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Geng Shumin (third adult from left), who shot a short video of her family that went viral on the internet, poses on Saturday in Puyang, Henan province, with other family members, who are making a hand gesture meaning "heart". ZHANG ZHAOMENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Viral four-generation video sparks "challenge" as others worldwide follow suit

A 15-second video made by four generations of a family who live near Puyang, Henan province, has touched hearts around the world

First, a 10-year-old girl in the video runs into a room and yells "Ma". Her 33-year-old mother then runs into the room and also yells "Ma". Then the mother"s 60-year-old mother runs into the room and likewise yells "Ma". Finally, the 93-year-old great-grandmother comes into the room, laughing.

The video has inspired a "four-generation challenge"-prompting similar videos and family photos from other four-generation families in China and beyond, including in Denmark and Peru. In China alone, the video has been viewed 70 million times, with 2.3 million likes and 120,000 messages.

Foreign media such as Huffington Post and Australia Broadcasting Corp have covered it, describing the video meme as "charming" and "wholesome". When Kassy Cho of BuzzFeed, a US-based news and entertainment company, posted the video on her Twitter account, it received 1.4 million likes, 353,000 retweets and 5,200 messages.

Netizen Antoine Yupud said: "I have to give that to China. The family devotion is usually a strong value. ... Bravo."

Geng Shumin didn"t expect the sudden online fame that her video received when she posted it on Douyin, a short-video app.

She said she shot the video on a Sunday when all family members-26 altogether-dined together to celebrate her father"s birthday. There are five children in the family, all married with children. Every weekend, they stay at their parents" home, where their grandmother lives.

"The girl is my niece. The second woman is my sister. The third is my mother, and the fourth is my grandma," said Geng.

"We did not expect that our video would be viewed by so many people in and outside China. It is a kind of game, which I believe can help improve the bonding among the family members," Geng said.

The "four-generation challenge" is timely with the approach of Spring Festival, when Chinese return to their hometowns for family reunions. Now, as young couples prefer to live on their own, a big family reunion has become something to cherish.

Foreigners who live in China often comment on the traditional closeness of Chinese extended families.

Saman Pouyanmehr, an Iranian who runs the Global Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that in Persian culture, like Chinese culture, "family is a core value. Persian culture is mainly based on love, patience, politeness and respect. ... Both cultures are very, very similar."

Ilya Cheremnikh, who is from Israel and is the founder of Culture Yard, a Chinese-language school in Beijing, said that in Israel, "Families are still quite close-knit and it is very common in Israel to meet every Friday for dinner as well as on major holidays with the whole extended family."

Jermane Ocampo McLoughlin, a business and marketing consultant who imports Chinese balloons to her home country, the Philippines, said Filipinos use social media to keep in touch with family members. Sometimes, she said, a posting "will go viral within the family, and even the elders get involved".

"Among the cultural values that Filipinos take pride in are their close family ties," she added.

Geng Shumin said, "I hope that the tradition of respecting the old and loving the young will flourish in every family. Family ties do not respect national boundaries-all the people of the world are a close family."

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