Li Mengmeng. [File Photo]
BEIJING - Li Mengmeng, a girl from a poor rural family in Kaifeng county of Central China's Henan province, has had to live through twists and turns in her dream to go to college, in a story that has caused her heartbreak and roused huge public outcry.
Because of the negligence of a local education officer who by mistake locked Li's college entrance exam application form in his drawer, Li earlier had learned that no school would enroll her, despite her high exam score of 565.
The situation changed last week, after her story was exposed online, causing huge public sympathy and media coverage.
Over the weekend, Li was told that this fall, she would come a freshman in the accounting department at Henan University of Economics and Law.
"I'm very happy to hear about my university dream finally coming true and I don't hate the person who almost ruined it," she was quoted by China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday.
Coming from a poor family, the 21-year old studied very hard at school. Her younger brother and sister both dropped out of school and found jobs as migrant workers to help support her education.
But unexpected problems came up, one after another, during her application process.
On Aug 3, Li found that her application had not been registered online.
She and her father went to Kaifeng county's admissions office for re-submission on Aug 7.
Later they were told the computer operator receiving her file forgot to upload the data but locked the application sheet in a drawer. The absence of her data thus made her inadmissible to any institute.
The poor family then begged the local admissions office to report the case to provincial authorities to find a possible remedy.
Their inquiry met with a dismissal, on the grounds that almost nothing could be done after the selections had already taken place in first-tier and second-tier universities, and that government intervention would undermine fairness for other students, according to local media reports.
Li's experiences ignited huge reactions after her sister-in-law helped post her plight online last week.
Zhu Liping, a Kaifeng official in charge of educational affairs, gave special instructions that the matter should be quickly addressed to lessen the student's loss.
On Aug 20, Li and her father visited Henan University of Economics and Law, one of the schools she had applied for.
Yue Caijun, director of the admissions office of the college, expressed the university's goodwill to receive her. Later that day, Yue confirmed the official admission.
Li told China National Radio that she did not expect such a disturbance would happen to her, or would happen to anyone at all.
Holding no resentment toward Li Wenyi, the negligent computer operator who failed to upload her information, Li Mengmeng hopes the society could forgive Li Wenyi for his unintended mistake. Wang Fujing, director of Kaifeng county's admissions office, told reporters that Li Wenyi has been suspended from his post. Exact penalties will be decided later.
Li Mengmeng's family received the confirmed admission with relief, but said they might claim compensation from Kaifeng county's admissions office.