The year 2017, on the whole, has been sort of crummy. But even so, displays of kindness and generosity have not been hard to find.
The year is ending, so let’s momentarily stow away our cynicism. Here are 13 photos that went viral this past year in China — straightforward, low-res photos that simply show ordinary people being compassionate and human.
It’s a reminder that the best mercies are the small, everyday type.
In October, 46-year-old Liu Ni 刘妮, a single mother in Anhui Province, was seen kneeling for five hours outside a hospital. She was praying for her 16-year-old daughter, Xiao Meng 小梦, who was undergoing surgery to treat polio.
“My daughter is in surgery and I am very afraid,” Liu said. “I don’t have any education and am not able to help her. This is the only way. I pray for the success of the surgery.”
Luckily, Xiao Meng’s surgery was successful.
On June 14 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, a young father pulled his shirt over his young son to shield him from the rain. This lovely moment was captured by a passerby and posted online, eliciting comments from online users on a father’s love.
After a one-week vacation in October, Xiao Cheng 小成 was ready to leave his parents’ house in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, to return to his workplace in Hangzhou. But when he opened his car trunk, he was stunned by what he saw: vegetables, eggs, handmade noodles, oil — all from his parents. A reminder that while goods are perishable, love doesn’t need to be.
A 68-year-old father named Pan Puquan 潘普全 missed his sons so much that he took the train by himself from Chongqing to Beijing to see them. Alas, this old man suffers from intermittent senile dementia, so his search went on for 12 days. This is the moment he found his sons, Pan Zhaohu 潘照虎 and Pan Zhaoxiang 潘照祥. (The picture in the link above is pretty heartwarming as well, as one of the sons wipes away tears.)
5. A filial son
On a Shanghai subway train, a father sleeps in the arms of his son after a long day. Many online users seeing this said they felt a “pang of emotion.”
In October, 54-year-old Wang Kewu 汪克武 was seen carrying his sick mother to see a doctor in Yunnan Province. He said he has been doing this for seven years, and felt it was his responsibility to take good care of her.
Li Ya 李雅 and her husband, Kuang Yongbo 况永波, have been married for 10 years. In August, they celebrated their wedding anniversary in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan Province. It was what happened next that proved their love!
On August 8, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the area. As a wall was about to collapse, Kuang threw his body around Li to protect her. Li was okay, but her husband suffered a three-inch gash on his head.
Here’s a short story posted by Weibo user @永远的瘦砸. “I wanted to take a picture of my grandpa, but he said, ‘Wait.’ He took his cane and walked over to his room and pulled out a picture of his deceased wife, and said, ‘Take a photo of me with your grandmother.'”
9. Real love, part 1
An elderly couple sits by the side of the road, the woman appearing to do the nails of her companion. Not much is known about this picture, but then again, maybe it speaks for itself.
10. Real love, part 2
In Changsha, Hunan Province, an elderly man presents a birthday cake for his wife, who holds it a long time near her chest. (Next to them is a collection box and a bowl, as these two are street beggars.)
11. Temporary shelter
A sanitation worker couldn’t find a place to take shelter from the rain. A driver drove by and saw him in the open, so he stopped his car and invited the sanitation worker to take shelter.
On December 20, a police officer in Guizhou Province found an abandoned baby, only 20 days old, in a park. The temperature was 2 degrees Celsius below freezing. The officer took off his clothing to warm the infant.
On July 4, a female sanitation worker was seen offering her food, a boiled egg, to a blind beggar in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. She even helped remove the eggshell and put the egg in his mouth. The beggar kneeled to express his gratitude.