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Chinese youths become worldwide volunteer force

(Xinhua)

07:57, May 04, 2012

BEIJING, May 3 (Xinhua) -- While most of China was enjoying a cosy May Day holiday, Zhang Hao from the southern city of Guangzhou (Canton) was busy preparing for his journey to the Seychelles, where he will volunteer as a doctor.

Zhang, a 34-year-old gynecologist with 11 years of professional experience, will stay in the underdeveloped island country in Africa for a year, providing free medical services.

"Doctors are desperately needed in the Seychelles. I hope to go there and try my best to treat local people," he says.

Including Zhang, 18 volunteers -- 14 doctors, one engineering budgeter, one Chinese-language teacher and two music teachers -- have been selected from Guangdong province for this year's "Aiding Seychelles" program under the China Young Volunteers Serving Overseas Plan.

They are among the huge numbers of younger Chinese whose value and contributions to society will be celebrated on the nation's Youth Day, which falls on May 4.

Under the plan initiated in 2002 by the China Communist Youth League (CCYL), the reserve force of the Communist Party of China, young Chinese have flocked to every corner of the world to serve as volunteers.

In developing countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, Chinese volunteers have devoted themselves to services including peacekeeping, language teaching, health care and emergency relief. Between 2005-2011, the Chinese government sent 17,000 volunteers and Chinese-language teachers to 117 countries.

China now has more than 30 million youth volunteers registered in youth leagues at all levels and various social organizations. They have grown into one of the main forces driving public good in the world.

Altogether, 50 volunteers have been allocated to the Seychelles in four batches since 2007, according to Chi Zhixiong, vice secretary of the CCYL Guangdong Provincial Committee.

As a member of the first batch of Seychelles volunteers, Lin Daoxuan is still missed by local residents and often receives letters from the African island. During his one-year volunteering term, Lin performed 500 surgeries and treated more than 1,000 local surgical patients.

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