China Cites "Outstanding Mothers"

Even knowing of the death of her son Gao Jiancheng, who sacrificed his life in China's anti-flood campaign in 1998, Yang Youxiu still instructed her third son not to come back home until the flood retreated.

Yang, 78, lives in a small village in Hunan Province. She brought up nine children, including two belonging to disabled neighbors.

Yang is just one example of China's excellent mothers.

Ten women were granted the title "Outstanding Mother" Wednesday after over two months of a public appraisal process.

It is the first time that China has initiated a nationwide campaign to choose elite mothers.

The event was jointly organized by 15 Chinese organizations, including the All-China Women's Federation, People's Daily and other media units, in a bid to set examples of excellent mothers in China's changing society.

The winners of the award include farmers, teachers, public servants, artists and businesswomen, who not only engaged in fostering their children into talented personnel, but also made outstanding accomplishments in their respective careers and took active parts in civic affairs, according to Wang Donghua, one of the members of the judging group.

Wang, who has spent more than a decade studying Chinese mothers ' role in family education and society, expressed his belief that mothers' way of educating their children has an important influence on China's next generation, and even the whole nation.

Liu Sumei, a native of east China's Anhui Province, struggled to transform a small local enterprise that was on the verge of bankruptcy into a medium-sized one which is able to earn over 40 million yuan (over US$4.8 million) annually. As a successful career woman, Liu also had her two children enrolled in key universities as a result of her scientific way of family education.

"I never expected to win the award. There are more Chinese women better than I in fostering their children," said Zhao Dingjun, who became handicapped when she was young. "It is our obligation to bring up children into promising adults."

She has spent nine years trying to get her daughter's rare disease cured. During this hard time, she also kept studying by herself and finally got a university degree.

"It is my mother who taught me how to be an honest and brave man. Thanks to thousands of ordinary mothers, China will get many talented people in its economic and social development drives," said 14-year-old Yu Yi, also one of the judges during the final round of selection.

The title "outstanding mother" reflects a nationwide acknowledgment of mothers' social value, according to Wang.

It is a rewarding effort to highlight excellent mothers, and China will continue to stage the selection campaign in the future to promote family cultivation and accelerate social advancement, said Liu Hairong, vice president of the All-China Women's Federation.

People's Daily Online ---