PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 11:56am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 4:46pm

Shenzhen builds canopy to protect tree planted by ex-president Hu Jintao

Angry reaction online to shelter in the city’s Lianhuashan Park


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for Amy can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

Backpackers and homeless people in Shenzhen might now consider sleeping under a laurel tree in the city’s Lianhuashan Park.

After all, it’s sheltered, has a great view and is free.

Bit it’s no ordinary tree. It was planted by China’s former president Hu Jintao in 2010, said media reports.

Because it was planted by Hu it has been a source of pride for many people. But it has also meant extra work for city cadres to look after it.

To start with, officials had to built a huge canopy above the tree to protect it from excessive sunshine,

“Summer heat and long-time exposure to sunshine will not help the tree to grow,” reads an information board next to the tree. “We will remove the canopy when the weather has cooled down.”

It explained that the first two years after a tree is transplanted is crucial for its ''recovery'' and requires special care.

However, the laurel seems to be the only tree in the park enjoying special treatment - judging by photos published in the Chinese media.

Netizens posted angry and sarcastic comments on Sina Weibo,China’s twitter-like service.

“Will President Xi Jinping shake my hand and touch my head please,” wrote one blogger, “Then, maybe local officials will build me a canopy.”

“Fortunately they are only trying to preserve a tree,” wrote another, “Imagine how hard their work would be if the leader had urinated on that spot.”

Despite all the criticism, some netizens defended Shenzhen's officials.

"You always do this to young trees transplanted to the south [of China]," wrote a blogger, "Otherwise they will die from the strong sunshine."


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