The first time I saw a “zero-dollar shopping” (零元購) video, I was taking the Beijing Subway late at night. “Zero-Dollar Shopping, America’s Common Prosperity Policy” — it was certainly an eye-catching headline.

“Bang!” A gunshot rings out and the camera focuses in on a storefront. A crowd of masked Black people charge in. They ransack the goods on the shelves, stuffing their bags full. Some cradle TVs half their height; others run out onto the street with their arms wrapped around huge bundles of clothes. In one video, they don’t even leave the potted plants by the cash register. Customers stand by in stunned disbelief while security guards shake their heads helplessly.

Two years ago, just as I had decided to go study in the United States, these short-form videos on the deplorable state of public security in the country began appearing on my feed non-stop. Up until I arrived in New York, the “zero-dollar shopping” trend still hadn’t faded from the Chinese internet.

“Zero-dollar shopping” in the state-run China Daily.

I chose to settle in Harlem, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan that has been a gathering place for Black Americans since the Great Migration over a century ago, when Blacks in the South moved north to escape poverty, discrimination, and segregation. In the last twenty-odd years, though, Harlem has experienced gentrification and the Black population has fallen proportionally.

When I told my Chinese friends I was living there, their first reaction was to ask, “Is it safe there?” At first, I admit I was nervous. When I finished classes in the evenings, I’d want to sprint the last 100 meters home. Later, I realized there were always police patrolling the neighborhood. Sometimes police cars with flashing lights would stop by the streetside. Maybe it was because Asian faces were rare here, but sometimes officers would give me a friendly wave and say, “Have a good night!” It didn’t seem like the New York of short-form videos where outlaws preyed upon the land.

Read this story in its original Chinese by writer Liu Yi (劉怡) and Initium journalist Yang Jing (楊靜).

But as soon as I opened Chinese social media platforms, videos like “zero-dollar shopping” decrying the lawless state of American society came at me non-stop. Similar videos also turned up on the phones of my family members in China and they’d send them to me in WeChat groups or private messages. I liked to chat on the phone with my family on the way back home from school, and my grandmother would urge me to get home as quickly as possible. In her imagination, nowhere is safe in New York after nightfall. When I talked to relatives on my way to work in the mornings, they warned me to be careful of Black people on the street, who, they cautioned, are “uneducated and savage.”

They had never been to America before, yet had this rigid impression of what it was like: free, dangerous, full of all sorts of people, and at all times you had to keep your distance from Black people. As I was reminded of this point constantly, I began to wonder: which one of us was actually seeing the real America?

A Hotbed of Rumors

By chance, I happened to meet Jin Xia, who had moved to the States four earlier. I learned from her that “zero-dollar shopping” clips weren’t just novelty videos: they were “the number one rumor in California” — something that had been circulating and flourishing online for years.

Jin Xia works at a fact-checking website called Chinese Fact Check, or Piyaoba (闢謠吧), a nonprofit service run by the San Francisco-based civil rights advocacy group Chinese for Affirmative Action (華人權益促進會). It specializes in verifying rumors circulating in Chinese, to help Chinese American communities get accurate information. Resources offered on the website include real-time fake news alerts, fake news reports, and in-depth fact-checking articles — all of which are posted to Piyaoba’s public WeChat account.

A selection of Piyaoba’s many articles debunking the myth of “zero-dollar shopping.”

According to Piyaoba’s introduction to the topic, “zero-dollar shopping” refers to acts of theft and robbery committed by people of African descent in broad daylight in American cities. Many of these Chinese-language videos are edited to include clips of Black Lives Matter protests, African American street vendors and performers, Black church services, Black actors in TV shows, Black people cleaning the ruins of wildfires, and CCTV footage of in-store thefts (sometimes apparently committed by white people).

In some videos, we also see violence meted out against Black people by US police, like the death by choking of George Floyd, which ignited the Black Lives Matter movement.

In all of these cases, though, the time, location, and source of the clips are never cited. All of them seem to agree that the mere sight of a Black face on camera makes it self-evident that a crime is being committed.

The videos claim that theft by African Americans is not considered a crime, but this is a misreading of California’s Proposition 47. The measure, which was passed by a referendum in 2014, recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies. These include shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, and fraud, provided the values involved do not exceed US$950. Misdemeanors are still punishable by six months in jail and a corresponding fine.

