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Hundreds of Shenzhen Couples Marry on “I Love You” Day, 5/20

Posted: 05/21/2014 1:01 pm

i love you day marriageYesterday was a terrible day in Shenzhen: there was heavy rain, lightning, and flooding as the city issued a red alert weather warning to make the crappiness of yesterday bureaucratically-approved. And yet, yesterday saw hundreds of Shenzhen couples throw caution to the wind and take the plunge into marriage as May 20 is now regarded as one of the most romantic days of the year in China.

If you missed it, yesterday was “I Love You” Day, so-called because the Chinese pronunciation of the date 5/20 (wú èr líng) can be loosely re-interpreted as the phase “I love you” (我爱你, wǒ ài nǐ).

The populist trend of this fad stems from online communities, as have other random dates that sound similar to romantic phrases. They include: 2013/1/4 (“Love you for the rest of my life, now and forever”), 1/3/14 (“For now and for always”), and 11/11 (Singles’ Day). These dates have seen hordes of lovebirds flocking to marriage licensing centers to get hitched at the right place and at the right timedate.

493 couples tied the knot yesterday in Nanshan District, while the number of married couples in Futian District was reported at a prophetic 520, reports NewsGD.

i love you day marriage

The number of marriage license applicants numbered eight times more than those on average non-”I Love You” days at the Nanshan marriage licensing center. Extra security guards were called in to help keep order from rambunctious lovers who presumably didn’t want to wait until the non-symbolic day of May 21, otherwise known as the summer solstice.

However, that wasn’t the biggest public display of love in Shenzhen on “I Love You” Day. The message “Jia loves Qiong; our love is ordained by heaven” was written in lights yesterday on Shenzhen’s tallest building, the KK100, a lost sentiment upon every other Shenzhen resident who had to settle for rain and lightning to pour down from the sky above.

“I Love You” Day now joins the ranks of China’s other recognized days of romance: Valentines’ Day, White Day (March 14, when girls give gifts to their boyfriends in return), Qixi Festival on 7/7 of the Lunar Calendar, and Singles’ Day on November 11 (Lantern Festival can be seen as China’s “traditional Valentine’s Day”).

We’ll try to keep you apprised of any new developments should they arise.

Photos: NewsGD, Shenzhen Evening Report via Weibo


Large fire in Shenzhen caused by Spring Festival fireworks

Posted: 01/29/2014 11:10 am

A kid playing with a firecracker caused a large fire in Meilin urban village in Shenzhen’s Futian District on Sunday (Jan. 26). Fortunately there were no casualties, Shenzhen Evening News reports. Two people have been arrested on suspicion of illegally selling the fireworks.

Meilin Police Station was called at 4:30 p.m. and told there was a fire in Meilin. When the police got there, they saw that a fire that had started on a first-floor shop had spread and caused a nearby canopy to burn down. It was swiftly brought under control and an investigation showed that the cause was a little boy playing with fireworks.

When they were searching local properties to find the cause, police found that a toy shop and a candy shop were selling fireworks that they kept hidden out back. Eleven boxes of fireworks were confiscated and two people were arrested.

Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau warned just last week that lighting fireworks, firecrackers or fire lanterns is banned in the city during the upcoming Spring Festival and people who buy pyrotechnics online will be held legally liable.

You can watch Spring Festival fireworks displays during the holiday at Window of the World, Splendid China Folk Culture Village, Happy Valley and OCT Bay. But if you’re in Shenzhen, don’t try this at home.


Expats get into the volunteering spirit in Shenzhen’s Futian District

Posted: 10/19/2013 11:00 am

“Futian Friends,” a program aimed at getting foreigners to do voluntary work in Futian District, has proved to be a success, The Daily Sunshine reported yesterday.

The Foreign Affairs Office launched the program in March this year, and the number of volunteers has almost reached 100. They range in age from 14 to over 60.

Anthony from Ghana helps host birthday celebrations at an old folks’ home in Futian

Their activities have included an English Corner held every Sunday at Bijia Shan Park, activities at orphanages, old folks’ homes, and celebrations of festivals such as Children’s Day and National Disabled People’s Day.

One volunteer, Anthony from Ghana, even adopted the Chinese name Lei Feng for himself, claiming to be inspired by the late altruist.

