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China's first doctor in wheelchair attends 17th CPC National Congress
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China's first PhD holder in wheelchair stands out among delegates attending the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened here on Monday, because of her perseverance in the face of physical handicap.

Hou Jingjing, with her legs paralyzed due to a misdiagnosis when she was 11, has struggled through life and won her PhD Degree in 2004, becoming China's first doctor in wheelchair.

Hou is now receiving support from an increasingly developed society. Her story epitomizes how physically disadvantaged people find their way to success in China.

She told China Daily it was a great honor for her to be elected as a delegate to the CPC's 17th National Congress and owes all to education.

Reflecting on her career, she said: "People like me who have gone through special education have more passion for education. I have a strong sense that education has a tremendous influence on people: It can rescue a life and evoke a life-force!"

Born in Ma'anshan, Anhui Province, misfortune fell on the all-Aprimary sixth grader when she was 11 in 1986. Due to a misdiagnosis, her legs were paralyzed.

Frequent trips for medical treatment prevented her from attending a regular school. With family love and encouragement, she started to teach herself English.

By mid-1997, she finished her college education with an English major and managed to take a bachelor's degree in English after taking the annual self-taught exam.

In the winter the same year, Hou signed up and sat in for the national exam for graduate's studies. Taking five exams in three successive days, she persisted to the end and received the highest overall score on the exam.

With the help of her family, she exercised. She would exercise her legs for one hour six times a day and then pick up her books again completely focused.

Despite all the difficulties, Hou did not miss a single class. And as a teacher, her student Ge Jianping recalled: "she had to support her body with her hands to relax. Yet she always smiled in class!"

In 2001, Hou was recruited by Nanjing Normal University as a doctorate student and in 2004 won the PhD Degree, becoming the country's first doctor in wheelchair.

Spending an average of eight hours a day teaching or doing research, Hou has published more than 20 papers in professional publications, written a book with 300,000 Chinese characters and translated two other books, said China Daily.

In early 2007, she was promoted to associate professor.

"What I am today has mainly been contributed by the care and help of my family, Nanjing Normal University and the whole society. I could not be who I am today without them."

She says that she approves of the Party's guidelines for scientific development and a harmonious society.

Source: Xinhua

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