The videos claim that theft by African Americans is not considered a crime, but this is a misreading of California’s Proposition 47. 

Proposition 47 is a hallmark policy of judicial reform in California, which aims to take pressure off the state’s overcrowded prisons and address the problems of unfair policing and fines that have not kept pace with inflation. Relevant legal documents and studies are freely available online. But all of this important context is missing from these wildly popular “zero-dollar shopping” videos. Before spreading this “knowledge,” none of the videos’ editors were willing to get to grips with what the “information” and “truth” they so want to disseminate truly are.

“We’ve refuted the rumors in these zero-dollar shopping videos countless times,” Jin Xia tells me as we browse through related articles on Piyaoba.

Over the past year, the website has published nine fact-checking articles on the viral trend. In the explainer “What is ‘Zero-Dollar Shopping?’” the author points out that the term itself is not only inaccurate but discriminatory. The article mentions how racist terms became popular on Chinese-language social media after the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, for example translating the Black Lives Matter movement into a statement of the monetary value of Black lives in comparison to other races, and using “zero-dollar shopping” as a mistranslation of “looting.”

This word originally referred to the appropriation of goods during a war, but was later applied to natural disasters, riots, and protests. In the Black Lives Matter movement, “looting” behavior was not really about stealing goods but making a political statement — therefore symbols of authority like police cars were targeted rather than upscale apartment buildings.

But all this complex background information and rich political meaning was erased by applying the term “zero-dollar shopping” across the board.

Piyaoba’s articles quote from a wide variety of legal texts, supplemented by professional interpretations by lawyers and legal scholars and context provided by sociologists and historians. However, the spread of fact-checking content cannot be compared to that of rumors. On WeChat, the clicks articles like these get are nothing compared to fake news on official accounts with hundreds of thousands of click-throughs, not to mention content on Douyin (抖音), China’s TikTok, that gets millions of views.

What’s even more frustrating is that Piyaoba’s official WeChat account has been shut down by the platform. In other words, if you want to read their posts you can only find them through targeted searches. Jin Xia says that WeChat is still the main channel for fake news in Chinese, but Chinese-language Twitter (X), Telegram, YouTube, and Xiaohongshu (小紅書) are all culprits as well.

A video on “zero-dollar shopping” by the China Times (中國時報), a pro-China newspaper in Taiwan.

For Chinese people in North America, the truth is rapidly submerged by the deluge of misinformation in simplified Chinese.

Even though they live in Canada and the United States, where English is the main language, a mix of habits, cultural affinity, and other factors means that they continue to get most of their information from Chinese-language media. Taking New York, where I live, for example, surveys from 2020 show a high proportion of the over 600,000 Chinese in the city are recent immigrants with limited English.

In addition to Chinese-language online media and social media platforms, newspapers run by overseas Chinese have also declined. These were once an important information channel for older Chinese. At a recent gathering of Chinese-language journalists, reporters from the long-established World Journal (世界時報) told me that Chinese-language media in the US were beset with failed digital transformations, poor management, and parent companies reducing their financial investments and marginalizing outlets. With nearly half a century of history, the World Journal once played an important role in relaying information to Chinese communities, but now editorial staff frequently resign and the quality of news is a pale imitation of the past.

At an activity center for elderly Chinese in Brooklyn, I saw staff laying out copies of the World Journal and Sing Tao Daily (星島日報) every day. But when I cracked open the newspapers, I saw just a few thin pages mixed with reems of advertising and promotional material. All that remained was news about community safety.

Copies of the Sing Tao Daily (left) and World Journal (right).

As I was flipping through the paper, an old lady took a copy from in front of me and placed it under her lunch. An elderly gentleman told me he doesn’t usually read the newspaper because “the characters are too small” and he gets most of his information from WeChat posts and videos. He also doesn’t know how to find new WeChat accounts so he just reads whatever turns up in his groups. Most of the articles he showed me were exaggerated or misleading reports.

He told me he believes America is becoming more and more unsafe, and he deliberately avoids black people when he sees them on the streets. He said with absolute certainty that, since the Covid-19 pandemic, street crime has been skyrocketing nationwide. When I asked him where I got this information, he said, “This is what everyone thinks.”

