Her job: Light up dark side ofWest Lake

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By CHENMENGWEI in Hangzhou

For eight months, Dong Yan, 49, did not take a sin­gle week­end off. Her goal was sim­ple yet chal­leng­ing: to brighten Hangzhou’s West Lake for the up­com­ing G20 Sum­mit.

Any­one who hap­pened to visit the lake at night last year would def­i­nitely no­tice that the south­ern shore was in vir­tual dark­ness — a fact made even starker by the color glow on the north shore and the city sky­line to the east.

Dong’s mis­sion was to bring light to the dark side.

As head of the con­struc­tion depart­ment at Hua­gang ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice, one of eight ad­min­is­tra­tive di­vi­sions that man­age the West Lake area, Dong­got or­ders about 17 months ago to make the lake shine for the G20 Sum­mit, which falls on Sept 4 and 5.

For some, es­pe­cially those in charge of the north­ern ar­eas, the job might in­volve chang­ing some ex­ist­ing light bulbs or in­stalling some new fancy ef­fects. For Dong and her col­leagues, how­ever, it meant build­ing ev­ery­thing from scratch.

Af­ter public bid­ding, con­struc­tion of­fi­cially be­gan in Novem­ber. Dong and her col­leagues spent count­less days and nights with con­struc­tion work­ers to make sure ev­ery­thing was done right, and on time.

“I think there is no stan­dard for our G20 project,” she said. “Only when the res­i­dents and vis­i­tors all feel sat­is­fied can we say the project is suc­cess­ful. Be­cause of that, I’ve put my­self un­der a lot of pres­sure.”

But don’t let her slight frame fool you: Dongis tough. The chief of the Hua­gang of­fice, Ding Gaofeng, said he had seen many times when Dong vis­ited a hospi­tal in the morn­ing and then rushed back to con­struc­tion sites in the af­ter­noon. He sel­dom saw her take a break.

“There­wastoomuchto do. I can­not af­ford to be sick,” Dong said. “How many big projects like this can I work on in my life­time? This will prob­a­bly be the last mile­stone inmy ca­reer. I must leave no re­grets.”

Dong’s team was the only one that kept work­ing through the Spring Fes­ti­val, China’s lu­nar new year. When last win­ter’s snow blocked mules from car­ry­ing equip­ment to the moun­tains, Dong and her col­leagues loaded gear onto their own shoul­ders and con­tin­ued climb­ing. Their over­time work meant the project would be fin­ished in midMarch, more than a month ahead of sched­ule.

Since then, all the Hua­gang staff has joined a rig­or­ous work ro­ta­tion to fill shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their task is to make sure all glitches are iden­ti­fied and fixed. A daily test run of the lights that lasts from 6 pm to 10:30 pm has been go­ing on for about five months. No ma­jor prob­lem was found.

Be­fore the sum­mit, West Lake kept most its lights turned off from Mon­day to Thurs­day. They only came alive on week­end nights and hol­i­days.

The spe­cific ar­range­ment of the lights af­ter the G20 is still un­der dis­cus­sion, ac­cord­ing to Ding.

So­cial me­dia photo posts de­pict­ing the West Lake lights have been go­ing vi­ral on ma­jor so­cial me­dia plat­forms in China, in­clud­ing Weibo and WeChat. Res­i­dents and tourists are seen wait­ing in long lines af­ter sup­per ev­ery day out­side var­i­ous en­trances to see the newly bright­enedWest Lake.

This will prob­a­bly be the last mile­stone in my ca­reer. I must leave no re­grets.”


West Lake is lit up at night in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province, where the G20 Lead­ers Sum­mit will be held on Sept 4 and 5.

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