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An Undying Love Story: 93-Year-Old Finds Lost Husband After 77 Years

After her husband did not return from the battlefield in 1937 wartime China, Zhang Shuying never forgot about him. After 77 years, the 93-year-old finally finds what she has been looking for.

Manya Koetse

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The story of 93-year-old Zhang Shuying has been shared on China’s social media thousands of times over the past few days. After her husband did not return from the battlefield in 1937 wartime China, she never forgot about him. After 77 years, the 93-year-old finally finds what she has been looking for: her husband’s soul. 

Zhang Shuying was only 14 years old when her mother arranged a blind date between her and army officer Zhong Chongxin in downtown Fuzhou. Although Zhang disliked the men she had met on previously arranged meetings, Zhong Chongxin was different: she immediately became smitten with the tall and gentle military officer. They got married in 1935 and settled down in Nanjing, while the Second Sino-Japanese War was on the way. The newly-weds were still very much in love when Zhong was sent to the battlefield in 1937. He told his young wife not to worry and promised to be back. In the meantime, the 16-year-old Zhang moved to her husband’s hometown of Chongqing. The Chinese tried to fight off the Japanese invader during the battle over Shanghai and the Nanjing Massacre, but thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians died. As the war continued, Zhang Shuying stopped hearing from her husband. For seven long years, she waited for him to come home.

1The young Zhang Shuying in Nanjing.

In 1944, Zhang met one of her husband’s comrade-in-arms on the streets in Chongqing. After he heard that Zhang had tried to get word from her husband for seven years, he contacted his officers. Finally, Zhang got the news she had been dreading for years; her husband had died in battle. Although she knew of his death, the young widow could not let go of her husband – there was nothing tangible about his death. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Zhang’s parents and brother left for Taiwan. She decided to stay behind in Chongqing, because she wanted to spend the rest of her life in her husband’s city.

2The young newly-weds Zhang Shuying and Zhong Chongxin.

Zhang got remarried in 1949 and had three children. Although she was still heartbroken over her first husband’s death, she did not tell her children the story until 1988 as she did not want to burden them with her past. Zhang had one wish: she wanted something tangible on her husband’s death, she wanted to know where his last resting place was. When her son heard about his mother’s biggest wish, he went on the search for Zhong Chongxin. After decades of research, assisted by volunteers, Zhong Chongxin’s name was finally found on a war memorial (a spirit tablet) in the Martyrs’s Shrine in Taipei. This is where Zhong was enshrined together with other fallen soldiers.

On November 22nd 2014 the moment finally arrived that Zhang Shuying travelled to Taipei to visit the shrine in order to find her long-last husband’s name in between that of his fellow serviceman. A reporter from China’s Haidu News heard about Zhang’s 77-year “reunion” with her husband and decided to cover the story. Because of Zhong’s enshrinement at the temple, Zhang explains she felt that she had “finally found her husband” and had found “where his sprit was.” She stayed in Taipei for seven days and visited the shrine three times before saying goodbye to her husband a final time.

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aaaaThe ‘spirit tablet’ or memorial plaquette at Taipei’s Martyr’s Shrine, displaying the name of Zhong Chongxin (4th from right, lower row). Top photos show Mrs. Zhang Shuying at the tablet.

The story, first reported by Haidu and then other Chinese media, quickly went viral. Thousands of netizens showed their sympathy for the old woman who had searched for her lost husband for 77 years. The popularity of this personal account coincides with the Nanjing memorial. December 14th of 2014 was the first time that China arranged its an official memorial dedicated to the Japanese invasion of Nanjing, now 77 years ago.

a716fd45jw1en64q8qz3pj20dw0gzgmb-1Zhong Chongxin at his graduation. 

 

– by Manya Koetse

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Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Arts & Entertainment

“Hideous” and “Scary”: Giant Chongqing Rabbit Lantern Gets Roasted by Residents

More rabbits are getting roasted this year. This giant Chongqing rabbit was removed after sparking criticism for being ugly.

Manya Koetse

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Earlier this month, the design of the latest zodiac stamp by China Post when viral after the little blue rabbit with red eyes and human hands triggered controversy for being “monster-like.” Now, another rabbit is criticized for its questionable design. This time, it concerns a giant rabbit lantern in Chongqing.

The giant rabbit lantern appeared at Sanxia Square in Chongqing’s Shapingpa District. As the Year of the Rabbit is about to start, huge rabbit decorations have popped up all over China.

But this particular Chongqing rabbit was received with disapproval from residents who said it looked uncanny and so ugly it almost made them cry. “Giant Chongqing rabbit lantern gets roasted for being scary,” Beijing Headlines wrote (#重庆巨型兔子灯被吐槽吓人#).

The rabbit is different from a more standard and cute cartoon rabbit, as it has human-like eyes and eyebrows and a serious expression on its face. Its body has festive orange, green, and yellow colors.

Although its design was not received well by many, others also said they liked the more traditional paper cutting-style of the rabbit.

“I don’t think it’s ugly,” one person commented: “But it’s certainly not pretty.”

Nevertheless, it was apparently decided that the bunny needed to go, and workers came to Sanxia Square to get rid of the rabbit lantern (hashtag #被吐槽吓人巨型兔子灯已被拆除#).

