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‘True Heroes’ : Netizens Pay Tribute to Firefighters Killed in Hong Kong Blaze

As Hong Kong celebrities and TV stations have joined hands to pay respect to the city’s frontline firefighters who battled the deadly blaze that broke out last Tuesday, the topic ‘salute to our firefighters’ became trending on Sina Weibo.

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As Hong Kong celebrities and TV stations have joined hands to pay respect to the city’s frontline firefighters who battled the deadly blaze that broke out last Tuesday, the topic ‘salute to our firefighters’ became trending on Sina Weibo.

An ‘unimaginable’ fire broke out in a Hong Kong industrial facility at the Ngau Tau Kok area a week ago, burning for almost five days, more than 108 hours, claiming the lives of two firefighters and injuring 11 others.

fire

Senior fireman Samuel Hui Chi-kit (37) died after being taken to hospital on Thursday. Senior station officer Thomas Cheung (30) died while battling the fire on Tuesday, SCMP reports.

It was Hong Kong’s longest-running fire in over 20 years. The South China Morning Post reported that an electrical leakage from the air conditioner was a potential cause of the fire.

As the city was stunned and saddened by the loss of the two firemen, a group of actors led by celebrity Hong Kong Eric Tsang (曾志伟) and nine Hong Kong TV and radio stations launched the “Salute to Our Firefighters” campaign on Sunday. Those taking part were asked to upload a picture of themselves on social media holding up a paper with the message of “salute to our firefighters” and a lighted torch.

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“Usually if friends do something for us, we say thank you to them. But when they are sacrificing themselves for us, thank you is not enough. We really want to do something for [our firefighters], but it is not appropriate to go to the frontline to encourage them, or deliver food and water,” Tsang said.

In honor of the firemen, the 1993 song Sincere Hero (真心英雄) by Jonathan Lee (李宗盛) will be rewritten as True Hero (真的英雄), sung by hundreds of singers. Pictures shared by netizens on social media will be included in the music video. The song will make its debut at 7pm this Tuesday.

salute

Within several hours after the campaign was launched, the topic became a hit on Sina Weibo under the hashtag of “Salute to Our Firefighters” (#向前線消防員致敬#). The campaign’s Weibo page has been reviewed by more than 30 million people.

Chinese netizens shared their gratitude for firefighters who put themselves in harm’s way to save others. One Weibo user wrote: “No matter where in the world they are, firefighters deserve our respect.”

Another netizen applauded the firemen in a more creative way. In his post, the male Weibo user named ‘It Will All be Okay‘ sketched a short story portraying the dream of thousands of firemen “to stay alive until retirement.

1firefighter “I am a fireman.”

4“Many people think that we are heroes.”

3“Even though the fireman suit doesn’t give us superpowers.”

2“But we are not heroes. Sometimes, we have to give up.”

6“In the face of danger, I will fear, too.”

7“When such a fear comes, my brain always tells me to stop.”

pre10“Do you know the honor of being a fireman?”

10“It is neither receiving awards nor recognition;”

9“Rather, it is to retire while alive.”

By Yanling Xu

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

Yanling Xu is a freelance writer and recent college graduate. Originally from Xiamen, China, she studied in the U.S. and received her Bachelor degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Grinnell College. Yanling currently resides in Chicago.

1 Comment

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  1. Avatar

    Wilson

    July 1, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Does anyone have the English lyrics to the re-wire song dedicated to the Hong Kong Firefighters (True Hero)?

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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)
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China Local News

Online Anger over “Special Treatment” for Quarantined Foreigners in China

Are foreigners in quarantine being treated better than Chinese nationals? This Nanjing Daily article has triggered controversy.

Bobby Fung

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On March 27, an article titled “For the Good Health of 684 Foreigners” (“为了684个“老外”的安康”) sparked controversy online over the alleged special treatment of foreign nationals during their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

According to the article published by Nanjing Daily, Nanjing’s Xianlin Subdistrict set up a special WeChat group for foreign nationals and their families returning to the city after the Spring Festival holiday, which coincided with the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

In special WeChat groups, subdistrict officers, doctors, translators, and property managers provide assistance and daily services to these China-based foreigners. Examples of such “daily services” include delivering fresh bread or contacting pet boarding facilities.

“One young man loved online shopping on Taobao, and once we delivered twenty packages for him within one day,” one member of the service group told Nanjing Daily.

Although foreign residents in China and foreigners with previously issued visas are currently no longer allowed to enter China, they needed to undergo a two-week quarantine period upon entry until the travel ban of a few days ago.

Jiangsu Province, of which Nanjing is the capital, tightened quarantine rules on March 23, making every traveler from abroad subject to a centralized quarantine (e.g. in a hotel) for fourteen days.

The special services for returning foreigners reported by Nanjing Daily triggered controversy on Chinese social media this week. Many netizens criticized it as a “supra-nationals treatment” (超国民待遇).

Under one Weibo post by media outlet The Cover (@封面新闻), which received over one million views, many people are criticizing local officers’ favorable treatment of foreigners. One commenter writes: “Will they provide the same comprehensive services to their compatriots?”

Another person writes: “Why don’t they also adhere to the slogan of ‘Serve the People’ (..) when dealing with Chinese citizens?”

In discussing the supposed inequality between the treatment of foreigners and Chinese nationals in quarantine, many netizens raise a recent example of a quarantined Chinese student who asked the civil police staff for mineral water. In a video that circulated online in mid-March, the girl quarrels with the police for not being offered mineral water. The student, demanding mineral water over the available boiled tap water, was ridiculed for suggesting that having mineral spring water is a “human right.”

Ironically, the Nanjing Daily article explicitly mentions how the Xianlin Subdistrict deals with foreigners drinking purified water: “[This] Laowai [foreigner] wants to drink bottled purified water, [so] we bought four barrels for him (..) and carried them from the community gate to his apartment.”

The contrast in treatment of quarantined foreigners versus Chinese nationals prompted some Weibo users to reflect on their previous remarks on the female student: “I apologize for previously mocking the Chinese student at the quarantine center in Pudong, Shanghai, for demanding to drink mineral water,” one commenter writes.

In response to the online controversy, the office of the Xianlin Subdistrict clarified that Chinese nationals would receive “corresponding services” during their quarantine period. Some netizens question what these alleged “corresponding services” exactly entail.

In another media report, the official reply was that “the Subdistrict treats Chinese and foreign citizens the same.”

Over recent years, there have been many online controversies on the issue of privilege in China. Earlier this year, there was public outrage over two women driving a Benz SUV into the Palace Museum, where cars are usually not allowed.

The issue of the perceived privileges of foreigners in China has particularly triggered anger among netizens. The “preferential treatment” of overseas students and the “dorm disparities” between Chinese and foreign students in China, for example, previously became major topics of online discussion.

A popular WeChat article that comments on the Nanjing controversy of this week also lists examples of special treatment for foreigners, including cases where foreigners were not fined when breaking rules in China or being “treated better” in other ways. By now, the article has received over 100,000 views.

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

By Bobby Fung (@bobbyfungmr)

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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