No matter how much we would like to forget 2020, it will be a year that everyone remembers. The pandemic has dramatically changed lives and the course of history, and its ripple effects – still being felt globally – will continue for many years to come. But amid the sorrow, distress and challenges, there have also been stories that have warmed the heart and made us laugh. As the year draws to a close, here are five from China. Pet rescuers in Wuhan After the Chinese government locked down Wuhan in late January, pet owners who couldn’t return to their homes begged for help to make sure their furry friends didn’t die . Volunteers from a range of animal groups in Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, raced to save starving and neglected pets. Many of the dogs and cats had been left alone in homes with little food and water because their owners did not expect to be away for so long. Animal-rights volunteers came to the rescue, leaving water and pet food to last more than a month. In some cases, volunteers took pets to homes of their owner’s friends, or to veterinary clinics. The lockdown took place during the Chinese New Year holiday when many people left the city but thought they would be back in a week. The Wuhan lockdown prevented travellers from going in and out of the city and lasted for 76 days . The city reopened on April 8. Fei Yu-ching Taiwanese singer Fei Yu-ching rose to the top of the music charts across Europe in June, thanks to the power of the internet and widespread stay-at-home measures. Fei, who was popular during the 1980s, brought comfort to many in lockdown. One of his songs, Yi Jian Mei (one plum blossom) – originally released in 1983 –, topped the Spotify charts in Norway, Sweden, Finland and New Zealand during the pandemic. Although many English-speaking listeners may not have understood the Chinese lyrics, they found the song’s operatic tone soothing and funny. One of the songs with lyrics translating to “the snow is fluttering and the cold wind is blowing” became popular background music for millions of videos posted on TikTok . A homesick camel After being sold in July, a homesick camel in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region decided to take it upon herself to trek 100km (62 miles) in search of its original owner, a herdsman named Temur. For seven days, the camel trekked determinedly through the Gobi Desert. By the time she was reunited with her beloved owner, her body was covered in scratches and blood caused by contact with sharp wire fences. “I will never sell her again,” said Temur, who was deeply touched by the camel’s spirit. “I will not chain her up, ride her or allow anyone to hurt her ever again.” Fu Bao the panda In November, the popular K-pop band Blackpink angered many Chinese internet users by violating the proper protocols for interacting with pandas, a native animal that is highly treasured in China. In a video shown on a South Korean reality TV show, members of the band were seen holding a baby panda named Fu Bao and touching an adult panda with their bare hands while wearing make-up. The footage drew intense criticism as people feared Blackpink had put the pandas at risk of disease. In China, panda keepers and feeders are prohibited from wearing jewellery and make-up when touching the animals. They are also required to wear gloves and protective suits when interacting with the endangered species. Fu Bao, which translates as “the baby that brings fortune”, was the first baby panda born in South Korea and is the offspring of two Chinese giant pandas given to South Korea. Zhaxi Dingzhen In the county of Litang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, a 20-year-old Tibetan herdsman named Zhaxi Dingzhen became a symbol for China’s war on extreme poverty. Zhaxi became famous in China – by accident. In November, a video of his life went viral on the internet. Millions of people were captivated by his smile amid such hardship . He was catapulted to stardom and the local tourism department hired Zhaxi to promote the region. The year 2020 was the self-imposed deadline for the Chinese government to eliminate “extreme poverty”, which China defines as living on less than 2,300 yuan a year (US$350). For more great stories on Korean entertainment, artist profiles and the latest news, visit K-post, SCMP's K-pop hub .