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Chen Weiwei the 'Running Naked Man' is a viral hit in China

January 24, 2011 |  9:33 am

ChenWeiWeitheRunningNakedMan
Chen Weiwei, also known as the Running Naked Man, has become a viral sensation in China after stripping down to his underwear out of frustration with the nation's railway system that has left many unable to travel during the country's Spring Festival holiday.

David Pierson, a Times reporter based in China, provided a report of Weiwei's exploits, the public support for his actions, and the fiasco it's created for the government over on our sister blog, Money & Company.

Pierson reported:

Chen's unlikely saga started last Tuesday when he couldn't buy tickets home despite waiting in line 14 hours at the west Jinhua railway station in China's eastern Zhejiang province.

Though he stood only third from the front of the line, Chen complained people cut in front of him, costing him his chance at the few tickets available to his hometown in central Henan province, 15 hours away by train.

With nothing left to do, Chen ripped off his clothes down to his underwear, shoes and socks and stormed into the station master's office looking for an explanation.

A photographer for a state news service captured the moment in the office, snapping pictures of a doughy Chen in tight boxer briefs next to a poker-faced rail official smoking a cigarette and writing a text on his cellphone.

The photos of Chen quickly went viral, with Internet-users nicknaming him the "running naked man" and calling him a hero for standing up to the state's rail monopoly.

"Running naked didn't put shame on you," said one Web post addressed to Chen on the popular portal Sohu.com. "It put shame on the system."

To read Pierson's full-story on Weiwei, the Running Naked Man, read his Money & Company post, Unable to get train ticket, man strips in frustration, becomes Chinese Internet sensation.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Chen Weiwei in a Chinese railway official's office, posted online. Credit: news.163.com

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