BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- More than 30 years after first rescuing someone drowning in Qingyun Lake, Zhao Li has been nominated as a national ethical role model, one of the most important milestones in his life.
Zhao, a villager living near the lake in east China's Shandong Province, has saved 16 drowning people over the decades including a child who accidentally slipped into the water and a woman who attempted to commit suicide by drowning herself in the lake.
"I realized that one person's ability is limited. A professional team can save more people's lives," he said. Thus, he set up a rescue center consisting of volunteers skilled at swimming in August 2020.
They purchased speedboats and life vests with their own money to assist the government's emergency rescue missions, raise public awareness on drowning prevention, and popularize rescue methods.
Currently, the rescue center boasts more than 100 volunteers. In their latest endeavor, they rushed to Xinxiang, a city in rain-ravaged Henan Province in central China, and helped evacuate more than 1,000 people in three days.
Zhao was among 10 winners of the national ethical model awards bestowed last November for those who "act bravely for a just cause," a value that has been an essential underpinning of Chinese society for millennia.
This fine tradition hailed by the Chinese nation since ancient times establishes that a person should be committed to upholding justice and shouldering social responsibility.
Today, some administrative regulations provide that "acting bravely for a just cause" refers to an action of a citizen who fights to stop any criminal acts or acts in an emergency in order to protect state property, public interests, people or their property from danger in disregard of his personal safety.
Indeed, the unselfish efforts of Zhao and the award he has won are an important reminder of this age-old virtue. He is just one of the countless everyday heroes in the country who have acted courageously to do what is righteous.
Li Lingzhi, a college student in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, tried to stop a man from stealing cables outside a residential compound last August. He suffered from a serious knife cut on his face while fighting with the thief who attempted to run away. The thief was finally caught by police, and fortunately Li got recovered.
Despite the risk of COVID-19 infection, Wang Yong, an ordinary courier in Wuhan, organized a team and offered free shuttle rides as well as daily necessities for medical staff from Jinyintan Hospital, designated by the city to treat coronavirus patients, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
One day in January 2021, border patrolman Laqini Bayika happened to see a boy fall through the ice on a frozen lake in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The man ran to the boy and saved him from drowning, yet tragically was claimed by the freezing water in the process.
Whether in ancient times or today, "acting bravely for a just cause" is always commendable and an important indicator of social progress.
Reflecting this importance, China has launched a series of measures to pass down this fine tradition. National and local funds have been set up to reward heroes who help others. The country's Civil Code also gives emphasis to the protection of those who are ready to help others. ■