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July 8, 2017

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Small in stature yet a giant in the community

STANDING at 1.53 meters tall and weighing just over 40 kilograms, Liu Guizhen looks like an underage girl. But “little woman” as she is, the 54-year-old has been a giant in shouldering the responsibilities of being a doctor, teacher, Party secretary and chief of Duanjiawan Village for decades.

Duanjiawan is a tiny village in Daixian County of north China’s Shanxi Province. For decades, villagers never went to the doctor’s for treatment until problems became deadly, because there was none available. No doctors would like to live in an impoverished village like this.

In 1978, when Liu turned 15, as the only high school graduate of the village, she was sent to a training course for physicians under her father’s command, who was then the village’s Party secretary. Half a year later, she came back and became the first home-grown village doctor.

From then on, come rain or shine, Liu would go to villagers’ homes to see patients free of charge whenever she was needed. She gained experience through work and learned to do more than just to fill in prescriptions. If the villagers came to buy medicines at the clinic, she sold them at the cost price.

“I have never thought of making money from the pills,” she says.

In 1988, the only teacher at the Duanjiawan Primary School left for better opportunity in a big city. It left village children with no choice but to stop schooling before a new teacher was assigned to the post.

To help out, Liu picked up the teaching stick in her spare time. By the time when Duanjiawan Primary School was merged into the Wangjiahui Primary School, she had been giving lessons as a substitute for many years.

In 1996, Liu was elected Party secretary by the villagers, due to her years of devotion and contribution to the community and the village. In 2003, she doubled the duty as village chief when the former retired.

“I always remember what my father said: ‘As a good Party carder, one has to always think for others, take no advantage of others, and be unselfish’ — as simple as that,” says Liu who joined the Communist Party of China in 1992 under the influence of her father, a veteran who fought in the War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Although she holds four posts, Liu says she earns merely a little bit over 1,000 yuan (US$147) every month. She often subsidizes her villagers from her own pocket and even from her husband’s meagre income.

“As a Party member, I will try my best to help others. I see it not only the value of my life but also a family tradition that has been passed down to me,” Liu says. “I will teach my children the same way as my father taught me.”

Today, Liu’s elder daughter, Yang Junyu, is the head nurse at the Gulou Hospital in Shandong Province. The younger daughter, Yang Xingyu, has just finished high school and will go to college. Both have applied to join the Party.

“I want to be a qualified Party member like my mother, to serve people with heart and soul,” Yang Junyu says.


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