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We like to fancy ourselves an enlightened society. But let's be honest: Whenever there's a dubious nugget of news about the latest cra-a-azy fad to come out of the eastern Pacific Rim, otherwise sane websites start frothing at the opportunity to scream about how Asian people are adult-shaped babies who are all 40 seconds from toddling off a nearby cliff.

Seriously, this isn't a new trend. In the past, we at Cracked have pointed out how Western news sites just plain don't give a fuck about publishing bogus articles on Asian people engaging in Muppet shit, from selling canned air to walking pet cabbages. And it's the same stupid formula every time:

Lazy Translation + Lazy Sourcing + Lazily Ascribing A Single Behavior To Millions Of People =
Inevitable Daily Mail Article With The Credibility Of A Bowlful Of Talking Farts

Again and again, year after year, we see this phylum of credulity-straining clickbait splayed everywhere, leading one to reasonably assume that everybody who writes for the Internet is in truth the same stoned intern. So what sort of aggressive bullshit has been making the rounds lately?

Wearing Plastic Bags Is Not A New Fashion Trend

Dong Feng Studios

Seeing as it's probably hobo chic in some corner of Los Angeles somewhere, people shrugged it off when news outlets revealed that wearing a plastic bag like a unitard is all the goddamned rage through posting photos of Taiwanese young people doing exactly that. But the "incredibly affordable hot look of this season," as The Daily Mail calls it, raises some dire concerns. You know how the corner of a box will tear a tiny hole in a plastic bag, and the next thing you know, the whole thing has split apart? Well, doesn't this look ready to rip open any second?

Teddy Captain
"That's why you gotta go with hemp bags, brah."

What you can't see, due to the angle of the photo, is her entire vagina-crack on display for creeps around the globe. It's a shocker that more isn't visible -- those things are transparent as hell when you even slightly stretch them. It's not exactly practical street wear, is it?

via NeoJournal.com
But the above men are wearing them with 100 percent sincerity!

That's because it isn't. When Venus Wong of Refinery 29 actually bothered to look into it, she found that the first photos were the result of two bored models wondering, as we all would if given enough time and not enough to do, if they could fit their torsos into plastic bags.

Oddly enough, the photos of beautiful women in skimpy transparent material proved to be rather popular. What started as a joke, um, continued as a joke. All the subsequent photos are simply riffing on the originals after they went viral. We're so eager to believe that those wacky Asian people are willing to bounce around like Gummi Bears for the sake of a bizarre fashion craze that no one stopped to consider that someone on entire continent of billions might have a sense of humor.

Chinese People Aren't Planking On Escalators To Avoid Dying

Lucas Schifres/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Last summer, it was reported that a Chinese woman fell to her grisly death when the metal plate at the top of an escalator gave way. In a major plot twist, this horrifying story turned out to be true. If you haven't already seen the footage, we have to warn you for ethical reasons and sheer concern for your well-being* that you don't want to. If morbid curiosity does get the better of you, enjoy your new escalator phobia.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images News/Getty Images
*Our legal team knows how to empathize better than we do.

Incidents like this have been reported in China, where industrial regulations are regarded as polite suggestions. So how did we in the oh-so-civilized West respond to this horrifying public safety issue? We sent over a few spare temp engineers to work with the Chinese government to establish some regulatory procedures, and major Chinese metropolitan areas where escalators were regularly breaking down have reported zero injuries in the last six months, right?

Of course not! We went around the Internet publishing hilarious gifs illustrating the wacky ways the people of China have begun riding escalators to avoid injury.

Cosmopolitan, NextShark, Shanghaiist

Are you noticing a pattern? Every link contains these three photos:

As we keep telling our therapists, three occurrences hardly constitute a trend. But there's more: All three photos were taken before the accident, and one dates back to at least 2011. Unless the Chinese government has secretly built a time machine -- which we're not ruling out -- it's not possible for these hijinks to be a reaction to last summer's story. In fact, Snopes reports that these images simply depict "young people having fun riding escalators in unconventional ways." It's like coming here, taking pictures of hipsters in unnecessary scarves, and claiming it's a reaction to mass shootings. "Silly Westerners! They think extra fabric repels bullets."

Trinette Reed/Blend Images/Getty Images
To be fair, we don't have a better explanation.

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There's No Craze Of Chinese Women Staring At The Sun To Lose Weight

junyyeung/Moment/Getty Images

Clearly, the standards of beauty in Asia -- like everywhere else in the industrialized world -- are a bit worrying. That must be what's driving Chinese women to beaches in droves, not to go jogging or enjoy bespoke mimosa colonics, but to stare at the Sun in hopes of losing weight. According to Vice, Business Insider, and several others, followers of this craze that's sweeping the nation hilariously believe that the Sun can replace food, as if they're in some kind of unfinished R.L. Stine book about chlorophyllic zombies.

Lucas Schifres/Getty Images News/Getty Images
And that book is Fear Street: Don't Look At The Sun!

Their source for this? A single article from some website called Oriental Daily. That already doesn't bode well, but run that sucker through Google Translate, and it's clear even through the resulting mish-mash of English that what the Western media is reporting isn't what's happening. For example, one of the women interviewed explicitly states that the goal is not to replace food entirely, or even to lose weight -- the "treatment" includes a strict eating regimen. They're claiming that they do it for the general health benefits it brings, such as better sleep and improved vision. Staring at the sun for those two reasons doesn't make a ton of sense, but America has Gwyneth Paltrow, so we're not in a position to judge.

