It’s not easy predicting what will go viral on the Chinese blogosphere, but a common theme is one of the “everyman hero” standing up to power.
So sensitive is the issue of power abuse these days that rumours of a Hong Kong flight attendant rejecting demands from a uniformed military police officer became an instant hit on weibo. The officer wanted to delay take-off so she could go out and buy cigarettes for her boss.
A photo of the People’s Armed Police officer being “confronted” by security began spreading on Sina Weibo earlier this week and eventually made its way into Hong Kong and mainland news .
The Hong Kong-bound plane was to take off from Guiyang, capital of southwestern Guizhou province, on Sunday when the officer asked the crew to hold the flight because her superiors had forgotten to buy duty-free cigarettes.
“Sorry, I can’t make passengers of the entire aircraft wait for you to go out and buy cigarettes. I need to shut the door now. Please do not interfere with my plane taking off,” the flight attendant had reportedly said to the officer.
Hong Kong Airlines confirmed the incident and said the flight had taken off as scheduled. Other details were not disclosed.
Internet users lauded the flight attendant for sticking to her guns and refusing to give into demands from an official in uniform. But other netizens dismissed the photo and the story as fabrication.
“She’s got an unusually sexy body shape and head full of dyed hair … I don’t think that’s a real policewoman,” said one microblogger.
The story is one of many similar “air rage” dramas that have cropped up across the country in the last year. Just last week, a man was arrested at the same airport after he reportedly slapped a female Air China flight attendant on the buttocks .
Attacks on air crews have become so widespread that Hong Kong Airlines has been giving basic wing chun martial arts training  to its flight attendants since 2011.
The airline in August reported an average of three incidents of disruptive passengers every week.