The Chinese Communist Party has selected 53 "national moral models" in its largest campaign since the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 to improve the moral standards of its people.
The identities of the role models were announced at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday and they were divided into five categories: helping another person, acting bravely for a just cause, being honest and trustworthy, working hard and "making great contributions", and showing filial piety and love to their parents and family members.
Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), attended the evening ceremony held for the "moral models".
He said the role models should be respected, cared for and learned from by the public.
"The whole of society should practise the socialist sense of honor and disgrace in a bid to support the economic and social development with strong ideological and moral power," Li noted.
The role models were selected according to the votes they received from the public and from the review committee formed by officials and "experts".
The candidates' deeds were published in newspapers, including the People's Daily and the Guangming Daily, on September 1 and people were encouraged to vote for them.
More than 21 million votes were received, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The "moral models" included Zhong Nanshan, one of the leading scientists who helped control the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China in 2003, and Yuan Longping, a Chinese agricultural scientist who developed the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s.
Other "moral models" include Cong Fei, a young singer in Shenzhen, who had given financial aid to 178 poor students and disabled people for more than ten years, and donated his cornea, which enabled six people with eye ailments to recover eyesight, before he died from illness at the age of 37.
Li Xuesheng, a migrant worker from Henan Province who sacrificed his life to save two children on a railway track from a coming train, and Hong Zhanhui, a college student who has been raising an adopted sister for 12 years while looking after his mentally ill father after his mother walked out on the family, were also selected.
The campaign to appoint these role models was launched by the Civilization Office of the CPC Central Committee, All China Federation of Trade Unions, Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League and All China Women's Federation in July.
Local civilization offices recommended candidates to the national organizing committee according to public opinion and the organizing committee decided formal candidates, a statement released by all four departments said.
Over the past decades, the Chinese authority has launched several campaigns to promote social morality amid worries that some Chinese people have lost their direction and have blurred the difference between right and wrong.
In the 1980s, the Chinese authority issued a package of moral instructions - the Five Standards, Four Virtues and Three Loves - to serve as a moral yardstick for Chinese who had emerged from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and entered the era of reform and opening-up.
China released the Implementation Outline on Ethics Building of Citizens in 2001 to promote moralities, such as love of the motherland, abiding by the law, behaving correctly, having credibility, being honest, kind, frugal, sound and devoted to one's career, among its citizens.
In March last year, a nationwide morality drive was launched in the form of Hu's list of eight honors and disgraces.
The Eight Honors and Disgraces are as follows: Love the country, do it no harm; Serve the people, never betray them; Follow science, discard superstition; Be diligent, not indolent; Be united, help each other, make no gains at other's expense; Be honest and trustworthy, do not sacrifice ethics for profit; Be disciplined and law-abiding, not chaotic and lawless; Live plainly, work hard, do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.
The CPC has highlighted the concept of "socialist core value system" at the Sixth Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee in October last year, to lay the "moral and ideological foundations" for social harmony.
The Party said the value system should consist of Marxism, Socialism with Chinese characteristics, patriotism, the spirit of reform and innovation and the socialist sense of honor and disgrace.