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Tributes paid to Jiangsu charity bike mechanic


08:23, April 17, 2013

NANJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Friends and family have fondly remembered the life of Hu Hansheng, a retiree in east China's Jiangsu Province who spent his last years repairing bikes and donating the proceeds to charity.

Hu, who died on Friday at the age of 86, retired from his job as a village shop clerk in Nantong City in 1999. But a life of comfortable retirement was not for Hu. He set up a bike repair booth in the city and managed to personally donate a total of 100,000 yuan (about 15,870 U.S. dollars) to charity before passing away.

Although he generally earned only around 20 yuan per day, Hu saved more than 18,000 yuan in the first three years of his enterprise and helped build a 200-meter concrete road for his fellow villagers.

He charged one yuan for each repair job and made a donation each time he had amassed 10,000 yuan.

Staff of the Nantong City General Charity Association still remember their first meeting with the old man.

Hu had cycled a long way from his home in Longtan Village to the association in the city center. "It was November 24, 2005, and very cold, but Hu was sweating," a member of staff told Xinhua.

Hu handed them a parcel covered with used newspaper, it had 10,000 yuan inside. "When we learned that he raised this amount of money with bike repairs, one yuan at a time, we were touched and tried to persuade him to use the money to make his life more comfortable," the staffer added.

"I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I only want to do something good," answered Hu, who was then 79 years old.

To his relatives, Hu was very "stubborn," and he even established a rule in his family that no one was allowed to spend his money, which, he said, had a "big use."

"I had thought that he was short of money because he never closed his booth, even in very bad weather," Pu Chao, owner of a barbershop next to Hu's business, told Xinhua.

"I am so surprised to learn that he donated all the money earned from repairing bikes," said Pu, adding that Hu lived a very frugal life.

Hu Zhengping, Hu's youngest son remembered how "father never went to the barbershop, and always asked my mother to cut his hair."

The benevolent bike mechanic's efforts seem to have inspired others. A fund he founded in Longtan has so far collected an additional 400,000 yuan in charitable donations from other villagers.

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