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Welcome to China’s Warmest Library

Hangzhou Library is not only China’s ‘warmest’ library, it is also the most open library of Mainland China. The library is not only frequented by students and bookworms; to many vagrants, it is their second home.

Manya Koetse

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Trending on Sina Weibo this week is the library of Hangzhou and its homeless visitors (流浪汉泡图书馆). The New Library of Hangzhou is China’s first free-of-charge and “zero barrier” library, meaning that all visitors, including vagrants and beggars, are welcome. The library only upholds one rule: visitors have to wash their hands to keep the books clean.

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Earlier this week, Chinese newspaper The Mirror (法制晚报) published an article and picture series of Hangzhou’s homeless people frequenting the library of Hangzhou. The topic became popular amongst netizens who sympathize with the open environment of Hangzhou Library. Vice director Chang Liangliang says that a lot of homeless visitors are already waiting by the library gates when it opens at eight o’clock in the morning. They often stay in the library until closing time. Their homeless status is visible through their ragged clothing and large bags. Another special rule in the library: luggage is allowed in. For most of these people, the library is both their home and their window to the world. In the library they cannot only read books, they can also watch movies, listen to music, and browse the Internet.

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The 76-year-old homeless Zhang Jie goes to the Hangzhou Library 2-3 times a week. Although his clothes are unclean, he makes sure he washes his hands before touching the books so that he does not stain them. He has an injured hip. To save medical costs, he looks up ways to cure himself.

The New Hangzhou Library is one of the largest public libraries in China, attracting over three million visitors per year. The library is praised online as the “warmest library in China’s history”. The library is 43,680 square meters, offers 2,200 seats and 2 million volumes of book storage. Over 6000 people visit the library on a daily basis.
About 40,000 square meters of the new library, which is 90% of the total area, is open to the public, making it the most ‘open’ library in the country.

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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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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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