BEIJING - People across China on Monday observed a day commemorating Lei Feng, a soldier renowned in China for his generosity and altruistic deeds.
This was the 55th "Lei Feng Day," with people helping others and volunteering in remembrance of Chairman Mao's call to "learn from Comrade Lei Feng."
Lei reportedly died in an accident in 1962 at the age of 22. He was made a national hero after Chairman Mao called on the nation to study his life in 1963.
In Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin province, drivers from a taxi group named after the national hero delivered food to an orphanage on Monday. Founded in 1997, the team has been committed to helping people in need.
Drivers wore armbands printed with the slogan "Learning From Lei Feng." They offered free of charge rides for senior citizens, the disabled, students and other needy residents.
"Not too long ago, an 80-year-old man called and asked us to help take his wife to hospital, because their only daughter was not at home," said Yuan Hui, the team leader, adding that they have been committed to helping others for 20 years.
"I used to be a driver in the military, just like Lei Feng. When I serve people in need, I am showing what kind of person I am, and I am also adding a bit of positive spirit to a civilized society," he said.
On Sunday, a coalition of volunteers was founded for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The volunteers will work to preserve the environment and provide services for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
According to research on voluntary services in Shanghai over the last year, undertaken by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the volunteering spirit has increased among the public.
Some 91 percent of the people surveyed were satisfied with the voluntary services they receive, the research showed. Top three types of voluntary service are social work, city operation and environmental protection.
Voluntary spirit is part of building an open and inclusive city, said Lin Yuesheng, 66, a volunteer in Guangzhou.
"Guangzhou should be a diverse and inclusive city. Volunteering strengthens communities and brings warmth to people, particularly for migrant families," said Lin.
In Guangdong province, there are over 9 million registered volunteers and 80,000 voluntary organizations.
In Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, volunteers handed out brochures and pamphlets to call for people to become volunteers on Monday. Tibet has 230,000 volunteers, about seven percent of the total population.
The Tibetan regional library, which won a national award for its long-time public service, organized seminars and special sessions for blind readers and children. They also increased opening hours.
"We will carry on the Lei Feng spirit and provide high-quality public services for readers," said Tseten Butri, a librarian.