‘Wuhan Girl A Nian Diary’ - young Chinese woman’s touching experience during COVID-19 lockdown moves readers

By Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/6 2:41:06


‘Wuhan Girl A Nian Diary’Photo: Sina Weibo

"Is this another ‘Wuhan Diary’ like Fang Fang’s?” This is the question some Chinese netizens posed after young woman Wu Shangzhe, also known as A Nian, published her personal story about what her family experienced in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province, during the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdown. 

However, compared to the controversy stirred by Wuhan Diary, which took a critical stance toward the lockdown, the book Wuhan Girl A Nian Diary projects warmth, empathy and optimism, giving hope to many Chinese readers wrestling with the bitterness of life.

"I just wanted to record the story, it was somehow my fate to do it,” A Nian, a 26-year-old Wuhan woman currently working in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

A Nian got a fever after she returned home to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year and was taken to Wuhan’s Fangcang Hospital, a kind of makeshift hospital, for quarantine treatment in February. 

Her 89-year-old grandmother also became sick and was transferred to Huoshenshan Hospital, an emergency specialty field hospital, because of the severity of her condition. In order not to be a burden for her family, A Nian’s grandmother refused treatment and gave up her desire to survive. 

When A Nian heard about this, she asked to be transferred to Huoshenshan Hospital in order to take care of her grandmother. After talking with doctors, her request was finally approved and she successfully transferred to Huoshenshan Hospital to accompany her grandmother.

" 'A Nian, you must survive and you can do it! Grandma, I’ll take you home.’ That was the faith I held during that dark time,” said A Nian.

During the entire experience, the young woman kept a diary of her daily life on social media and tried to cheer up her grandma. “Grandma finally ate a piece of orange, albeit a little reluctantly… Grandma’s condition is improving day by day…” wrote the hopeful author.

However, A Nian was unable to fulfill her task as her grandmother’s condition gradually worsened in just a few days. Eventually, her grandma was sent to the ICU and on March 5, passed away. 

"Does humanity really have a soul? Grandma, are you still there? Do you want to go home?” A Nian cried and woke up from a dream in which her grandma appeared.  

Filled with a painful sadness, A Nian gradually recovered from her own illness and in late March went home after a health exam and a 14-day long quarantine.

Later, someone contacted A Nian saying they wanted to write a book about her, but she felt that instead of letting others tell her story, she would do it herself. 

"I think all the things I have experienced are impossible for others to write better than I can myself. Even if his writing would have been better than mine, he couldn’t know how many emotions I had experienced.”

"How I wish it had been just a nightmare,” A Nian told the Global Times as she choked back sobs. 

During China’s National Day holiday in October, A Nian went back home to Wuhan.
"It felt good to see Wuhan has recovered its vitality. Everything seems like it has returned to normal.”

Currently, the second wave of the coronavirus is spreading all over the world. A Nian thought that there might be someone in another country that may be experiencing a similar fate as hers, and she wants to tell them to hold onto their faith and “survive.”

"'You must survive and you can do it!’ Keep the faith, and I believe we human beings can get through  disaster together,” A Nian told the Global Times.

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