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China: Around The Nation

Elderly Chinese man had forgotten where he lived and even his name... but still he carried the memory of his late wife

Widower was found lost and confused, carrying nothing but a 40-year-old love letter and a memento of his love’s death

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 September, 2017, 3:56pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 September, 2017, 3:56pm

Chinese social media users were driven to tears after a 40-year-old love letter carried by an old man who had lost his way went viral on Weibo.

The pensioner was found wandering around the northeastern city of Dalian in Liaoning province by police on Sunday, carrying nothing but his letter and the 17-year-old cremation certificate of his beloved, according to the Peninsula Morning Post.

He could not remember the location of his home or even his own name, only that he had studied at Dalian University of Technology.

Photos showing police accompanying the old man, and the two-page handwritten letter, quickly went viral after being posted by a popular local blogger with over 230,000 followers.

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Two hours after the photos were published, the old man was identified by a user named “Lao Ma” as Zhang Liansheng, a 90-year-old retired government cadre from Dalian University of Technology.

The man added that he and Zhang had been part of the same team in Changling commune, in the city of Zhuanghe.

In the letter to his sweetheart whom he addressed as “Xin”, Zhang tells her “not to worry” and that he has bought her some medicine to relieve period pain. He signs himself simply as “Sheng”.

The letter’s sender address is marked as the State-owned Changling Agricultural Equipment Factory in Zhuanghe county, Liaoning province, dated April 30 1977.

Later on in the letter, Sheng, who is working at a factory away from home, writes: “The sewing machine has been bought, and its parts are ready to be delivered to the village by bus, where you can receive it ... I may only be able to return around May 10, don’t worry.”

According to the report, sewing machines were just coming into fashion among Chinese households at the time.

The letter also reveals something about life in Dalian in the 70s, when the city was undergoing huge industrial development. “The situation in Dalian is very good, the city council plans to extend their meeting,” the man writes.

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Weibo users quickly responded to the heart-warming story with dozens of crying emojis.

“I’ve forgotten who I am, but I still haven’t forgotten that I love you,” said one top-rated comment.

Zhang has since been reunited with his family, according to the report.