Recently some visitors to Shenzhen Lianhua Mountain Plaza have noticed that a sunshade umbrella was erected over the tree planted in 2010 by retiring Chinese president Hu Jintao.
The huge umbrella is apparently custom made with eight iron bars lifting it to several meters high.
The tree is called Jingui 金桂 in Chinese, literally meaning as precious as gold.
The tree and the surrounding turf is located in the center of a plaza paved with concrete bricks, which is dedicated to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in Lianhua Mountain Park, Shenzhen, southern China's Guangdong province.
A stone carved with “Tree planted by Hu Jintao” and a board notifying visitors the reason to set up the umbrella are erected on the surrounding turf.
Besides the umbrella, the Shenzhen Chengguan bureau regularly applies nutrition drop to the tree to help it thrive, reads the notifying board.
Surveillance camera installed to supervise situation around the Hu Jintao planted tree
Careful observers have noticed that some surveillance equipment has been installed on the plaza near the tree. The purpose is to track down any bad guys that will cause damage to the gold-precious tree?
While the tree has become a tourist spot for many visitors to the Lianhua Mountain Park, many visitors frown at the privileges the tree enjoys just because it was planted by state leader.
Official Weibo from Shenzhen Chengguan Bureau (or urban management bureau) responded on March 13 that the umbrella was to help the tree flourish.
“The tree was planted in hot summer in 2010 by state leader himself. After planted the tree has not grown well. The sunshade measure we are adopting will help it grow better”, said the Weibo tweet.
Chengguan 城管 or Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau are responsible for cracking down on unlicensed street vendors and other low-level crime. The agency is widely disliked by the Chinese due to their alleged abuses of power.
Shenzhen Chengguan mocked by Chinese netizens as nauseatingly flattering superiors
When the news gets circulated on Chinese internet, a majority Chinese netizens have mocked and expressed their disgust at the practice of the Shenzhen officials with some calling it a form of personality cult and a nauseating flattery to top Chinese leaders.
Following are some comments from popular Chinese news portal 163.com:
特殊网友管理局局长: They must do so! The tree planted by leaders is the impetus for us go forward, is a symbol of the future of our motherland and signifies the glorious rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation!
emik31: Will anybody hold an umbrella for a migrant worker working in the sun? Will you not drive the street vendors away? Oh, what a happy tree just because you are planted by a leader!
A netizen from Fuzhou city, Fujian province: Chengguan officials, this is none of your business! Actually it is your regular duty to drive away street vendors. Look, there is a vendor carrying a baby.
因谷歌习字被抓: Hu Jintao is the great rescuer of the Chinese nation and the greatest leader in human history!
杨梅树上的蓝天: This measure will backfire since photosynthesis is inhibited when the sun is shaded from the tree. The Chengguan officials should be punished!
Update: Tree umbrella demolished on the day when Hu Jintao completely retired
Shortly after the special care for the tree planted by Hu Jintao was exposed by media, Shenzhen Chengguan demolished the sunshade umbrella over the tree on March 14.
Just on the same day, Xi Jinping was elected by China's national people's congress as Chinese president and chairman of Central Military Committee of China, which means Hu Jintao completely retired and his time has completely gone.
Is it an coincidence or Shenzhen government was pressured by media exposure to cancel the extraordinary privilege the tree planted by Hu Jintao?