ASIA/CHINA - Chinese Catholics appreciated and recognized by society and the media

Beiijing (Agenzia Fides) – A Catholic has been chosen by major Chinese national media and by the votes cast on-line, to be among the list of “Top 10 People of 2009,” and a Catholic university student, who died saving a child, was presented by provincial and municipal authorities as a moral model of courage and dedication: they are two recent and eloquent testimony of how Chinese Catholics today are valued and recognized by society and by the Chinese media in general.
According to information received by Agenzia Fides, Wang Ping An (Ping An means "Peace"), a Catholic farmer of 71 years of modest means, has spent over 23 years taking care of the elderly, abandoned children, sick, lonely, disabled, and has welcomed hundreds into his home. He accompanied 63 elderly people in the final stretch of their earthly life, taking care of everything, even their funeral. In 2000, he built a house with 50 simple rooms, taking out a loan, to give a home to all those who do not have one. During the pilgrimage to Rome in 2007, offered by a benefactor, he attended the General Audience with the Holy Father: to him this was the greatest reward, the dream of his life. Today, after the selections from among thousands of people, he has been elected as a candidate among the "Top 10 People of 2009" that have moved all of China, by the Commission composed of representatives of major Chinese media sources such as CCTV (China Central Television), the Xin Hua Agency, and People Daily, and the popular votes cast on-line. The award ceremony will be held for the Chinese New Year and will be broadcast live on CCTV in the early evening. But he, in his peasant simplicity has often stated: "Jesus taught us 'Whenever you did to this to the least of these my brethren, you did unto me.'"
The young Catholic university student John Huang Chuan Ding, age 21, of the parish of Nan Guan, in the Diocese of Bao Ji, in the Province of Shaan Xi, died on January 27 to save a 5-year-old boy who had fallen into an icy river. At his funeral, celebrated on February 3 and attended by over 3,000 faithful, including fellow university students, provincial and municipal authorities, all were deeply moved. "An example for all citizens of Bao Ji", "a heroic college student, courageous, of great moral height," "the best university student," are among the titles he was given by the authorities who have officially presented him as a model. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 08/02/2010)

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