By Ning Shung, Yang Mingzhuo
Captivated by online pictures or videos of cute animals? You’re not alone.
Young people in China find themselves obsessed with cute animals online, including cats, dogs, tiny pigs, parrots and others. Also included are animals that can’t be raised as pets, such as pandas, foxes, owls and even large wild cats. Whatever the species, the lives of these animals are enlightening and even soul-healing. This kind of video-watching indulgence is dubbed “xi” in Chinese (sharing meaning with “inhale”, breathing the same air as the animals one loves). “Xi” describes a situation in which people become so entranced by the videos they are watching that they lose all track of time. For ordinary people, finding an opportunity to raise the animals one loves can be difficult in China, but animals seen online give netizens a chance to enjoy the world’s cutest animals all the same. As an added benefit, this trend also draws more attention to environmental protection.