Several thousand Wenzhou locals and Zhejiang residents from the surrounding environs gathered in Wenzhou’s Century Square at 8pm last night, singing songs, engaging in mass poetry readings, and generally wishing encouragement to assorted strangers. Several kids formed a heart made of glowsticks on the pavement. And admonishments for Wenzhou to GAS UP (温州, 加油!) were shouted all throughout the evening.
The youth in the above video lift candles in paper cups, a staple of Chinese mourning ceremonies that was used for the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, and for Tiananmen Square Massacre anniversaries every year in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. They begin to chant Long Live Wenzhou (温州万岁!) at 0:15, with everyone recording everyone else with their smartphones, before switching to Gas Up! at the 0:33 mark.
Then the proceedings kick it up a notch in emotional gravity, when the crowd finds their connective common ground by singing patriotic anthems, rather than funereal dirges. Everyone had to learn the lyrics to Our Beloved Motherland (我们亲爱的祖国) and the March of the Volunteers (义勇军进行曲) in kindergarten, so the words ring crisp and audible, despite being gloriously out of tune.