How do you say “I love you” in Chinese?

By Assunta Ng

What’s an unforgettable way to propose?

Meet Xin Li, who just surprised his girlfriend. How he asked the question: “Will you marry me?” was quite original in the Chinese community. It was the first time in four decades that someone placed a proposal ad in the Seattle Chinese Post (SCP).

But it’s not that. Li, a swimming coach at Bellevue, wrote a script from start to finish. He wanted the whole world, including his family and friends, to know except for his future wife. The setting was in a Japanese restaurant. A diamond ring was made in China.

Li placed a front-page ad in the January 27 issue of the SCP. His act was not an impulsive impulse as he had contacted our newspaper last October. This isn’t the first time a marriage proposal has made the news, according to It has happened before in the United States and in other countries as well. Usually, it is the future groom who proposes in marriage.

The proposal/announcement

What was unique about Li’s proposal was its plot. The newspaper ad was only part of it. All the details of the proposal were impeccable. His “partners in crime” weren’t his friends or family – they were strangers who had no idea they were part of the surprise.

Renee Wang, Xin Li (center), the owner of Wa’z Hiro and the chefs

On the morning of January 27, Li came to the office of the SCP and the Northwest Asian Weekly to pick up “fresh off the press” copies of the newspapers. He looked at the advertisement and was satisfied with the result. Then he went to Wa’z, a Japanese restaurant in downtown Seattle. There he enlisted the help of the chef and a waitress to put together the whole proposition.

The game

Renee Wang with the proposal/announcement

Renee Wang wondered why her boyfriend, Li, was telling her to wear something nice. She had no idea, but she was wearing a dress, business casual.

“I didn’t suspect a thing,” she said. Wang had never been to Wa’z Japanese restaurant before. “He mentioned that he forgot to make a reservation at the restaurant. It didn’t sound like him because he’s a thorough guy.

After they sat down in the restaurant, Li excused himself to go to the bathroom. As she sat there staring at her cell phone, a waitress placed a copy of the SCP on her placemat.

“I pushed him away because I thought the waitress was trying to sell me something.”

Then Wang noticed that Li was taking longer than usual to go to the bathroom.

She decided to look at the newspaper and her eyes landed on the proposal ad. Then Li came out of the bathroom in her costume and walked to her seat.

Li knelt down and asked in Chinese, “Will you marry me?” I want to spend our lives together, rich or poor.

Li knelt down to ask the question

“I was so surprised,” Wang said. “I never thought I would be in a newspaper proposal. I’ve never appeared in a newspaper in all my life. It’s a great announcement. When he knelt down, the chef came out with a camera and congratulated us.

“And all the guests (about 10) in the restaurant clapped and clapped. The waitress and the chef congratulated us and gave me flowers. He (Li) used his heart to think about this whole occasion. say ‘yes’ in Chinese and in English ‘Yes, I will’. I’m very happy.” When asked why he chose Wa’z to pop the question, Li replied, “We both love Japanese food, and W’az offers quality food in a quiet environment.”

A former journalist in China, Li came to the United States in 2015. His parents founded and own the Pacific Dragon Swim Team club in Bellevue. Li still writes about Seattle for his hometown newspaper in Sichuan.

Li said he spent a lot of time researching Chinese newspapers to use for his publicity because Seattle has several Chinese newspapers. He chose SCP because he liked the content and the reports.

The newly engaged couple!

“The proposal announcement is a great way to share my good news with as many people as possible,” he said. “During Covid it’s not a good idea to have a big party to propose. All my family and friends knew about the proposal except Renee. And the diamond ring was ordered from my friend who works in the jewelry business. Everything went smoothly. The announcement surprised Renée.

Wang, a Canadian, works for a non-profit organization.

“The newspaper proposal is a good idea because I had already sent the electronic version of the SCP to all my old classmates and friends. I am so moved by the whole proposal.

Li said he and Wang met two years ago. Their parents are good friends. “That’s how we met,” Li said.

Valentine’s Day is February 14. Yet Wang has already received the best Valentine’s Day gift of the Year of the Tiger: a marriage proposal. The couple plan to wed in March in Issaquah.

Assunta can be contacted at [email protected]

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