The light guardians on Chang'an Avenue

Running through the heart of Beijing, Chang'an Boulevard is an arterial road connecting the Chinese capital's Dongcheng and Xicheng districts. Because of its long history and important geographical position, Chang'an Boulevard is considered the most important street in China where the annual National Day parade is held. Along the boulevard and around Tian'anmen Square are 253 ornamental lights. These lights were built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of New China and were erected before the National Day in 1959. Sixty years later, they still stand intact and proud. Three generations in Song's family have participated in the cleaning and overhaul of the lights. Song's grandpa is Song Zhiling. In the past, due to the economic and technological underdevelopment, the maintenance of the lights was done manually. Song Zhiling used to go to work very early by bike and come home at midnight. "For other people, the lights in Changan Boulevard are a sacred badge. But for our family, it is more like an old friend," says Song. Together with the ornamental lights, Song's family has witnessed the huge development of Beijing. For decades, they have been the committed light guardians on Chang'an Boulevard.