The district management committee told Chinese reporters on January 18 that they gave orders to dismantle the lanterns after receiving reports from residents that the giant rabbit was “appalling” (#官方回应巨型兔子灯被吐槽吓人#).

In the case of the blue rabbit stamp, a mascot that was specially designed to celebrate the launch of the zodiac stamp and the Year of the Rabbit was also discarded after people said they found the red-eyed rabbit “rat-like” and “horrible.”

Earlier this week, an art sculpture created by artist Xu Hongfei (许鸿飞) which is displayed inside Guangzhou Airport, also became a topic of discussion on Chinese social media as many could not appreciate the work of art and its representation of women. Airport management is reportedly now “investigating” how to deal with the controversy and the sculpture itself (#机场回应大厅雕塑被指有损女性形象#).

The Shanghai Morning Post (新闻晨报) wrote a post about the rabbit incident on Weibo, in which the newspaper – that falls under the Shanghai party newspaper Jiefang Daily – implicitly criticized the way in which both the blue rabbit stamp and the colorful Chongqing rabbit have recently come under fire and how the situations were handled.

“Give creativity some room!”, the news outlet wrote, arguing that rabbits aren’t always only “cute,” and that works that are more innovative, unique, and creative inevitably will cause some controversy because they make more impact and people have different views on what is considered beautiful and what is considered ugly.

Simply getting rid of artworks or public installations because many people don’t like them is unconstructive and a waste of public resources, according to the post. It would be better to actively engage in conversations, in the earlier phases of a project, but also once a work of art is already completed and if it is met with some controversy, the post argues; let people think about it, explore it, reflect on it – but do not just cover it up, tear it down, and throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Although some Weibo commenters applauded how Chongqing authorities listened to the people, others did not agree with the rabbit being removed because people thought it was ugly: “What are you taking it down for? If it’s ugly, just let it be ugly, at least it’s unforgettable!”

In light of the discussion, other social media users, including Zhihu user ‘Hǎiniú móumóu’ (海牛眸眸) and Weibo blogger Kai Lei (凯雷), took the initiative to make a collection of other rabbits on display in Chinese cities for the Year of the Rabbit. Some of them made the Chongqing rabbit look perfectly normal.

Such as the cyberpunk rabbit on display in Zigong.

Or the peaceful bunny from Quanzhou.

The big-eyed Nanjing one.

The Shanghai angry, boxing bunny.

But the one in Nanning takes the crown, as it left people utterly confused (#南宁兔子灯被嘲羊不羊兔不兔#).

“I guess you can’t please everyone,” one Weibo user wrote: “But you can displease everyone.”

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Zilan Qian

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China Local News

Driver Speeds through Busy Intersection in Guangzhou

The driver, a 22-year-old man, killed 5 people and injured 13 when he drove into people who were just crossing the road in Guangzhou.

Manya Koetse

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Update: Several of the hashtags linked within this article were taken offline after the time of publication.

Five people were killed and 13 others were injured in a traffic incident involving a BMW driving into pedestrians at Tianhe Road in Guangzhou on January 11. The shocking incident went trending on Weibo, where one hashtag related to the topic received over 1.2 billion views before midnight Beijing time (#广州一宝马冲撞人群已致5死13伤#).

The incident happened around 17:25 local time on Wednesday. Videos circulating on Douyin and Weibo show how the black SUV just ploughed his car through the busy street at Tianhe Road/Tiyu East Road, where dozens of people were walking and crossing the intersection. Shortly after the incident, some people could be seen lying motionless on the road.

Another video shows how the car, apart from the intersection incident, also drove into a woman at another intersection and into a person riding on an electric scooter. Later on, the driver could be seen crashing into traffic fences, throwing money out of his car window while driving. The driver then got out of his car and started throwing money bills around. Shortly after, he was arrested.

According to Chinese media, the driver is a 22-year-old male from Jieyang in Guangdong, identified as ‘Wen X.’ The incident is still under investigation.

Just moments before the SUV drove into the people crossing the intersection.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been ashamed to say I come from Jieyang,” one commenter wrote. “I saw the videos and I’m crying, I’m so shocked,” another person wrote: “He must be severely punished.”

Other people called the culprit ‘inhumane’ and ‘devilish,’ saying he does not deserve to live.

Earlier this week, another major road incident that happened near Youlan Town in Nanchang, Jiangxi, killed 19 people and injured 21 others. The incident occurred on the very early morning (0:49) of 8 January, when a truck drove into a funeral procession.

At the time of the incident, a thick fog allegedly reduced visibility, but the incident is still under investigation. According to witnesses, it took the driver of the vehicle several hundred meters to stop after driving into the crowd. Most of the people who were killed in the incident were locals who had attended the funeral.

On Chinese social media, that topic also received a lot of attention this week. Some of the hashtags used to discuss the incident, however, were taken offline.

People wondered why a funeral procession would take place so late at night. Although some commenters suggested it could be due to local customers, others claimed it was related to the long waiting times for funerals at a time of a major Covid outbreak and related deaths.

“It’s too bitter. It’s a tragedy upon a tragedy,” one person commented.

By Manya Koetse

 

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Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

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