Despite the ongoing epidemic, Chinese people still celebrated Valentine's Day with support from foreigners in Shanghai who wrote "love letters" to cheer up Chinese people in their anti-epidemic efforts.
The "Love letter to China" project, initiated by Senait Petros Tekeste, head of a Shanghai-based non-profit organization, calls on foreigners living in the city to write online letters to show support to Chinese people at this unpleasant hour.
After the coronavirus outbreak, Tekeste and her family chose to stay in China. They settled down in Shanghai in 2017. Tekeste said they trust the local government's anti-epidemic prevention and control efforts.
Workers from Tekeste's community office have taken on the responsibility of caring for households amid the epidemic. Bilingual brochures containing information about medical supplies and the virus have been sent to nearly 2,000 foreign families from more than 60 countries and regions.
Tekeste said she missed the bustling streets and the crowded city, though she believes "things will definitely get better."
One day, an idea hit her that she should call upon foreigners in the city to show their support to front-line medical workers and ordinary Chinese people.
The love letter project began with the first one written by Tekeste herself, followed by dozens of foreigners including both employees and students in Shanghai.
"We witnessed how China and her people overcame SARS and we have no doubt it will be just the same with the coronavirus," said Carrie Jones. She and her husband Dewayne Jones came to the city in 2002 after graduation.
Nelda Carpenter, mother of Carrie Jones, who has visited Shanghai before, also wrote a love letter, recalling her wonderful experience in Shanghai.
"The idea of such loving and welcoming Chinese people facing this terrible virus makes me so sad. Know that you are being sent love and well wishes that the virus is soon eradicated," said Nelda Carpenter, Carrie's mother who also wrote a letter.
Yvonne Chen, a high school student at Shanghai Starriver Bilingual School, wrote that "Shanghai to me is not only my hometown but also my everything."
The popularity of the project was beyond Tekeste's expectations. More and more foreigners uploaded their love letters online.
Tekeste expects to continue the project and encourages foreigners across China to write more letters.
"China's efforts to contain the virus have been absolutely outstanding, especially when it started before the travel rush of Spring Festival," said Vladimiro Viola, Tekeste's husband.
"Now our roots are in Shanghai, this is our home away from home," Tekeste added.