Neighbors' goodwill shines in Chinese communities amid COVID-19 resurgence

(Xinhua) 09:53, April 22, 2022

TAIYUAN, April 21 (Xinhua) -- While closed-off management did cause some inconvenience to a resident named Si, who does not cook at home, the 24-year-old got the chance to know her neighbors, who amicably shared their food.

On April 3, four nucleic acid-positive cases were found in the Xiaodian District of Taiyuan City, north China's Shanxi Province. To control the spread of the virus as soon as possible, the local government implemented temporary closed-off management and carried out nucleic acid testing for all residents.

In a WeChat group of residents in Si's compound, she asked if someone could give her some advice or extra food to enrich her menu.

"Let's eat steamed stuffed buns tomorrow! I have all the ingredients," was the swift response from her neighbor Chen Junru in the group. Some community residents also volunteered to join Chen, and in just one morning, they made more than 100 steamed stuffed buns and gave them all to residents in need free of charge.

"I feel grateful to my neighbors for serving my first warm meal since the resurgence," said Si.

As a Chinese saying goes, a neighbor nigh is better than a relative afar. For thousands of years, relationships in the neighborhood have been a significant part of Chinese family culture.

"Without you, I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on my job, thank you!" Zhou Miaohong, a community worker in Zhujing Township under the Jinshan District of Shanghai, replied to her neighbor Yao Hongxia in a message.

Zhou and her husband, Lin Yongqiang, have been on the frontline of work since the recent COVID-19 resurgence in the city. The two have been occupied by their work and rarely able to go home. Zhou became even more worried after her child had to attend online classes.

"My child is a second-grader in primary school, and my parents are too old to help. I didn't know what to do at first," Zhou said.

Yao, her neighbor, volunteered to take care of the child. With her own two children, Yao arranged the three's daily study and life properly. She would supervise their online classes and physical exercise in the morning, make lunch at noon, and tutor them with homework at night.

"I'm a 'temporary mom' until they go home," Yao said, hoping her help could ease Zhou and Lin's worries about their child.

Charles Foldesh, a 37-year-old American drummer, has become an online sensation, with videos showing him drumming to melodic rhythms amid cheers.

Foldesh has lived in Shanghai since 2007 and suspended his performance due to the recent COVID-19 resurgence in the city, which is currently under temporary closed-off management to stem the spread of infections.

He transformed his balcony into a stage where his drumming won enthusiastic reactions from his neighbors. "I'm happy to give them some energy. But I guess it also lifts the spirit of people outside Shanghai and the community. So I'm glad people liked it," he said.

Such stories -- from serving meals to the elderly who live alone and giving lectures on how to do physical exercise at home in a WeChat group to delivering medicine to a sick neighbor -- have all gone viral and attracted widespread attention on Chinese social media. "Relationships among neighbors are closer than ever amid the epidemic," read one comment.

Kuang Jing, a positive psychology instructor with Tsinghua University, said that friendship, solidarity, and a sense of fulfillment arise from mutual assistance. "It is the best psychological medicine against the epidemic." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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