Wiki entry: Internet Phenomenon Little Fatty

On: October 5, 2007
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About Qilan Zhao
I'm currently enrolled in the research master's program Media Studies. Prior to this program, I graduated with a MA in Film and Television Studies in 2005. My field of interest includes gender relations, youth culture, transnational media, and Japanese animation.


Wikipedia compiles a list of Internet phenomenons, categorized under people, bands, games, videos, animation-based, images, films, web sites, and audio. Accordingly, only a “sample of Internet phenomena that have achieved recognition in contexts wider than that of the Internet, such as coverage in the mainstream media”, are present on the list of Wikipedia’s Internet phenomena.

Little Fatty refers to an Internet phenomenon that started in China. In 2002, a photographer took a picture of a 16-year-old high school student, Qian Zhijun, who was attending a traffic safety class. The picture of this overweight boy with his antagonistic glance made its way on the Internet shortly afterwards. Internet users soon started distributing superimposed images of this boy’s face on iconic images such as Mona Lisa, Marilyn Monroe, and movie posters. Qian Zhijun, best known as Little Fatty became China’s most popular household name overnight.

But Little Fatty only appears on the list of images, and is not acknowledged by Wikipedia as a person who became an Internet phenomen. The review log for the deletion of this entry suggested that there are new versions posted about Little Fatty as an Internet phenomenon; but they focussed on the meme, and not the person involved. However, these postings were removed according to the G4 criteria. For those who are not familiar with Wikipedia’s terminology, G4 refers to ” substantially identical copy, by any title, of an article that was deleted according to the deletion policy. This does not apply to content in userspace, content that was speedily deleted, or to content undeleted according to undeletion policy”.

As a first-time user of Wikipedia, I have no idea why the original posting of Little Fatty was deleted in the first place. So I return to where I started. My own presumption is that Little Fatty did not reach as much mainstream media coverages as the people listed on Wikipedia’s Internet phenomenon. If according to Wikipedia, the person in question should achieve recognition in mainstream media coverage, Little Fatty made it in China Daily, the Independent, the Sun (UK), Reuters, and other local Chinese newspapers. Those on the list of Internet phenomena appeared on at least 20 mainstream media, including American news sources such as Washingpost, CNN, Wall street Journal. Little Fatty never made it this big, at least not outside of China.

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