How Are Mandarin Students Reacting to the WannaCry Virus in China?

Chinese General Virus

Sometimes, the job of a Mandarin Chinese teacher in China is to help students deal with day-to-day obstacles in life. This week, many of my students are freaking out over the new computer virus called WannaCry that is affecting individuals and organizations around the world. In China, without local knowledge, students are relying on Chinese teachers and friends to relay and recommend a security solution. Teacher Becky to the rescue!
A computer virus that started in Europe in May of 2017 has now spread to Asia, with China being the hardest hit country over here so far, with 30,000 businesses and organizations being affected in just a few days. The software, called WannaCry, is locking computers throughout the world and holding users for “ransom” by asking for $300 to unlock their system and restore their files. Although the number of affected computers is slowing in Europe and North America, the rate is increasing in China, with some of the country’s largest companies, universities and government organizations being infected. Throughout China, many students are not able to access their final papers and some companies are not able to make or accept payments online. Thousands of gas stations were requiring that drivers only pay in cash. Authorities aren’t sure how far this will continue to affect our lives.
Microsoft is recommending that users update their software while Internet security experts are hurrying to disable the bug from spreading further. Fortunately, Qihoo 360, a top internet security company here in China, has released a remedy for WannaCry that does not need Internet connection and that my students (and everyone else!) can utilize for free!
In Mandarin Chinese, we are calling this worm “勒索病毒 (lèsuǒ bìngdú)” which translates to “blackmail virus”.


Hěnduō guójiā dōu shòu dào lèsuǒ bìngdú de gǎnrǎn.
很多        国家   都    受   到   勒索    病毒   的   感染.
Many countries have been infected by the WannaCry cyber attack.

勒索 (lèsuǒ) = blackmail, extort.


Tāmen xiǎng yào lèsuǒ wǒ de qián.
他们     想     要   勒索  我  的  钱.
They tried to screw me out of money.

病毒 (bìngdú) = virus.


Wǒ de diànnǎo zhòng bìngdú le.
我   的   电脑       中       病毒 了.
My computer was attacked by the virus.

Whatever we call it, it’s a digital emergency for plenty of people here, my foreign students included. So, if you’re living in China and worried how to protect your computer, look at Qihoo360’s “patch” and also ask your Chinese friends to keep you updated each day as to the new developments in protecting yourself from WannaCry.

HSK 3 quiz

1. The WannaCry virus has been given this name in Chinese:
A. 病毒 (bìngdú)

B. 勒索 (lèsuǒ)

C. 勒索病毒 (lèsuǒ bìngdú)

―Written by Becky Zhang―

Becky Zhang is a teacher at She has over eight years of experience teaching Mandarin Chinese to foreign students and promoting Chinese culture. She lives in Beijing but loves traveling to ancient Chinese villages. One day she’d like to be a tour guide in China!

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