THIS is a story about the honesty and integrity of an angel.
China entered the major snow season, one of the 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar, last Thursday – indicating the arrival of snow in the north any time soon – and this is also the busiest period for Chen Jinying.
At 87 years, the hunchback Chen has given up the luxury of enjoying her retirement. She is running a mini bazaar outside her flat, selling goose down jackets.
The Chinese traditional medicine doctor-turned-businesswoman has only one goal now – to settle her remaining debts of 1.29 million yuan (RM800,000).
This is the money owed to the banks and some suppliers after her factory closed down 37 years ago.
Living in Lishui city of the coastal Zhejiang province, Chen spent all her savings of 3,000 yuan (RM1,870) to open a small goose down jacket factory after retiring as a doctor in 1980.
Due to her good reputation, her business grew and she built a 16 million yuan (RM9.96mil) production plant in 2005, hiring over 100 men to work for her.
But, as often happens, good things did not last long. Her business collapsed in 2011 and despite selling all the assets, she still owed over two million yuan (RM1.24mil) to the debtors.
After all the possible solutions with which she tried to restart her business over the years failed, Chen opened the store at her flat. Since then, she has been repaying the debts bit by bit.
Asked why she didn’t apply for bankruptcy, she said it was her responsibility to settle the debts.
“Some of the money is owed to the banks, they belong to the country and some are individuals. I don’t want to cause trouble to them,” she told people.com.cn, the online news portal of The People’s Daily.
“I hope to pay back all the debts soon. After that I will go back to my profession as a doctor to help more people.”
Not only has she displayed the moral value of being an honest person, but Chen is also an angel to the less fortunate community.
When she was running her multi-million yuan business, Chen never forgot the sick and poor folks. She constantly made donations to welfare centres, old folks’ homes and disaster relief funds.
She also gifted goose down products, including pillows and clothing, to the needy.
She was granted titles such as The Good Samaritan of Zhejiang, The Most Beautiful Lishui City Resident and others, in recognition of these good deeds.
Further south at a farming village in Sichuan province, technician Ling Qinghua and his son Xiao Chuan have also showed the moral value of forgiving and forgetting.
They accepted the apology of a man who caused an accident that killed Ling’s wife 16 years ago.
On the morning of Aug 25, 2001, He Xiaoping was riding his bicycle to market. When he was cycling down a slope, he rammed into 25-year-old Feng Chaorong, who was walking with her neighbours.
Xiaoping rushed her to the hospital with help from the villagers. Feng died 12 days later.
After the death of his wife, Ling moved to town with his four-year-old son. He needed to work for money to repay the 9,000 yuan (RM5,600) he borrowed for Feng’s hospitalisation and funeral expenses.
At the same time, he was also exhausting all avenues to look for Xiaoping, the person he hated for ruining his happy family.
As for Xiaoping, life was also not easy for him. Then 18 years old, he ran away from home and found a job at a factory in Xinjiang.
But guilt and repentance always weighed him down.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was too young, I didn’t know what to do, I had no one to turn to for help,” Xiaoping, who was brought up by his two bachelor uncles, told Chengdu Economic Daily.
Three years later, he surrendered to the police in Xinjiang but was told that he needed to return to his hometown to get this settled.
He did not go back, thinking that he should earn some money for Ling and his son, to atone for his sin.
Xiaoping was finally arrested in July when he returned home to visit his sick uncle and attend his sister’s funeral.
At negotiations arranged by police officer Yang Hua later, Xiaoping and Ling met for the first time.
Xiaoping apologised for causing the accident and the irresponsible act of running away, and hoped for forgiveness from Ling.
After struggling for months, Ling signed a letter of understanding for dispute settlement and accepted 40,000 yuan (RM25,000) from Xiaoping, saying that he understood that the man was genuinely begging for forgiveness.
“I know it has not been easy for him too. It has been so many years. I can’t always think of the past anymore,” he added.
Ling’s son Xiao Chuan has also chosen to forgive Xiaoping.
“No matter how much I hate him, Mom will not come back. Let’s forgive and forget,” he said.
Xiaoping was sentenced to two years in jail with another two years’ probation.
Without the dispute settlement, the usual jail term is between three and seven years.
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