Popular web celebrity gives glimpse into the life of Chinese villagers during COVID-19 outbreak

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/25 18:33:40


Liu Shichao Photo: Ji Yuqiao/GT

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, residents in China's rural areas have been staying at home with their families to help prevent the spread of the virus. Liu Shichao, better known by his online handle "Hebei Pangzai," is one such villager who has risen to fame lately after sharing his daily life online and giving netizens a look into the measures his village has adopted to combat the deadly virus.

Liu, 34, said he considers himself to be just an ordinary Chinese farmer but he has been dubbed with the title of "King" by his more than 130,000 fans on Twitter. He lives in the village in Xingtai, North China's Hebei Province. It is similar to most villages in northern China, with large areas of farmlands and small homes next to each other.

Liu told the Global Times that he has not gone out for work since the COVID-19 outbreak out of concerns for the safety of his family and his children have not gone to school. 

"They have been taking online classes, just like other kids around the country," he said.

The epidemic has given Liu the opportunity to spend more time with his family. He spends most of his time playing games with his children such as a round of badminton in the yard.

"My family gathers together to eat hotpot and dumplings. We are all happy, be it the children or adults." 

He noted that this precious family time has been a good opportunity to strengthen family ties. He said that farm work has not been impaired by the epidemic. He noted that now that the time to irrigate the wheat fields in the village, the village committee has called on the villagers to take turns to carry out the work. 

"The day after tomorrow is my turn to water our field. This measure is safe and highly effective," he added.

Liu had previously gone viral with his videos showing himself drinking vast amounts of alcohol in unique ways. The outbreak hasn't put a damper on him having fun, in fact he just had a party with his friends several days ago, albeit it was an online party.

He and his friends chatted through WeChat video chat and drank some beers together. One of his brothers even got drunk.

Liu said that his life has not been affected by the epidemic all that much. 

"Everything is the same as usual except that I need to stay at home."

The committee of Liu's village has assigned each small street (or hutong) two alley chiefs, who are in charge of recording the temperatures of residents and reporting them to the committee.

Every street is sprayed regularly now, Liu added.

In a video Liu sent to the Global Times, the streets of the village are completely empty and there aren't people in the village square, which used to be one of the most popular places for villagers to gather together to chat and play.

Liu's overseas fans have been worried about his safety and have sent many message him to ask if he is healthy and if he needs any help. 

"Blessings for your family from Finland. I hope you stay well and healthy," one netizen wrote on Twitter.

Liu said he appreciates these blessings and the concern from these friends he has never met and thanks them very much.

"I hope fans also care more about their personal hygiene and put their health first. When they are in crowded places, please take protective measures as well," Liu said in a message to his fans.

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