People across China on Tuesday observed "Lei Feng Day" by showing goodwill and helping others in remembrance of the soldier renowned for his generosity and altruistic deeds.
March 5 has been designated as "Lei Feng Day," after Chairman Mao Zedong called on the whole nation to learn from Lei in 1963, one year after the soldier died in an accident at the age of 22.
Since then, the soldier, known for selflessly devoting his time and money to those in need, has been lauded by generations of Chinese as a model Good Samaritan and a virtuous example to emulate.
More than five decades later, the legacy left by the national hero still inspires the Chinese people to do volunteer work and lend a helping hand to people in need.
In Yanshan County, north China's Hebei Province, a team of volunteers visited Liu Shuying, a senior citizen plagued by cataract and cerebellar atrophy, on Tuesday morning and sent her food and other necessities.
The volunteers had visited the 88-year-old for several times and installed heating equipment in her home to help her tide over the winter.
"I stayed warm and didn't starve in this winter. It couldn't be better," Liu said.
The team, comprised of over 200 volunteers, had also donated money and school supplies to impoverished local students.
Volunteering has been rising in China in recent years, with over 100 million Chinese registered as volunteers by the end of 2018.
The number of registered volunteer service organizations in China reached about 12,000 last year, providing more than 1.2 billion hours of service in total, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
For many of the country's volunteers, doing charitable deeds is not one day's job, but a long-term commitment.
On Monday, more than 200,000 volunteers in Hebei's city of Hengshui visited local schools, nursing homes and neighborhoods to provide free services ranging from haircuts to cleaning.
Hao Hongyin, a volunteer, says his family visits local nursing homes once a week to offer free haircuts to the elderly.
Hao's fellow volunteers often stage performances such as singing and dancing to entertain the elderly in nursing homes.
In Shanghai, a voluntary services station has been operating for 10 years at the Shanghai South Railway Station. Volunteers were particularly busy during this year's 40-day Spring Festival rush which ended on March 1. They gave directions to passengers, helped them carry baggage and offered them hot water.
"It can be really difficult for passengers to navigate the railway station, and we are more than happy to offer help," said Zhang Guiying, a volunteer at the station.
Shi Xiaoqian, who is in charge of the volunteer station, said, "everyone can be a 'Lei Feng' if he or she is willing to give a helping hand."
Volunteers with the station had also played an important role in major international events such as the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the first China International Import Expo in 2018.
In a child rehabilitation center in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, doctors provided patients with free health check-ups and medical treatment.
Many of the center's patients are children with disabilities or orphans. "We hope to bring them love and care," said Ma Xiaofei, head of the center.
Besides offering free treatment, the center's doctors have also volunteered to train the parents to help with their children's rehabilitation.
Wang Haiqing, a psychological counselor and head of a volunteer organization in northeast China's Liaoning Province, said volunteering could strengthen communities and bring warmth to people.
"Our small acts of kindness can converge into a strong power. In that way, there will be hundreds of thousands of 'Lei Feng' around us," Wang said.
IMMORTAL CULTURAL ICON
On Tuesday, an event was held to encourage more people to learn from Lei Feng in Huludao city of Liaoning Province where Lei was buried.
"Lei Feng spirit is immortal," said Guo Mingyi, who made a name for himself by helping those in need and was named "Modern Lei Feng."
"More and more volunteers have joined us to learn from Lei Feng, let us work together to bring more warmth and positive power to the society," Guo said.
Guo is not the only "Modern Lei Feng" who is applauded in the country.
A drama titled "Modern Lei Feng in Zhuang Village" was staged in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on March 1.
The drama tells the story of Bin Yi, a Guangxi policeman praised by the locals as a "modern Lei Feng" for selflessly helping others and donating his organs after his death.
"Bin Yi is an ordinary man just like Lei Feng. If everyone is willing to perform common acts of kindness, the society will be much better," said Su Shijin, director of the drama. Enditem