A boyfriend's love for his 26-year-old girlfriend is credited with keeping her alive after she had been buried in debris between the bodies of two colleagues for 104 hours.
He Chenxi's boyfriend Zheng Guangming was visiting his girlfriend in Beichuan county when the May 12 earthquake struck Sichuan province.
The young clothing salesman from Shandong province was surfing the Internet in He's dormitory when the ground began to tremble. His girlfriend had just left for work ten minutes ago.
In the blink of an eye, half of the building collapsed. Fortunately, the room Zheng was in didn't fall.
"My first reaction was to pick up the phone and call her. But, there was no signal. So, I climbed down and called out her name," said Zheng.
After searching all over the county, Zheng left Beichuan for Mianyang, where his girlfriend's parents lived.
Prior to the quake, his girlfriend hadn't mentioned Zheng to her parents. He's parents, astonished to see Zheng, also had no clue to their daughter's whereabouts.
Zheng managed to make it back to Beichuan four days after the quake. Upon his return, he heard news there was a survivor at the Agricultural Development Bank, where his girlfriend worked.
"I shouted her name, and she called back. I knew it was her instantly. She thought I had died and never dreamed I would be there to rescue her," said Zheng.
During the 18-hour rescue operation, Zheng kept talking with He, keeping her spirits up. Zheng reminisced about joyous moments the two had shared - and even talked to her about marriage.
"Let's get married. Do you prefer a Chinese wedding or a Western one?" Zheng's words were recorded and reported by major news media.
Many people said it was his dogged love that pulled his girlfriend through.
After she was rescued, He recalled she had just entered the bank's lobby when the tremors started.
She lost consciousness, and when she woke up, she realized two of her colleagues were pressed up hard against her back and waist.
She remembered falling asleep three times, dreaming of water and milk. When she was awake, she would listen for sounds and call out to anything she heard.
Gradually, her colleagues stopped moaning. But, He kept telling herself that she must make it out alive.
While the media also credits He's survival to her boyfriend's efforts, Zheng says there are many people to thank.
"Without the rescuers, Chenxi wouldn't be alive. The cement and locked door of the bank had blocked the way thoroughly. I want to tell everyone, Chenxi is alive thanks to the whole society's help. All I did was to encourage her," said Zheng.
At the Third Military Medical University of Chongqing, doctors are contemplating taking off two severely damaged toes on He's right foot. But, this is already much better than what the couple expected.
"We have been in love for two years. I was fully prepared that even if she had to have all four limbs amputated, I would not give her up," said Zheng, who has resigned from his work to care for his girlfriend.
"He is a fine young man," said Zhang Yong, president of the Agricultural Bank's branch in Mianyang, who participated in the rescue of He.
Zhang was deeply moved by the young man's frantic search and meticulous care.
"He is honest and devoted to his girlfriend. I sincerely wish them to get married."
He's parents and relatives also have the same wishes for the young couple.
"We will bless them at the wedding," said He's aunt.
(China Daily 05/28/2008 page20)