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Schoolgirl from Rural China Writes to Queen Elizabeth, Gets Letter Back

A schoolgirl from a small city in the south of China wrote a letter to the Queen of England asking her to visit her town. Much to her surprise, the girl got a letter back.

Manya Koetse

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A schoolgirl from a city in the south of China wrote a letter to the Queen of England asking her to visit her town. Much to her surprise, the girl got a letter back.

A middle-school student from the South of China named Siwen Ma recently sent a letter to the Queen of England, asking her to come and visit her hometown.

Siwen Ma (马思雯) is from a prefecture-level city named Zhaotong (昭通) in Yunnan, southwestern China. It is known as one of the poorest places of the province. The area became well-known when it was struck by an earthquake in 2014.

According to Chuncheng Evening News, Siwen wrote the letter because she read a lot about the Queen, and she wanted to practice her English. In her letter, she welcomed the Queen to come to Zhaotong, and congratulated her to have become England’s longest serving monarch in history.

Much to her surprise, the schoolgirl got an answer back from the Royal Palace. According to Chuncheng Evening News, the letter was signed by the Queen herself. Although this is not accurate, it is somewhat close; it was personally signed by Queen Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting.

The letter says:

“Dear Siwen,
The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for your letter in which you tell Her Majesty a little about yourself and where you live.
Although unable to reply to you personally, the Queen was interested to hear of your hometown of Zhaotong City in Yunnan Province and I am to thank you, once again, for your thoughtfulness in writing as you did.”

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Siwen told the local newspaper: “Actually, foreign affairs are not far away from us. From the big diplomatic and foreign affairs point of view, everyone actually is an ambassador to the place or country they come from.”

The topic is posted to Sina Weibo under the hashtag of “The English Queen replies to Yunnan Schoolgirl” (#英女王回信云南女生#).

Most netizens respond to the fact that the media falsely state the letter was personally signed by the Queen herself (“Do you read English at all?!”), and others react in amazement that the Queen actually has someone who writes letters for her: “Just like Santa Claus,” one netizen says.

Amongst the reactions are also those from fellow Zhaotong residents, who seem to be proud that their city is mentioned by the Royal Palace.

“Why don’t we try to write the Big Leader [Xi Jinping] a letter,” one netizen says: “And see what happens then?”

By Manya Koetse

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

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)
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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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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