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China remembers grassroots heroes in 2016

By Liu Xiangrui | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-24 06:56

From billionaires to athletes, many Chinese made it big in the news in 2016. But like previous years, there were some who made a difference to society in their own ways - often quietly. Here is a recap of media coverage around four such grassroots heroes.

Wang Feng, died age 38. The late resident of Nanyang, Henan province, first hit the headlines in May after he risked his life to rescue his neighbors from a massive fire that broke out in their three-story building. Wang, who lived on the ground floor with his wife and daughter, was the first to notice the fire.

After he took his family to safety and sounded a fire alarm, Wang saved two children and an adult on his first try. Then he ventured into the burning building again to get others out but was severely injured in the process. Thanks to his effort, firefighters could rescue 20 other residents of the building in time.

Wang died from third-degree burns in October.

Wei Jian, police officer, 44. The head of a Shanghai police unit was recently voted as China Central Television's "legal figure of the year" by viewers online. Wei has been fighting telecom fraud since 2001. Over the years, he has gained experience through frequent meetings with victims and by upgrading his knowledge of technology used in such crimes.

From October 2015, he led investigations into more than 600 such cases, which helped retrieve economic losses totaling 200 million yuan ($28.7 million) for the victims.

Zhi Yueying, schoolteacher, 55. Zhi Yueying came to public attention in October after CCTV featured her for promoting education in remote Fengxin, a rural county in Jiangxi province, where she has been teaching since 1980. She believes education gives the mountainous county's children - who have limited exposure to the outside world - a tool to dream about their future.

Though she has reached the retirement age for women in China, Zhi has decided to continue teaching in some capacity as long as her health allows.

Guo Xiaoping, health activist, 53. In 2006, he decided to establish the Linfen Red Ribbon School, dedicated to children with HIV, because Guo felt that such children found it difficult to get normal education while receiving treatment.

Guo, who was previously the director of a hospital in Linfen, a city in Northwest China's Shanxi province, initially opened a "love classroom" for the children. In 2011, the school was formally included in the national education system. According to media, it is one of a kind in China, where students receive free education and treatment.

Guo's work got him nominated to this year's CCTV list of people who "moved China".

But despite his best intentions, Guo has faced criticism that he is "segregating children with HIV from normal society". Setting up a special school for such children, many of whom are orphans, is a temporary solution, and he hopes they will integrate into society in the future, he said.

 China remembers grassroots heroes in 2016

Zhi Yueying teaches her students in Fengxin, Jiangxi province, in October. Provided To China Daily

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