When a photographer filmed a couple walking the streets of downtown Chengdu, they probably didn’t expect the clip to immediately go viral, expose an affair, and start a fashion trend. Here’s how one TikTok from Douyin (China’s TikTok) caused the downfall of a top Chinese executive and his mistress.
Despite the streets of Chengdu being full of people, one photographer couldn’t help capturing one particular couple. Wearing matching pink couple outfits, an older man and a younger woman were holding hands as they went shopping. Because the internet works fast, it didn’t take long to find out their identities.
Since the TikTok gained millions of views, it was easy to find out that the man was Hu Jiyong, a general manager of CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) subsidiary Beijing Huanqiu Construction. They also discovered that the woman in the TikTok was not his wife.
The woman was Dong Sijin, one of Hu Jiyong’s co-workers. Within hours of the TikTok going viral, CNPC released a statement about both of them being fired from the company. However, that’s not what the internet was focused on. Everyone’s eyes were on Dong Sijin’s pink, flowery dress.
Despite Dong Sijin wearing a Dior bag that’s worth thousands of dollars, the internet searched Taobao (Chinese shopping platform) for her $84 USD dress. As everyone tried to buy the “mistress” or “dismissal” dress, 1,000 pieces sold out in a single day—becoming the hottest item on the platform. By the next day, the dress sold another 3,000 pieces. So many people were buying the dress that the shop’s owner warned everyone to “shop rationally.”
Although many women uploaded videos wearing the viral dress, that wasn’t the end of everyone’s interest in the cheating co-workers. Couples took to the streets to cosplay as Hu Jiyong and Dong Sijin, wearing similar pink shirts and pink dresses.
Some internet users got even more creative by using memes and AI-generated pictures to turn the adulterous couple into manhua (Chinse comic) and cartoon characters.
Although the viral TikTok caused an unexpected series of events, netizens found the silver lining.