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A Dog’s Chance: Finding Gobi the Desert Dog

It was the story that warmed everyone’s heart: the Australian runner Leonard who found a lifelong friend in a stray dog who joined him on his 155-mile marathon across China. But now Gobi has gone missing and Leonard is calling on Weibo netizens to help him find back his four-legged friend.

Manya Koetse

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It was the story that warmed everyone’s heart: the Australian runner Leonard who found a lifelong friend in a stray dog who joined him on his 155-mile marathon across China. But now Gobi has gone missing and Leonard is calling on Weibo netizens to help him find back his four-legged friend.


UPDATE 24.08.2016: GOBI HAS BEEN FOUND!!!

The story of Australian marathon runner Dion Leonard and a stray dog from China made international headlines this summer. The Edinburgh-based marathon runner was unexpectedly joined in his China marathon by a little stray dog who seemed determined to stick with him after hanging around the runners’ camp on the first day of the Gobi March.

The hosting city of the Gobi March was Hami (aka Kumul), in the province Xinjiang, in the far west of China.

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The two ran together for a large part of the Gobi March, a 250-kilometre run across mountain and desert, around the Hami region in the eastern part of Xinjiang. The dog even stayed with the runner at night and never left his side.

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The runner and the dog turned out to be inseparable, and after the marathon, Leonard was determined to raise the funds to bring the dog he named ‘Gobi’ back home with him. He started a fundraising through Crowdfunder to cover the costs to get the little dog to Scotland, which would be before Christmas when the quarantine process was completed.

But on August 16, Leonard shared an unexpected update on his Bring Gomi Home Facebook page; the little Gobi went missing in Urumqi during a stop in her 4-month quarantine process. Urumqi is the capital city of Xinjiang province, about 600 kilometers (±370 miles) from Hami/Kumul, where the Gobi March started and ended.

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The runner immediately decided to take the airplane from Scotland to Urumqi to find his dog, sharing on Facebook: “Finding Gobi ?…Needing nothing short of a miracle,on my way to hopefully make it happen.”

Yesterday, Leonard posted: “34hrs on the go with no sleep since I left Edinburgh, flyers out in Urumqi & finding lots of strays but not Gobi yet. ”

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By now, the search for Gobi has also been covered by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Weibo on August 21st, after which the story was shared by many others, from China News to Global Times.

Although many netizens support Leonard in his search for Gobi, there are also those who wonder how the dog could go missing in the first place. “How could they just ‘lose’ him?”, one netizen wonders.

“I’ve seen this so many times that people trust their friends to look after their dog and then it runs off. You should really only entrust particularly responsible people with it,” another person comments.

“I just hope Gobi’s safe,” other netizens write: “Sweet little Gobi, you will soon be found!”

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Meanwhile, on Facebook, Dion Leonard posts: “The search for Gobi continues. It’s hard to know where to look with such a large city and so many people.”

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He continues: “We have a small group of volunteers helping and whilst we have had lots of lookalike Gobi sightings we haven’t found the real Gobi yet.”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Local News

China’s Shulan City in “Wartime Mode” after Recording 13 COVID-19 Infections

Local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases in Shulan.

Manya Koetse

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The city of Shulan in China’s Jilin Province is top trending on Chinese social media today after local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases.

These are the first local infections in the entire province after a period of 73 days, China News reports, with other previous cases all being infections from abroad.

Last week, on May 7th, a female resident was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19. The city in northeast China is now the only place in the PRC to be marked as “high risk.”

One page on social media platform Weibo dedicated to the topic of Shulan going into “wartime mode” (“战时状态”) had received over 190 million views by Monday evening local time.

What does this “wartime mode” entail?
– All residents stay home, lockdown of residential compounds
– All public places closed
– Schools closed
– All public transportation suspended
– No more selling of fever-reducing medicine in clinics or stores

According to CGTN, a total of 290 people who have been in close contact with the infected patients have been traced and placed under medical observation.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Local News

On Wuhan’s ‘Reopening Day’, Even Traffic Jams Are Celebrated

As the COVID-19 lockdown has ended in Wuhan, many people are happy to see the city’s traffic finally getting busy again. “I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them.”

Manya Koetse

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It was chilly and grey in Wuhan when the coronavirus epicenter city went into a full lockdown on January 23 of this year. On April 8, 76 days later, it is sunny and twenty degrees warmer outside as people leave their homes to resume work or go for a stroll.

The end of the Wuhan lockdown is a special day for many, as the city finally lifted the 11-week-long ban that shut down all travel to and from the city in a radical effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, city residents returned to work as public transport started again. Roads, bridges, and tunnels were reopened, and the local airport resumed flights.

On Chinese social media, various hashtags relating to the Wuhan lockdown end have become popular topics. Using hashtags such as “Wuhan Lifts the Ban” (#武汉解封#), “Wuhan Open Again after 76 Days” (#武汉暂停76天后重启#), and “Wuhan Reopens” (#武汉重启#), the end of the coronavirus ban is a much-discussed news item, along with the spectacular midnight light show that was organized to celebrate the city’s reopening.

The Wuhan lightshow, image via Xinhua.

“Today has finally arrived! It’s been difficult for the people of Wuhan,” some commenters write.

According to China’s official statistics, that are disputed, over 3330 people have died from the new coronavirus since its outbreak; 80% of these fatal cases were reported in Wuhan. On April 6, authorities claimed that for the first time since the virus outbreak, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths.

Some state media, including People’s Daily, report that the reopening of restaurants and food shops is going smoothly in the city, as people – for the first time since January – are back to buying pan-fried dumplings and noodles from their favorite vendors.

Meanwhile, the fact that the traffic in some Wuhan areas is back to being somewhat congested is something that is widely celebrated on social media.

Some call the mild traffic congestions “great”, viewing it as a sign that the city is coming back to life again after practically turning into a ghost town for all these weeks.

“I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them,” one Weibo commenter writes.

“I won’t complain about congested traffic again, because it’s a sign the streets are flourishing,” another Weibo user posted.

While netizens and media outlets are celebrating the end of the lockdown, several Chinese media accounts also remind people on social media that although the ban has been lifted, people still need to be vigilant and refrain from gathering in groups and standing close to each other.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
Follow @whatsonweibo

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.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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