“Who is everyone?” I asked him.

“Everyone!” he said with absolute certainty.

Cozying Up With Right-Wing Groups

In the Chinese-speaking world, a lot of information can be impossible to find.

This is not just a problem for ethnically Chinese people in North America. If you live in mainland China and use Baidu to search for what “zero-dollar shopping” is, the first result will tell you: “In China, robbery constitutes a crime regardless of the amount; but in the US, robbery up to a certain amount is not classified as a crime.”

Of course, most people do not need to deliberately search for “zero-dollar shopping” content. The sheer volume online means they will come across it on every social media platform whether they mean to or not. When I searched for “zero-dollar shopping” and “USA” last December, I got more than 100 million results — articles, videos, satirical cartoons, you name it. These came with titles like “American-Style Robberty is Booming! Black People in America Are Leading the Zero-Dollar Christmas Craze”; “Hilarious! Zero-Dollar Shopping Has Become America’s Biggest Cultural Export”; “Zero-Dollar Shopping is Taking Over America — Could It Be They Have No Laws or Police?”; and “Zero-Dollar Shopping Sweeps the Nation, Anything Under $950 is Up for Grabs.”

For Chinese people in North America, the truth is rapidly submerged by the deluge of misinformation in simplified Chinese.

When I used “California” and “Proposition 47” as search terms, the search results showed 6 million entries — only six percent of the total results returned when searching for “zero-dollar shopping” and “United States.”

Accounts that post videos about “zero dollar shopping” are active across nearly all Chinese social media, from domestic platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou (快手), and WeChat Sights (微信小視頻) to YouTube. Looking at these accounts in detail, their content comes from three sources that appear to have nothing to do with one another and yet have reached a remarkable, if tacit understanding. 

First up are Chinese-language right-wing outlets based in the United States. In an article from the WeChat account Greater LA (大洛杉磯LA), for instance, the author labels a robbery at a luxury store in August 2023 as a case of “zero-dollar shopping.” They say the thief was carefree and felt it was “very safe” to steal from Chinese communities, ultimately linking the incident to Proposition 47. According to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and other local media, however, it was part of a series of retail robberies organized by a criminal group last year that involved million-dollar sums and resulted in numerous fatalities. It was a major case being actively pursued by the LAPD and had nothing to do with the kind of non-violent, first-time crimes valued under $950 that Proposition 47 addresses.

Still, the comments under this article, mocking various policies of the Democratic Party, demonstrate that readers fell for its misinformation hook, line, and sinker. According to a professional fact-checker, Chinese-language media in North America that make posts like this tend to oppose the Chinese Communist Party and support Donald Trump, and the information they share on “zero-dollar shopping” tends to be accompanied by criticisms of the Democrats. These outlets have a limited presence on WeChat, but they can seep into WeChat through YouTube, Chinese-language Twitter, and other social media platforms.

Official PRC media are also passionate about spreading the notion of “zero-dollar shopping.” On Christmas Eve 2021, the Communist Youth League’s official Kuaishou account released a video that paired festive Christmas music with scenes of masked assailants robbing stores and destroying police vehicles, spliced with clips of a speech by US President Joe Biden in which he says that Americans are richer now after the Covid-19 pandemic. Whoever produced the video did not cite the sources for this footage, but we traced some of it back to a November 2021 robbery of a Louis Vuitton store in Illinois. According to reporting by CNN and others, this incident did not take place during Christmas nor even in California. Crucially, it was a highly organized, high-value crime that local police took very seriously. And even if it had taken place in California, the perpetrators in this case would not have received a light sentence.

In August 2023, a comic titled “American-Style ‘Zero-Dollar Shopping’ Won’t Stop!” was published online by China Radio International, part of the China Media Group stable under the direct control of the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department. In the original Chinese, it shows a group of thieves fleeing in panic, laden with jewelry and luxury goods, while one proclaims confidently, “I’ve done this so many times, there’s nothing I don’t already have!” Underneath, two lines of text relate that “According to CNN and other US media, there have been dozens of ‘flash mob’ robberies at shopping centers and luxury stores in Los Angeles in the past three days. Similar incidents have also occurred beyond California in Washington, New York, and Ohio, causing panic among businesses and the public.” It’s hard to see the logical connection between this and the cartoon, but that didn’t stop major news portals like NetEase (網易) and ByteDance’s Jinri Toutiao (今日頭條) from republishing it.

