has a different story. It says Li did two push-ups, said something like, “I’m going to leave,” then jumped off a bridge to her death. The official report on Li Shufen’s death sparked a riot in Guizhou, and while the investigation continues, the strange two push-up story took on a life of its own.
Celebrities (in China) posed for pictures doing push-ups. Web comments mixed push-ups into famous phrases, like “To push-up or not to push up, that is the question.” Several thousand people joined groups with push-up as a keyword.
The Chinese government added push-up as a censored phrase just a day or two later, but word still got out. That’s why you’re reading it here.