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty
"We're human beings, and the Sun is the Sun."
-- Gwyneth Paltrow on science

To top it all off, it's a group of about ten women. A crazy sewing circle's worth of Gwyneth wannabes.

Chinese Drivers Aren't Intentionally Murdering The Pedestrians They Hit

Wangwukong/The Image Bank/Getty Images

If our pals over at Slate are to be believed, the Chinese are applying the "better off dead" strategy to jaywalkers. In September, they published an article with the lurid title "Driven to Kill: Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit." The author, Geoffrey Sant, explains that it's "fairly common" in China for perpetrators in vehicular assault cases to make sure their victims are good and dead, because Chinese laws make it worth their while.

You see, if the victim lives, the driver might be on the hook for their medical care for the rest of their lives. But if they die, the driver only has to pay a fraction of that amount in a one-time fee. Sant cites numerous cases in which drivers have been caught on video doubling back over their victims like barn cats who forgot their place, the disproportionately high death rate of traffic accidents in China, and an acquaintance who totally said it's a thing. Other outlets rushed to pick up the story. Sant admits that "it seems like a crazy urban legend" -- and it probably is.

Lies. Lies are behind the "trend."

See, in their hurry to explain why Chinese drivers kill pedestrians, nobody but the good folks at Snopes seem to have bothered looking into whether or not this has ever truly happened. Wanna guess what they found? Not one of the six cases cited by Sant could be confirmed as an intentional "hit-to-kill." It's true that the videos that could be accessed showed drivers backing up and over victims multiple times, but when viewed without the influence of a thing a guy (possibly the meth addict who does Donald Trump's hair) told you one time, it's a lot harder to determine what's going on. Maybe they panicked, tried to flee, and ended up making the situation a lot worse, like a morbid Three Stooges skit. Maybe they have a murderous Evel Knievel Gone Evil streak. Maybe they were really, really drunk. One of the incidents didn't even take place in China, but in Russia, which definitely makes the drunk-driving theory much more plausible.

It's true that the death toll from traffic accidents in China is crazy high -- one in four, compared to one in 70 in the United States -- but Sant himself admits that it's probably the result of tons of other factors, such as lower rates of seat belt use and higher rates of drunk and/or reckless driving. All other evidence is nothing but hearsay. There's no story here; just a guy who was way more prepared to believe that Chinese people regularly go Grand Theft Auto on each other than to consider that an acquaintance who was admittedly "enjoying [his] shock" might have been yanking his chain.

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Chinese Companies Aren't Experimenting With Mask-Wearing Employees


"Can a Chinese company reduce stress with masks?" asked the headlines last summer, when it was reported that "some companies" were attempting to address the physical and psychological problems that plague their overworked employees by encouraging them to start wearing festive horror films on their faces. The immediately apparent answer is that no, no it can't, because nobody has ever turned to see their co-worker decked out as Guy Fawkes and become less stressed. But there is a sort of logic to it. The masks allow them to hide their facial expressions, these articles explain, which reduces the pressure to look happy all the time. That's kind of genius. Who wouldn't want a free pass to roll their eyes at their boss all day? It might seem stupid to us, but you have to admire that lack of shame.

We don't see a single shamefaced worker in the whole office.

Except that would probably seem stupid to them, too. This isn't a new policy that all the hip Chinese office parks are trying out -- it's one of several themed "relaxation days" held every month by a property management company, kind of like the "spirit days" you had in school where you went to class with crazy hair. That's right: It was one company, for one day. It was less about the dire scourge of smiling and more "hey, let's be silly and wear stupid masks for a day."

Wow, look how much these Chinese drones hate smiling.

The way the media chooses to interpret stories like this, and the fact that we believe them, reveals so much more about ourselves than the cultures they're about. If we saw someone from a Western culture wearing a plastic bag or walking a cabbage, we would decide -- correctly -- that that person was a weirdo or an artist or a weirdo artist. When we see an Asian person do it, it must be a legitimate fashion craze or a sign of an entire culture of Freudian nightmares.

To the English-speaking media, the entire geographical area from the Bosphorus Straits to the Sea of Okhotsk are incapable of doing anything in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, and therefore must be stupid for wanting to wear masks. If every Chinese newspaper doesn't have a secret "Look What the Stupid Americans Think We're Doing" section, they are missing out on some prime material -- but shit, we'd probably misreport that, too.

Fellow sites, if we can't appeal to your vague sense of making the world a less dumb, weirdly racist place, then here's a depressing where-are-they-now. Remember "Chinese Husband Successfully Sues His Wife for Ugly Children (Because She Didn't Tell Him She Had Plastic Surgery)?"

Voice Of Russia
Spoiler: It was an ad all along!

Well, in a recent interview with the BBC, the model in the photograph discussed how the poorly-researched clickbait that spun out of the ad helped kill her career. Great job, gang! Between her and that unfairly maligned Polish Santa Claus, we have the beginnings of a support group for people whose lives were destroyed by blogspam.

Manna is way more terrified of escalators now than any of those normal people and also has a Twitter.

Also check out 5 B.S. News Stories That Fooled Your Friends and Man Vapes Semen: 5 B.S. News Stories That Went Viral.

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