|Wu Yu says goodbye to his wife and 3-year-old daughter before hospital ship Peace Ark leaves Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, for an aid tour to some Asian nations and the Gulf of Aden. ZHANG HAO / FOR CHINA DAILY|
This is Liu Baichen's third ocean voyage. The 48-year-old ophthalmologist is again traveling with Chinese hospital ship No 866, nicknamed Peace Ark, on a four-month medical mission overseas.
On a previous Peace Ark mission to Djibouti in 2010, Liu cured a man from the slums who had lost his sight to cataracts. When Liu removed the bandages from the patient's eyes after the operation, the 53-year-old man jumped up from his bed and hugged him.
"For three years, he had been living in darkness, but suddenly he could see again," said Liu. "I couldn't understand his language but I could see the excitement in his face and eyes. The joy of being healthy is universal."
Liu said regaining his sight meant the patient was no longer a burden on his poverty-stricken family and he was able to start a new life.
"As a doctor, I felt so proud to see him smile," said Liu, who has been an ophthalmologist at the General Hospital of the Chinese Navy in Beijing for 23 years. "I have been working in China for a long time, and now I am able to help people in other countries."
At the sound of a steam whistle, Peace Ark, a 178-meter-long white vessel with red crosses painted on her decks and sides, sailed from the port of Zhoushan in East China's Zhejiang province on June 10. During the voyage, she will visit eight countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan and India, providing free medical services to the local population.
Responsibility and capability
"As the world's second-largest economy, China has the responsibility and the capability to provide humanitarian services to people across the world," said Guo Fenghai, professor of Marxism studies at the PLA National Defense University. "In the era of globalization, international cooperation has played an important role in China's development, and, in return, the world should also benefit from China's growth."
During her first two missions, in 2010 and 2011, the Peace Ark visited nine countries in Southern Asia, Africa and South America, providing medical services to more than 23,000 people, 215 operations have been performed.
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