Do you wanna visit China again? Chinese netizens launch search campaign for a foreigner who lost photos in Beijing Summer Olympic Games visit
Published: Jul 13, 2022 11:51 PM
Photo: courtesy of Luo Xia

Photo: courtesy of Luo Xia

Photo: courtesy of Luo Xia

Photo: courtesy of Luo Xia

Chinese netizens launched a search campaign after the story of a netizen who accidently picked up a SD card left by a foreigner full of photos capturing his great memories while he was attending the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 flooded the Chinese social media on Wednesday. 

July 13 marks the 21st anniversary of Beijing's successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.

"I went to the Beijing Summer Olympics alone in 2008. It was the first time that I took a high-speed train from Tianjin to Beijing and I was so amazed at the 35-minute arrival and charging port under the seat. I went to the Beijing Olympic Park and lived in a hotel in Wudaokou [a commercial center in Beijing's Haidian district where a batch of top universities are located]. When I was uploading photos in an internet cafe, I took away someone else's SD card by mistake. I realized only when I got home that it belonged to a foreigner. I think he probably had lost his memories of Beijing in 2008."

The netizen posted several photos from the memory card and the foreigner, who appears to be an American, has taken a selfie wearing a T-shirt with the Chinese character "dragon" on it, posed with a young lady holding a Chinese national flag outside the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, and attended a track and field event. He also watched a hockey match.

The topic had received 180 million views on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Global Times reached the netizen, who identified himself as Luo Xia, and shared his feelings and expectation to the Global Times reporters. 

"I was intended to share a piece of my memory online, but did not expect that it would cause so much sympathy on the internet. I think we all have the same feeling that the year of 2008 feels like it's still here, but actually it was 14 years ago," Luo said.

"If I had a chance to find the owner of the memory card, I would love to ask him - what do the memories of Beijing 2008 mean to you and would you like to visit China again?" he told the Global Times. 

According to Luo, he was a middle school student back in 2008. During the Beijing Summer Olympic Games, he uploaded his photos about the Games in an internet cafe and took home a memory card on the table as his own. 

"I was so confused at the time that I didn't realize it was the wrong card," he said. After checking the photos for half a month, he realized he had picked up the wrong card when he noticed several photos included an unfamiliar foreigner. "I soon forgot about it, but this foreigner probably had lost his memories of Beijing in 2008," Luo said. 

Luo stumbled across the photos again recently and once again they reminded him of his memories in 2008, but he didn't expect that Chinese netizens would be so passionate in helping him find the foreign owner.

Under Luo's post, many netizens also shared their memories of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. 

"It was also my first time to take a high-speed train. I remembered it took only half an hour from Tianjin to Beijing, but it took an hour and a half from Beijing South Railway Station to the Bird's Nest by bus. You took me back to that summer," one netizen wrote. 

"I hope we could find the foreigner. It's kind of romantic when a box of memories that has been buried for a decade suddenly surfaces," wrote another. 

A netizen who claimed to be the Chinese girl posing with the foreigner outside the Bird's Nest also joined the search party, but said she had only met the foreigner by chance and did not exchange contact information.

"The year 2008 is neither near nor far," Luo told the Global Times. "In 2008, China had its first high-speed railway. Several subway lines had been opened for the convenience of Olympic spectators, although the Line 8 even had only two stops. The iPhone had quietly entered the Chinese market, even though it would be two or three years before most Chinese would have a smartphone."
"I just made a random post and didn't expect it to get so much resonance," Luo said. "I think everyone and I share the feeling that 2008 feels so close, but it's already been 14 years ago. At that time, Beijing property prices were not so high, young people were struggling in the rat race, there were so many people on the streets and in the stadiums, and people didn't have to wear masks."

"People need clues to support their memories. When you see a photo, you can go back in time in a flash, and the photo is gone, and the memory is lost." Luo said he hopes the foreigner does not lose his memory of Beijing and if the owner can be found, it will be another successful campaign in the internet."

He also said, if he had a chance to find the owner, he would like to know what changes have taken place over the years, how did he feel after losing the photos. And what do the memories of Beijing 2008 mean to him, and importantly, whether he wants to visit China again.