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English News

89-year-old woman becomes China’s only 13-time NPC deputy


Alwihda Info | Par peoplesdaily - 8 Mars 2018

A total of 742 female delegates have been elected to the ongoing 13th NPC, accounting for 24.9 percent of the total representatives. The number has hit a historic high.


By Xie Yahong from People’s Daily

Shen Jilan (2nd left) visits local villagers on February 11 to collect public opinions as a reference to make proposals for the upcoming 13th National People’s Congress. (Photo by Yang Junfeng from People’s Daily)
Shen Jilan (2nd left) visits local villagers on February 11 to collect public opinions as a reference to make proposals for the upcoming 13th National People’s Congress. (Photo by Yang Junfeng from People’s Daily)
With the opening of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on Monday, Shen Jilan, an 89-year-old woman from rural Shanxi province in north China, has created a record by serving as a deputy in all 13 terms of the NPC, China's top legislative body.

Shen, who was elected to a deputy to the 1st NPC in 1954, is the only person receiving this honor in the 64-year history of the NPC.

The NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. Delegates all over the country convene in Beijing every March to propose bills, approve the amendments or enaction of laws, and every five years vote for state leaders.

Shen, an amiable rural woman always in simple clothes, showed her talents when rural agricultural cooperatives were set up around the country to encourage collective farming after the nation was founded in 1949.

Owing to some backward traditional ideas, a majority of women were reluctant to do the farm work. Shen took the lead to join the local cooperative, and also encouraged other women to do the same by door-to-door visits. As a result, they fulfilled tasks, improved farming techniques and greatly raised productivity.

Shen’s story, becoming a sensation at that time after being covered by People’s Daily, promoted the constitutionalization of the equal rights of men and women in 1954.

Over the past six decades, the female representative has been awarded the title of “National Model Worker” for many times and received by Chinese top leaders. She also introduced China’s achievements in women’s liberation to foreign friends during her visits abroad.

“I’m still a farmer,” replied Shen when local administration suggested her to relocate to the urban areas for a better livelihood. She insisted on living in the countryside, and each year she would make proposals related to farmers at the NPC meetings.

With joint efforts, the town she lives in has shaken off poverty like many other villages in China, and her fellow villagers are all leading a well-off life.

The 13-time female delegate is also a reflection of the rising political status of Chinese women.

A total of 742 female delegates have been elected to the ongoing 13th NPC, accounting for 24.9 percent of the total representatives. The number has hit a historic high.