They also hold cultural activities such as writing projects to celebrate local culture and the uniqueness of Futian.

Li Zhicheng, a professor at the Shenzhen research centre of Central South University said: “Although Lei Feng is the pride of our country, his influence can cross national and cultural barriers.”

If you’re based in Shenzhen, what are you waiting for? You can enrol here.


Shenzhen’s Futian District to get an RMB20 billion makeover

Posted: 08/20/2013 5:42 pm

Shenzhen’s Futian District is set to have a new 20 billion yuan (US$3.27 billion) development that will include high-end apartments, a shopping centre, a research and development centre, and a new Mandarin Oriental hotel.

The new plan put forward by Shum Yip Land, a commercial property subsidiary of Shenzhen Investment (a part-government owned group), will be due for completion in 2017, and represents a substantial new addition to Futian’s rapidly developing district — a popular expat area in the city.

The new residential project covering nearly 800,000 square meters of floor area will be called UpperHills. The development is expected to bolster growth in the entire area, with other commercial properties and projects set to benefit from the huge investment plans.

“This development will comprise office towers, a residential complex, significant retail and extensive outdoor space and parkland, and will become the premier lifestyle destination for the local community and the Southern China district. Shum Yip’s UpperHills is located minutes away from Futian Central Business District, the financial centre of the city, and is close to the main custom and immigration checkpoint to Hong Kong,” according to a breaking press release from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group today.

The news will certainly be welcomed by Futian’s current residents, of which there were an estimated 885,000 in the 2002 census. That number is no doubt significantly larger today. Futian is sometimes known among locals as “the living hub of Shenzhen,” a name it earned due to its heavy emphasis on residential areas.

Peter Kok Kai-lam, deputy general manager of Shum Yip, shared more details of the development plans in an interview with the South China Morning Post today.

Kok said the final project will have a gross floor area of 1.12 million square meters. Meanwhile, sales will begin on the 650 residential apartments within two months, each of which is sized between 106-450 square meters. Clearly there will also be a range of prices to suit different buyers.

The shopping centre, which Kok has said will target “young people, in the 25-35 age group, along with high-end buyers,” will cover 167,000 square meters. A cinema and food court are also planned.

Kok said that one of the towers will be used as “A grade office space” due to high demand, and expected that technology companies and multinational firms would show strong interest.

For more details on what to expect from the new Mandarin Oriental, check out its official press release. Already known is that it will offer 173 deluxe rooms and 17 suites, including one presidential suite, covering a total floor area of 45,000 square meters.

Photo credit: dcmaster, Flickr


Another large sinkhole opens up in Shenzhen

Posted: 08/5/2013 4:20 pm

Four people fell in and three were injured when yet another massive sinkhole opened in Shenzhen on Sunday (Aug. 4), this one was over 30 sq metres in size and 1-2 metres deep, Nandu Daily reports. Although fortunately there were no fatalities, there is something extra shocking about this particular sinkhole – locals saw it coming and police ignored their warnings.

The aftermath, image courtesy of Southern Metropolis Daily

It follows the two sinkholes in Shenzhen that made headlines around the world this year: the one in Futian District in March in which the ground disappeared beneath a security guard’s feet and the one in Longgang District in May in which five people were buried alive.

There have also been a number of smaller ones which led to no fatalities, such as the one in June which occurred in a greenbelt in Luohu District.

Sunday’s sinkhole, which opened in Longhua New Zone, saw one of the injured require 9 stitches in his arm.

Due to heavy rain in the previous days, locals sensed there was a chance the road would collapse, so told the police. However, the police dismissed their claims and, lo-and-behold, on Sunday morning the sinkhole opened up just outside 32 Longfa Road.

Two of the injured were staff from the nearby Meijia Suermarket and one of those to fall in was a 12 year-old boy, but he sustained no injuries.

Local officials, such as Longhua Party Secretary Jiang Jianjun, demanded an investigation. However, nobody suggested this would not happen again.


Another sinkhole opens in Shenzhen, fortunately this time it was in a green belt

Posted: 06/25/2013 7:00 am

Living in Shenzhen, we are often reminded how fleeting life is.

In March, a man in Futian District was killed when the ground collapsed underneath him. Then in May, a massive sinkhole killed five in Longgang District.

