Lights out at homes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 November, 2010, 12:00am

Thousands of spotlights along the banks of the Pearl River in central Guangzhou merged with flashing rainbow-coloured lights on skyscrapers to light up the sky last night as the curtain was raised on the Asian Games.

But the lights in residential buildings were no brighter than usual despite a call from the authorities for residents to help light up the city for the opening ceremony.

The 'light-up' campaign met with strong opposition, with more than 2,000 internet users vowing to support another campaign, launched on's microblog service, calling on residents to switch off their lights and burn candles last night.

They said that since Guangzhou had stressed it was holding a 'green' and 'environmentally friendly' Games, it was wrong for officials to waste so much energy lighting up the city.

But the microblogger who launched the 'lights-off' drive, Ray Zhou, admitted he had not turned off his own lights. 'I initially had not planned to make it big; it was just to say 'no' to officials' stupid suggestions,' Zhou, 30, who works in the hotel industry, said.

He said that although his posting was deleted within a few days and no supporters of the campaign had contacted him to discuss further action, he was satisfied with the result because people had at least spoken out and showed they understood the importance of conserving energy.