Last week, the trees lining Nanchang Road in Shanghai were bundled up in adorable sweaters and scarves by a group of “yarn bombers.” But no more! On Wednesday, city officials ordered the trees stripped bare once again, causing an annoyed outcry among disappointed residents.
“Yarn bombing” seems to be the least threatening form of bombing. It involves groups of knitting enthusiasts dressing downtown trees, poles and lights in colorful winter wear. It started in the United States, but has since spread worldwide and finally to the French Concession in Shanghai where it was well-received, at least initially.
The “yarn bombers” responsible were a team of 14 knitters, 12 expats and two Chinese, according to Shanghai Daily. Two foreign teachers at an international kindergarten, Natalie Cradick, from the UK, and Mae Rudillas, from the Philippines, organized the project of first-timers.
“We crocheted for the project for a month and a half,” Cradick told Shanghai Daily. “We wanted to do this because it’s simple and it makes people smile.”
However, she did admit to having her concerns. “Our worst expectation was it would be taken down straight away,” she added.
Initially, reviews were overwhelmingly favorable with a video going viral showing curious locals inspecting the fuzzy trees and laughing.
“I think it’s adorable as they light up the street in winter,” one local resident Yao Lei told Shanghai Daily.
The city’s greenery authority even said that it welcomed the project as long as there was no damage to the trees.
However, they soon changed their tune and on Wednesday, one week after the sweaters were put up, city authorities ordered the trees disrobed, citing concerns that all the restrictive clothing was affecting the normal growth of the trees, according to Xinmen News.
Residents admit to being a bit broken up by the government’s decision to make their neighborhood less cute and fuzzy. Meanwhile, netizens have taken to online forums to stand with the “yarn bombers.”
“Seriously, what’s the harm in keeping them up for another week or two, the government has gone too far,” commented one netizen from Nanjing.
“Officials have no clue how to make a city more beautiful,” wrote in another netizen from Jiangsu province.
Just try and remember the good old days:
[Images via CCTV // Xinmen]