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China's Forrest Gump'

(China Daily)

09:00, September 06, 2012

Gan Xiangwei graduates from Peking University, after taking the road less traveled. (China Daily)

Many people dream of obtaining a Peking University degree. Gan Xiangwei did it his way.

Since high school, Gan Xiangwei has harbored a dream of entering the gates of the prestigious and beautiful Peking University. "At that time, I thought to myself that even if I couldn't get a place as an undergraduate, I want to have a chance to step into the campus one day, to walk in the grounds and see for myself the beautiful site," says the 29-year-old.

And enter he did. He became a security guard at the university in 2007 and a year later, he was admitted to its Chinese language department, after passing the Adult College Entrance Examination. He graduated this summer.

While most people leave the university with a degree, Gan left with more. He penned his thoughts and experiences during his five years on the campus, known as Yanyuan Garden, in a 120,000-word book, Attending Peking University on His Feet, which was published in June.

The book tells about his struggle in pursuing his path to success, which Gan hopes will motivate his readers. He also hopes to convey his never-say-die attitude to his readers.

He has been dubbed by some of his readers as the "Forrest Gump of China", not only because their surnames sound alike (Gan and Gump) but also for their perseverance.

There isn't a more appropriate cover for the book, which has the picture of a security guard looking into the horizon, with the west gate of Peking University as background. Zhou Qifeng, the president of Peking University, wrote the book's preface, adding credence to the publication.

Born and bred in rural Guangshui in Hubei province, Gan says he started aspiring to enter the world-renowned ivory tower after reading a book about it. The book described the beautiful scenery around Weiming Lake and stories of respectable scholars in Yanyuan Garden.

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