nanjing east

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“Dream of the Red Chamber” theme stations open in Nanjing subway

Frescos depicting scenes in “Dream of the Red Chamber,” a masterpiece of Chinese literature, have attracted crowds in a subway line in East China’s Nanjing City, the capital of Jiangsu Province.

Nine stations in the city’s third subway line that opened on Wednesday have become quite eye-catching as the walls are decorated with colorful paintings of famous scenes from the classic novel “Dream of the Red Chamber”, also known as “The Story of the Stone.”

Written by Cao Xueqin, “Dream of the Red Chamber” is given to the world in the 18th century, which is generally acknowledged as the pinnacle of Chinese fiction and has been classified as one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels.

The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters (most of them female), but also for its detailed observation of the typical life and social structure of the 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

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Chinese Valentine’s Day: a disaster for fireflies

While Chinese Valentine’s Day, or Qixi, is an annual celebration for many in China, for fireflies the day seems more like a disaster. 

The number of fireflies has declined by at least a half compared to last year’s number in Zhongshan scenic area, in east China’s Nanjing.

Every year from July to August, fireflies enter their breeding season. Groups of them will flash their light to attract mates, creating a beautiful attraction for many visitors. 

But the noise and lights brought by the crowds appear to have done great damage to the fragile creature.

“In the first day we came, the grassland where fireflies usually gather was destroyed,” Liu from Jiangsu Youth Volunteers Service Center told Yangtse Evening News. Liu came with 25 other volunteers to promote awareness towards protecting the fireflies. 

Although they separated several firefly-gathering spots away from visitors, many were still badly affected by the loud voices and camera flashes.

The fireflies in Nanjing are not the only of its kind to suffer; many more that live in the wild are also in danger. 

This year fireflies become a new favorite Chinese Valentine’s gift. Over 1 million fireflies have been sold in 28 online shops in the past month.

Though most of the shops claimed the fireflies were specially bred, Fu Xinhua, associate professor of the Department of Plant Science in Huazhong Agriculture University, said 99% of them were actually captured in the wild.

Fu said that there was no law to protect fireflies, so the act of selling the creature can only be morally criticized. He called on more protection and for less people to purchase the small insect.