CRI’s cartoon on “zero-dollar shopping.”

While right-wing Chinese-language media in North America mock Democrats for their political correctness and sanctimoniousness, PRC state media poke fun at the superficiality of America’s economic recovery, and commercial Chinese media get clicks by using “zero-dollar shopping” to show how happy and safe life is in the motherland, by contrast.

In January 2024, a video appeared on the Douyin account “Legendary Documentary of the Founding of the Nation” (建國傳奇紀錄片). Titled “They don’t Produce Luxury Goods, They’re Just the Porters for Luxury Goods” (他們不生產奢侈品,他們只是奢侈品的搬運工), it stitches together surveillance camera footage of masked men robbing stores with clips of Black street vendors selling luxury goods, creating an imagined narrative: by night they rob luxury stores and by day they sell the stolen goods to Chinese tourists.

The voice-over is seething with naked racism: “The darker the vendors’ skin,” it says, “the better the goods.” This bizarre video has garnered over half a million shares, 700,000 likes, and hundreds of thousands of supportive comments, mostly from users with Chinese IP addresses. Fang Kecheng (方可成), an Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Journalism and Communication, wrote in an article that “The stranger the conspiracy theory, the further it spreads. Many official WeChat accounts are now becoming the creators of conspiracy theories. It’s not necessarily that they hate American politicians so much, but posts like this are very likely to break through the 100,000-click threshold.

“The stranger the conspiracy theory, the further it spreads.”

Much of the content published by these types of accounts reaches far and wide, with tens of thousands of views, likes, and comments. Most of the comments demonstrate an unwavering belief in the veracity of “zero-dollar shopping” and adopt a mocking tone. Some spice up the original post with more exaggerated claims, writing that “You can take whatever you want but if you exceed the [monetary] limit you’ll be detained.” Others apply anti-Black sentiment to the Chinese context, predicting that they will “soon have the same in Guangzhou,” which is home to Asia’s largest African migrant population. Many others added unabashedly racist comments like “The Blacks are stocking up again” and “Black purchasing agents offer fair deals to everyone.” A few users expressed doubts about “zero-dollar shopping” but were quickly drowned out by the ridicule of others.

China Fact Check, or Youju (有據), used to be an active fact-checking group in mainland China focused on verifying international news for the Chinese-speaking world. Determining whether or not “zero-dollar shopping” is fake news would have fallen within their area of expertise; but unfortunately, the nonprofit, which took over 50 reader requests for verification daily at its peak, is no longer operational. Founder Wei Xing told me that although the demand for their services was great, he felt like he was doing arduous and thankless work from the group’s start in 2020.

This reason why is simple: in mainland China, independent organizations like Youju that fact-check rumors circulating within and about the country are liable to have their accounts shut down or become subject to repeated questioning. But, on the other hand, “self-media” (自媒體) accounts circulating misinformation about Japan or Ukraine — no matter how preposterous — are left to their own devices, as long as they don’t touch upon matters of diplomacy.

“Spreading fake news about the United States is considered politically correct and is less likely to be censored or shut down,” Wei Xing said.

Owing to various pressures and a lack of financial support, Youju’s WeChat account has gone silent for over a year, while their official website occasionally sees updates from Wei himself. Fact-checking, as he sees it now, has its limits. It’s like an effective medicine you take for a specific condition, he tells me. “When you find an infection you take a dose and bam! — you’ve debunked the misinformation. But when new ailments are coming thick and fast, just relying on medicine isn’t enough anymore.”.

Over in California, fellow fact-checking group Piyaoba has received support from the local Chinese community, but they also face scrutiny from WeChat and struggle to keep pace with the issues they see. On top of that, fact-checkers also have to worry about cyberbullying. During our interview, Jin Xia reminded me many times not to publish the details of accounts posting fake news.

“Why is it that misinformation can be shared so openly while those of us who debunk it have to be so scared?”

When Jin debunked fake news on WeChat concerning an affirmative action bill in 2020, she and her colleagues became targets. She was inundated with malicious messages in Chinese and English in WeChat groups and social media platforms. The worst came one night when her phone buzzed nonstop with constant insults hurled at her in four or five WeChat groups, all directly tagging her handle.

