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More Chinese college students willing to serve in rural areas
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08:04, July 13, 2007

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A volunteer service program was kicked off in Beijing on Thursday, with 600 groups of students from 1,000 Chinese universities pledging to offer volunteer service in 10,000 rural villages.

"I want to see with my own eyes the poor areas of my country and the lives the people there lead," a student surnamed Wu from Beijing University of Science and Technology told Xinhua.

Born in a big city, Wu has never been to rural areas and could only get information about the situation in rural areas from newspapers.

Wu's classmate, a girl surnamed Cui from the poorest area in west China's Gansu Province, is expected to return to her hometown and do something "useful" for her countrymen.

"I will gather information on water management for farmers, so that they can better plant crops in an arid area," said Cui, a major in information technology.

Shi Zifeng, a student of Southwest University in Chongqing, participated in the volunteer service program last year.

"I can't forget the old farmer whose grandson died from ingesting poisonous pesticide," said Shi, who made up his mind to work in rural areas after graduating.

A major in agriculture, Shi taught farmers how to judge and apply pesticide, and how to protect themselves against poisonous pesticide. During the two-week program, Shi made door-to-door visits to nearly 100 households.

"Volunteer service is a way of applying academic knowledge to practical, everyday life," said Shi.

"Practice is a good teacher," said Zhang Lin, a student majoring in information technology in Peking University who also had fun in the program. She helped the local government in northwest China's Gansu Province to build up an e-government system, learning a lot more than from books.

Wang Zhaoguo, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said "the volunteer service program helped college students better understand the country's overall situation and their own responsibility."

Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the program, Wang said more and more students felt obliged to contribute to the country after taking part in the program, and they voluntarily chose to work in poor areas after graduation.

So far, the Beijing University of Science and Technology has recorded 60,000 stints in the volunteer service program. In 2006, 350 graduates chose to work in poor areas that are hungry for talent, more than a quarter of the total number of graduates.

Chinese college students have chalked up nearly 40 million volunteer service stints in rural areas in the past ten years.

Source: Xinhua



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