China honors female role models

The All-China Women’s Federation has granted 10 women the title of “Role Model for March 8th Red Banner Holder,” a national honor granted to those who are regarded as role models for all Chinese women to follow, the federation announced on Wednesday.

Zhang Lili, a middle school teacher in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province who lost her legs while saving two students from an oncoming bus, topped the list.

The runner-up was Lu Xinning, a reporter for the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC). She received the award for her notable achievements in news reporting.

The third was Qian Aling, the head of a microcredit company in east China’s Jiangsu province who has who helped small business owners get through financial difficulties.

Other recipients include a genetics researcher, a local-level doctor, a philanthropic businesswoman and a farmer who has engaged in agricultural innovation.

Another 300 individuals received the honorary title of “March 8th Red Banner Holder” in addition to the ten women, while 200 institutions were given the title of “March 8th Red Banner Collective,” according to the federation.

The awards were first given out starting in 1960 but were halted during the decade-long Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). In 1979, the awards were restored to encourage women to take part in China’s reform and opening-up drive.

A special exception was made last year, when the federation announced that it would bestow a special title on Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut. She received the title of “Role Model for March 8th Red Banner Holders,” making the total number of recipients 11 instead of 10.

Liu and male crew members Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang entered space aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft on June 16. The crew successfully conducted both automatic and manual space docking procedures with the Tiangong-1 orbiter.

Xinhua