This could easily have killed somebody, courtesy of Sina Weibo

Yesterday another sinkhole opened in Luohu District, but thankfully this time it took place in a greenbelt and there were no casualties, The Daily Sunshine reported in its microblog.

The incident took place around 1 p.m. at the intersection between Huali Road and Fenghuang Road. Repair work started immediately.

The Guardian gives an introduction on the causes of sinkholes:

In the language of geologists, the process that causes sinkholes is “the creation of a void which migrates towards the surface”. In the language of the layman, when there’s not enough solid stuff left underneath to support what is left of the loose stuff above, the whole lot collapses. The resulting depressions characterise what is known as a karst landscape, in which hundreds or even thousands of relatively small sinkholes form across an area that, seen from the air, can appear almost pock-marked.

But it’s not just scientists who have interesting things to say about sinkholes. The philosopher and theologian Jeremy Goad has this to say about the phenomenon:

For a variety of reasons (and, as I discussed in my previous post, for no particular reason), sinkholes made me question God. “Why, God, did you create a world in which the ground gives way underneath people’s feet? Is this really a result of humanity’s sin? Did sinkholes really not occur prior to the fall? Do I really believe in the fall? Do I really believe in Creation? Do I really believe in God? Do I really believe in Christ?” There was no specific logic to my questions. There was no motivating factors for this line of inquiry.

It felt like an avalanche of doubt, stemming from seemingly nothing and and yet in an instant it was gargantuan and oppressive. Like a Top Fuel dragster once completely motionless and in seconds racing at unfathomable speeds, I went from faith to uncertainty directly. I couldn’t control it. I wasn’t particularly happy about it. And I wanted the argument that would win back my faith.


Cab drivers smash up Porsche after driver viciously beats cabbie in Shenzhen

Posted: 05/9/2013 1:45 pm

Around 100 cab drivers smashed up a Porsche in a revenge attack on Shenzhen’s Shennan Boulevard early yesterday morning (May 8), China Daily reports. At around 3 a.m. riot police arrived at the scene at the Hongling junction of Shennan Boulevard where a drunken Porsche Cayenne driver had beaten up a cab driver, inciting further violence.

You can see footage of the attack here.

The incident began when the Porsche collided with a BYD taxi. Police later found that the driver of the Porsche, Mr Chen, had a blood/alcohol level of 137mg per 100ml, which is over the legal limit.

Eyewitnesses say they saw Chen kicking the taxi driver, Mr Li, in the head ferociously; he was later hospitalized. Chen tried to drive off, but his car wouldn’t start, reports say.

A crowd of cab drivers gathered and they smashed the vehicle up and even poured beer into its fuel tank. They even tried to drag Chen, who was by then unconscious, from the back of the police car. It took riot police until 4 a.m. to disperse the crowd.


Shenzhen easier on controversial author during book signing, but scuffles still happen

Posted: 01/17/2013 7:00 am

Li Chengpeng signing copies of his book “The Whole World Already Knows” in Shenzhen on Tuesday

Li Chengpeng, an investigative journalist, writer, and social critic who is nicknamed “Big Eyes”, was punched in the head and threatened with a knife at a book signing in Beijing on Sunday. He was marking the release of his book of essays: “The Whole World Knows”, which covers sensitive topics such as the shoddy quality of school buildings that killed thousands of students during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the alleged cover-up of the causes of the 2011 Wenzhou train crash. Besides the physical altercation in Beijing, Li was also ordered not to give a speech when in Chengdu on the first leg of his book signing tour.

Li first became famous as a football commentator, known for his funny and affable style. At that time, sports was the most envied field of journalism in China because of the lack of political control, according to John Pomfret’s autobiographical “Chinese Lessons.” He has since become famous and controversial for his views on political and social issues.

Shenzhen, where Li has held signings for the past two days, is far away from the political capital and is not known as a hotbed of radical left wing politics. Li is hugely popular here, and as The Daily Sunshine reported yesterday, there was already a long queue by 6:00 on Tuesday when the first signing was scheduled to start. To get a sense of how crowded it was, take a look at this video.