“You can imagine the kinds of abuse aimed at women,” Jin says, clearly reluctant to revisit the experience. “Those disgusting words, posted like [Cultural Revolution-era] big-character posters.” She fell into a pit of anxiety and had trouble sleeping for a long time afterward. “Why is it that misinformation can be shared so openly while those of us who debunk it have to be so scared?” she asks.

Dog-Whistle Politics

During my first few months of tracking “zero-dollar shopping,” I raised the issue with several friends in New York, both Americans and foreigners — but nobody had ever heard of it. After I described the ideas behind it, though, some of them said they believed it. A Russian girl who works as a beautician told me with wide eyes that the “zero-dollar shopping” videos are all true, especially in California. “X [Twitter] has lots of shoplifting videos!” Even though she hadn’t been to California in years, she believed the story. 

When we asked Professor Ian Haney López at the UC Berkeley School of Law if he had heard of “zero-dollar shopping,” he said no. But at the same time, he told us, the content of these Chinese videos is nothing new — similar messaging appears all the time on US right-wing news outlets and social media. 

During our interview with Professor López, we watched a viral video from February 2024 titled “Masked Thief Caught on Video Stealing Dozens of iPhones from California Apple Store.” Published on various platforms by Fox News and its local affiliates, the 45-second clip shows the eponymous thief making off with a large number of phones from a store reportedly located in the city of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area. He passes a police car outside the store but officers do not stop him.

In the Fox News article, local police say that although there was a police car parked near the store at the time, there were no officers inside. The San Francisco Standard reported that police had already arrested a suspect, who was also charged with numerous counts of burglary, larceny, petty theft, and trafficking stolen goods. But these two pieces of information are entirely absent from the now-viral video. It was reposted multiple times on many platforms, with many comments implying that African Americans have an innate preponderance for criminal behavior, while others mock California for being turned into a haven for crime thanks to Democrats’ political correctness.

Professor López points out that the Apple Store in the video is actually in Berkeley, not Oakland, “but Berkeley is an affluent white neighborhood, while the majority of Oakland residents are black,” he says. “There would be more racial tension if people mistakenly thought it happened in Oakland.” This lines up with the confused messaging, racial fixation, and fear-mongering of Chinese “zero-dollar shopping” videos. López explains there has been an abundance of similar rhetoric in the US for the past sixty years. Unlike the blatant racism of the Chinese internet, this kind of content is more adept at using hidden language to talk about racial politics in the United States, with the ultimate goal of garnering white votes.

Since the 1960s, mainstream US politics and public opinion have edged away from overtly racist language. However, right-wing populists within the Republican Party have gradually developed a way to curry favor with white voters by covertly attacking people of color, namely by swapping out one set of racist concepts with another.

In his 2014 book Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, López analyses this approach in detail, explaining how politicians promise white voters they will be tough on crime, curb illegal immigration, and protect America from Islamic infiltration. White voters come to believe that minorities are the real enemy, but fail to see that the politicians who get their votes actually support lowering taxes for the rich, giving corporations regulatory control over industrial and financial markets, and aggressively cutting social services.

According to López, the most common language used in this approach implies that “some types of people commit more crimes and rely on welfare more than others; some types of people are more likely to be illegal immigrants and illiterate than others; and some types of people from certain religions like violence more and have less respect for life than others.”

Right-wing news outlets like Fox, or right-wing accounts on social media, know this language in intimate detail. In the swathes of crime-related videos they post, which mostly last around ten seconds, viewers don’t see the full story or relevant statistics. They only see suggestive captions, clips, and close-ups, reinforcing stereotypes that people of African descent are criminals, that reform of the justice system condones African American criminality, and that crime has increased in the United States under the Democratic Party post-Covid.

As far as the correlation between race and crime is concerned, criminologists Professor Shaun Gabbidon of Pennsylvania State University and Professor George Higgins of the University of Louisville point out in their book Shopping While Black: Consumer Racial Profiling in America, that whites account for a disproportionate number of shoplifting offenses.

According to data released by the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, whites outnumbered blacks in most arrests for various categories of crime. In 2020, whites outnumbered blacks by two-to-one in arrests for property-related crimes. But in both Chinese and English videos on shoplifting and theft, we see — or are made to see — almost exclusively Black offenders.

