Zhu Guoping, who for 30 years was a community worker in Shanghai, couldn't stop helping her neighbors even after retirement.
"A neighborhood is a small society, and when community work is done well, the whole society will be stable," said Zhu, who has also been a deputy to the National People's Congress for 13 years.
Zhu, 62, began working in Hongchu residential quarter in the early 1990s and was the Party secretary of the local branch when she retired in 2018.
When the novel coronavirus outbreak hit Shanghai three months ago, Zhu volunteered to help local community workers check each household and distribute flyers about how to avoid the disease.
"That's a lot of work, so I taught the young workers to attach sealed flyers to the door if no one answers," she said, "If the sealed flyer was off when we came next time, we knew the resident had read it, and if it had been there for a week, then we knew the resident might have gone back to their hometown."
"During the start of the outbreak, everyone was a bit scared and panicked, so it was safer to avoid direct contact, and that was maybe also the reason some residents did not answer the door," she added.
Using clever methods to satisfy the needs of the people is one of Zhu's greatest strengths, and she has gained tons of experience from her years of working at the grassroots level.
"I made my phone number public for the residents, and I visited 50 households each month to listen to their opinions and concerns," she said. "Big or small, they are the voices of the people, and they deserve the attention of the local community."
The Hongqiao subdistrict, where Zhu's neighborhood is located, was designated the grassroots center for gathering feedback for draft legislation created by the legislative work committee of the National People's Congress in 2015.
Over the past five years, Zhu said the subdistrict has submitted more than 600 suggestions related to civil affairs and livelihood, including feedback on the anti-domestic violence law, the law on the protection of minors and the draft of the first civil code, which will be reviewed by the NPC in the coming days.
"Before I came to Beijing for the annual meeting, many residents and workers came to me and said they wanted me to make a suggestion about revising the law regarding the organization of residential neighborhood committees," Zhu said. "The current law was made 30 years ago, and as our society has undergone big changes, so many articles of the law do not address the new situations local community workers now face."
Zhu said she invited many young people to her office, Pingju Studio, to give their suggestions. This way, they could participate in the governance of the "small society"－their local community.
She also organized workshops for young community workers, sharing her experiences with them, discussing practical problems they encountered and helping them find solutions for dilemmas, such as the limited parking spaces in the old neighborhood.
"As long as my health allows, I will stick to working for the local community," she said. "This is my way of giving back to the big society."