Shanghai post box pilgrimage for pop star's fans

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightLu Han/Weibo
image captionThe most famous post box in Shanghai? More than 150,000 Weibo users shared Lu Han's photo

A post box has become an unlikely object of adoration in Shanghai, after a former boy band star posed alongside it and shared the photo online.

Pop singer Lu Han, once a member of million-selling Chinese-Korean group EXO, posted a snap of himself leaning on the post box on Friday night. It received more than 800,000 likes on his Weibo account, but the fervour wasn't just online. Hundreds of fans keen to follow in their idol's footsteps tracked down the box in question - on one of Shanghai's busiest roads - and began queuing to have their photos taken with it, popular news website The Paper reports.

The line stretched up to 300m (1,000ft) along the pavement and some fans queued into the small hours, determined to give the post box a hug or a kiss. "He walked on this road, he saw this landscape, I feel a little closer to him," one woman tells The Paper. Another says she felt "very, very excited" when she finally got to touch the box.

Most of the site's readers are a bit baffled by the scene. "A mailbox influenced this much worship, are these people spiritually empty? *sigh*" writes one person. Another simply describes them as "crazies", a view echoed in thousands of comments on Weibo. But a few users are more charitable, pointing out that as crowds go, they were rather civilised. "They are politely and orderly queuing," one person notes, adding that the women weren't affecting public order or making a mess.

While it might be the Shanghai post box's first brush with fame, it's not the first to become an internet hit. In 2015, two lop-sided post boxes - damaged by Typhoon Soudelor - had people queuing round the block for photos in Taiwan, images that went viral in China.

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