However, translator and author Bruce Humes reported on his blog that there were several minor instances of dissent at the signing. He queued outside for an hour and a half before giving up his place in the queue to see what was going on inside:

I was only inside for 5 minutes, but I did indeed see two fellows suddenly go at it, with a lot of pushing and shoving ending in one of them being whisked away by 3 men who looked very professional. Plainclothes police? Hired bodyguards? Can’t say for sure.
I do regret being unwilling to wait it out to get my own copy. The word spread in the queue that the order has come down from the authorities to “review” the book, i.e., to send it back to the censors for another look. If that happens, you can be pretty sure it won’t be published again in its present form.

In a seperate incident you can see in this video a middle aged man calling Li a “traitor” who aims to undermine China. Somebody behind the camera can then be heard saying “stupid cunt,” before the protestor is taken away.

In its report, The Daily Sunshine also said a man had brought his son who looked four or five years old to protest against Li.

The South China Morning Post reported (via Ethnic China Lit) that there were indeed a number of plain clothed police officers at the event to maintain order.

Meanwhile [while the author signed books inside], dozens of protesters, most in their 40s or 50s and some wearing Mao Zedong badges, gathered outside the building.

One of the protesters said he was outraged by some of Li’s recent comments, such as labelling those who took to the streets in anti-Japanese demonstrations in Shenzhen “brain damaged”.

There were at least three clashes outside the book store between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., leading to some minor injuries, according to the paper.

If Li is fazed by any of the angry people he encounters, he does not show it in his demeanour or on his microblog which has over 6.5 million followers.

The fact that a bunch of men with Mao badges espousing leftist opinions were silenced by the majority is indeed a sign of the times, or maybe just the place.


Attack of the killer dump trucks!

Posted: 10/23/2012 7:00 am

Felix Baumgartner made headlines around the world last week for recording the highest jump in human history and breaking the sound barrier. Perhaps for his next act of derring-do, he can cross a road in Shenzhen when there is a dump truck around.

In Shenzhen there were three major accidents involving dump trucks between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21 according to Shenzhen Daily. Seven people were killed including a five year-old child, devastating several families.

Dump trucks are not popular in the city, despite regulations being introduced during the summer to prevent them from overloading, speeding, ignoring red lights or speeding.

In a survey after Saturday’s accident, 579 of 685 respondents said they feel fear and expect danger when they see dump trucks approaching. Six hundred and seventy-two said they yield to dump trucks and 653 said Shenzhen falls short in its management of dump trucks.

On Saturday, a cyclist was killed by a dump truck at the intersection of Fuhai Boulevard and Yongfu Rong in Bao’an District.

Four days earlier, according to Shenzhen Daily, two women and a five year-old child were run over on a traffic island after going for a walk in Lianhuashan Park. The mother of one of them women is seriously injured in hospital.

A memorial for the victims of the Oct. 17 crash on the traffic island at the intersection of Hongli and Caitian roads in Futian District.

Also Sunday, a woman riding an electric bike broke her left leg when a dump truck overturned and struck her in Bao’an’s Xixiang Subdistrict. Witnesses said the dump truck was speeding when it struck the woman, who was unconscious when emergency responders pulled her from beneath one of the truck’s wheels, according to the paper.

The driver and the owner of the dump truck have been detained after suspected brake failure and residents are calling for an agency to be set up to tackle the issue.

Next time you see a dump truck, give it a wide berth.

Note: This article was updated at 14:58 on Oct. 23 2012 to note that the death toll of the accidents had increased to seven.


Drunken man in Shenzhen attempts to have sex with male friend… it didn’t turn out well

Posted: 09/20/2012 1:00 pm

A man has been arrested after he drunkenly attempted to rape a friend in Shenzhen’s Futian District on April 14, Southern Metropolis Daily found out this week.

The man, Fu was having a meal with friends, one of whom was his friend Yun. After drinking a relatively weak bottle of rice wine, the men felt the need to drink more so went to a pub. Once in the pub on Xinzhou Road, Yun went to the toilet and Fu tried to rape him while he was urinating.

Fu started to beat Yun after he resisted, and then banged Yun’s head against the wall repeatedly. Yun emerged with a broken nose and called the police.

It’s not unusual to see men getting touchy-feely after a few drinks, but wow!

Fu has been arrested and the case is under investigation.

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