By Xinhua writer Liu Lu, Wang Xuetao, Wang Di
TAIYUAN, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- "You promised me years of stable good and I'll return you a life of tenderness. I am waiting for you."
Written by the user "Qingduhuxi" on social networking website Tianya.cn, this post has attracted the attention of more than 2,400 people touched by her poem ahead of Valentine's Day.
It is one of many expressions of love caressing their way across the Internet as China its younger population, turns to websites like Tianya.cn before the big day of romance, which falls on Tuesday.
The web is proving to be the latest popular method of communication for lovers. As telegrams replaced doves, Twitter-like microblogs are seeing telephones phased out. However, the tender emotion deeply rooted in the hearts of Chinese romantics has never changed.
By 7 p.m. Monday, a total of 527,731 short love letters, each within the 140 Chinese characters allowed by the format, had been posted on sina.com, the popular Chinese microblogging site, conveying everything from straightforward affection to misty-eyed reminiscence of days gone by.
"Xiaxiaomi" wrote, "Honey, if I could love you for only three days, that would be yesterday, today and tomorrow; and if only two days, that would be day and night; if only one day, that would be everyday."
A posting written by "2204371701" said that "I saw your name on the website one day and I missed you so much, my first love; I missed the days we had together and wished you happiness forever."
"Xuefeijushi" expressed his regret at not being able to spend Valentine's Day with his girlfriend. "I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you," he wrote.
As those lucky enough to be paired off busily tap away on keyboards to let their sweethearts know of their deep affection, singletons are posting about their wishes to meet their Mr. or Mrs Right.
"Wuyedeai1992" wondered, "Why have I not encountered you yet? Could you show up someday? If you could, I will wait."
Another bachelor named "Wanjupaopao" complained in his post written in the wee hours that "The person I love does not love me. I've written thousands of words but she hasn't even glanced at them."
Wang Cheng, a student at Shanxi University, tells Xinhua that he once wrote paper letters to a girl in his class when he was a high school student. Cellphones and computers were not as popular as today, he recalls.
"Although we broke up at last, I still cherish the memory of that innocent time," Wang says. "Now I am equally excited to express love by phones and the net."
Tan Kejian, a researcher with Shangxi Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, says that the essence of expressing love on the Internet and in conventional letters is the same, both being carriers to deliver emotions.
"The difference is letters are more private but online posts can be shared by the public," Tan says. "As long as the content does not push over the line and expose others' privacy, it is an inevitable but fairly good way."