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Surround and watch

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围观 (wéiguān): surround and watch

surround and watch

When someone has done or said something unusual, netizens (and sometimes people in real life) call for a crowd to come “surround and watch.”

Examples of surrounding and watching:

- On the comment page of a microblog, someone might write “surround and watch the 楼主 lóuzhǔ,” the person who started the thread.
- In a news article someone might write about hundreds who “surrounded and watched” a street fight.

“Surround and watch” also implies that an occurrence is receiving public scrutiny. The 2010 Southern Weekend article “Scrutiny is Power: How ‘Surrounding and Watching’ Has Changed China” (关注就是力量--围观改变中国) popularized this sense of the term. Columnist Laughing Silkworm writes, “What’s important was that public scrutiny was effective. They could no longer view it as being immaterial—they had to respond to the public scrutiny” (重要的是,围观起作用了,他们不能再视围观为无物,他们必须回应围观).


“People are cruelly and inhumanely surrounding and watching the 楼主 lóuzhǔ.”
From a news article on Sina.com. Thousands “surround and watch” as a high school student selects a boyfriend. She had posted the day earlier an open invitation on the school’s bulletin board for people to audition to be her boyfriend. “Stand at the bottom of the school between 12:30 and 12:50,” she wrote. “Call my name and if I find you to suitable I will come down and greet you.”