Inducing people to believe in the supposed “inferiority” of a particular race isn’t just aimed at Black people. Professor López points out there have also been popular dog whistles that demean and discriminate against Chinese people. Most notably, during Covid, Trump kept referring to the virus as the “Chinese flu” or “Wuhan flu.” 

“On the surface,” López explains, “Trump was talking about China-US relations and geopolitics. But in reality, he was talking to the white voters he wanted to win over.” 

The implication was that the Chinese are unhygienic, disease-ridden, and an inferior race. Similar discrimination has, to a certain extent, motivated the Chinese and even the Asian population broadly to support African Americans, with the emergence in recent years of many solidarity groups and movements. However, this information and these discussions are conspicuously missing from the Chinese-language media environment. 

As for the well-publicized spike in crime in the wake of the epidemic, The New York Times, CNBC, NBC, and other mainstream US media outlets have already published stories answering the question, “Is there really a surge in shoplifting in the United States?” The conclusion is that the volume of these crimes is widely overestimated. In fact, retail theft in more than 20 major cities, including San Francisco, declined dramatically during the pandemic and is now merely returning to pre-pandemic levels.

This information comes from a variety of sources: the most recent shoplifting report was from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, released in November 2023 and based on a survey of 24 major U.S. cities. Others include national crime statistics released by the FBI in 2022 based on police reports from around the country, and a Gallup poll on Americans’ perceptions of the crime rate in their local area over the past few decades.

Zero-Dollar Shopping Goes on Tour

As I tracked Chinese content on ‘“zero-dollar shopping” and its English-language doppelgangers, I slowly came to understand the connection between the two. Just as my investigation was about to end, I realized that this absurd idea of “zero-dollar shopping” had already come full circle and landed back in America’s own English-language discourse.

On a popular Subreddit with over 4 million followers called “No Stupid Questions,” a Taiwanese Redditor asked fellow users on the American social network: “What do you think of California’s ‘Zero-dollar shopping?’”

He explained that he had seen this issue covered by the press in Taiwan and was aghast. To explain “zero-dollar shopping” to English speakers, he quoted from two Taiwanese outlets. The first, an article from United Daily News’s (聯合報) UDN Global site, was titled “Good Intentions Gone Bad? Zero-Dollar Shopping Demonstrates the Consequences of Bad Lawmaking.” The second, from the Want Want Group’s Commercial Times (工商時報), bore the headline “The Real-Life Sin City! Why is ‘Zero-dollar shopping’ Devastating America’s Retail Profits?”. Both newspaper groups are known for their conservative, pro-China, and increasingly US-skeptic politics.

The main thrust of the UDN article is a critique of California’s judicial reforms. The article begins with the observations that, “In the past few years, many American chains like Target, Walmart, Apple, CVS Pharmacy have experienced so-called ‘zero-dollar shopping.’ This does not refer to huge discounts but to people simply waltzing out of the store, shopping carts full, without paying.”

The author then inserts a hyperlink under “zero-dollar shopping” to the phrase’s Chinese-language Wikipedia entry. When you open up the page and scroll down to its citations, there are 21 sources — but not even one is from an English-language media outlet or research institute. Instead,it cites a variety of mainland Chinese sites like the official Xinhua News Agency. Additionally, the two case studies in the Taiwanese articles are the same as the fake news content we noted earlier. It confuses the type of crimes and the financial sums.

At time of publication, only five Redditors have responded to this thread. They all admit they have never heard of the term “zero-dollar shopping.”  One user commented, “‘Zero-dollar shopping’ was invented by mainland Chinese web users and is very politically tinged.” Another user added, “If you search for ‘shoplifting’ in America, you will find a ton of videos and news. It is the same as what you posted. It definitely exists in America and the numbers are rising.”

At this point, “zero-dollar shopping” has emerged as a uniquely imaginative piece of translation. From the United States, it arrived in mainland China, wandered over to Taiwan, and then finally, through Chinese-English translation, returned to its home soil, completing a ludicrous round-the-world journey.

This story by writer Liu Yi (劉怡) and Initium journalist Yang Jing (楊靜) was originally published in Chinese at Initium, and was translated by CMP staff.

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