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A wall of mementos

By Eric Jou (China Daily)

08:55, May 10, 2012

Visitors view old photos displayed at the Lion City Museum in Jiangjiazhen, Zhejiang province.

A mural of photos of former residents of the submerged Lion City at the Lion City Museum in Jiangjiazhen, Zhejiang province, is the work of one man and the Lion City residents association.

Professor Jin Jianren, 61, a PhD advisor at Zhejiang University, is one of the youngest members of the association. The mural was his idea.

"I helped plan Lion City Museum, and when you walk in, you can see a poem I wrote expressing my feelings toward my home," Jin says.

Jin was 8 years old when he left Lion City with his mother, but he says it made a strong impression on him. "People have a natural affiliation with things they've lost," he says.

Invited by Zhejiang Satellite TV, Jin traveled from Zhejiang University to his old hometown and an inn at Jiangjiazhen to converse with four elderly men about their past.

He recalls his childhood friends and the wooden gun he took with him when he was relocated.

Jin says it wasn't difficult to collect photos of his fellow Lion City residents, many of whom say they have fond memories of him as a child.

Tian Dongmen was a student of Jin's teacher father. Tian says Jin's father inspired a love of poetry that continues to this day.

Jin ended up collecting more than 1,000 photos from former residents of the city and their offspring. "Some former residents didn't know how to send e-mails, so I told them to get help from their kids or take the photos to a print shop and copy them."

Jin says that after the mural was displayed, other residents sent him photos. He has more than he knows what to do with.

He is now considering a digital mural, so more pictures can be shown.

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