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Edit Title:[HugChina] Unyielding Chinese boy knelt moving to school for years
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Bernd Chang
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A thousand students were attending the annual national college entrance examination. Among them a 1.2meter tall boy attracted more attention, his name was Li Wei (李卫). He wore shoes but actually he had no feet. With unimaginable perseverance, Li Wei knelt all the way to enter the examination room.

At 8:30am on June 7, 2011, a thousand high school students gathered at the gate of Hanyin County Middle School. With the whistling of the gate keeper, the gate opened, the students stepped on the red carpet specifically prepared by the school for the students.

(They were attending the annual national college entrance examination. With the enlargement of college enrollment and contracting number of high middle school students, this year more than 70 percent high middle school students will have chance to study in a college.)

Among them a 1.2meter tall boy attracted more attention, his name was Li Wei (李卫). He wore shoes but actually he had no feet. With unimaginable perseverance, Li Wei knelt all the way to enter the examination room.

Kneel more than one hour to go to school

Li Wei was born 21 year ago in a poor rural family in Puxi Township in Hanyin County of Shaanxi Province. His birth brought happiness for his family, but the happiness was suddenly broken by a tragic traffic accident on April 2, 1994. On that day, three year old Li Wei was hit down by a truck and his two legs were under the wheel of the truck. His feet were amputated to save his life. His life changed for ever from that accident.

At the age of seven, Li Wei was refused by primary schools at first,after repeated efforts of his parents and mediation from county education bureau,Li Wei finally could sit in the classroom, only two months after the beginning of a new semester.

In the first three school year, Li Wei was carried on the back by his parents to school everyday. When he was 10 years old, for one time his parents were so busy with farm work that they just put him at home, the unyielding Li Wei tried crawling and he succeeded in moving for more than one hour to school in this way. The teacher was surprised to see him appearing at the school gate. The days afterwards Li Wei persisted in crawling to school, and he began to try using his knees as feet and tried to go to school on these special “feet”. But the cost was huge. Only several days later his trousers were worn away and his two knees were rubbed to bleed. One day, Li Wei put his rest shanks in the shoes of his mother and tried to move and he succeeded. From that day on Li Wei kept kneeling to school.

Li Wei and other three members of his family resided in a 20 square meters of house made of sun-dried mud brick. But his parents pulled all their savings to support Li Wei for his education. Later when Li Wei studied drawing in provincial capital Xi’an, the cost went up to 4000 RMB for three months, which was almost equal to their annual earnings. “As long as the child can go out of this mountain to live on his own, it is worth borrowing money and even selling our blood to support him”, his mother said.

Dreaming of standing truly on the feet

Everyone is surprised to see that Li Wei can easily play table tennis and climb up stairs, some even doubt that Li Wei actually had feet, only with shorter leg.

Several years ago, Li Wei’s parents paid 2000 RMB to buy a pair of artificial legs for him. But maybe it was too late. After many years of kneeling, his two half legs were already too stiff to extend. It ached a lot when he tried to walk with the artificial legs. But the feeling was good, Li Wei said, “It is wonderful that I can finally stand up on my feet and I am even taller than my mother in the artificial legs”.

When he entered high middle school, Li Wei got interested in painting and began to study it. And he saw painting as a potential career for his future. Li Wei studied very hard and practiced drawing whenever he had time.

Li Wei failed to get enough marks in the 2010 national college entrance examination. He decided to continue his middle school study until he get accepted by a university. He said that although art was a luxurious dream for poor students, he would make every effort to realize the dream. To the relief of his parents, Li Wei was one of the top 20 in the painting examination organized by Chongqing Normal University. “I know my future is not a dream, I will live happily for every minute of my life. My future is not a dream, my heart throbs with the hope…”, on June 2, Li Wei sang loudly the popular song My Future Is Not a Dream with other students preparing for the forthcoming 2011 national college entrance examination which would take place from June 7 to 9.

Li Wei made a plan for his future. He would find a job after graduation from university. He could live on his own and make enough money to buy a better pair of artificial legs so that he could walk like a normal person. With this dream, Li Wei knelt on the red carpet to examination room for national college entrance examination.

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Bernd Chang
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June 7, 2011, Li Wei (李卫), 21 years old at the height of only 1.2 meters, knelt on his knees to attend national college entrance examination. He wore shoes, but actually he has no feet.

5400105-college-entrance-examination-01-800x533.jpg



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Bernd Chang
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Li Wei and his parents and brother. 21 years ago, Li Wei was born to a poor rural family in Hanyin County, Shaanxi Province. On April 2, 1994, Li Wei was hit down by a running truck and his legs were rolled over. His parents had no choice but to have his legs amputated to save his life.

5400105-college-entrance-examination-02-800x533.jpg



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Bernd Chang
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At the age of ten, Li Wei tried crawling more than one hour to go to school and he succeeded. Later Li Wei tried putting his legs in shoes of his mother and managed to move. From then on, Li Wei kept on kneeling to school. To practise kneeling to move, many layers of skin on his knees and shanks have been rubbed away. Large and small wounds appear one after another on his knees. No matter in winter or in summer, his knees and the rest half shanks often appear red and swelling.

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Bernd Chang
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The four members of Li Wei's family shared a 20 square meters house made of mud bricks. There is limited room for sleeping, not to mention for study.

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Bernd Chang
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After Li Wei entered high middle school, he joined the class of painting. His parents pulled all their savings to support his education. “As long as this child can go out of the mountain and live on his own after he grow up, it pays off to borrow money or even sell our blood", said his parents.

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Bernd Chang
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Li Wei studied in Puxi Middle school three kilometers away from his home. In the campus, he is often seen kneeling to move in this way. He has got used to unusual stares from others for years.

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Bernd Chang
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Although his life is full of hardship, Li Wei is confident and optimistic. His attitude is admired by his classmates and most of them are happy to get along with and help him.

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Bernd Chang
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Li Wei wears shoes, although he actually has no feet. There is cracks on the shoes, but Li Wei is reluctant to get rid of it.

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Bernd Chang
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On the morning of June 2, days before the forthcoming college entrance examination, Li Wei recited lessons in the campus. He belived with his efforts, he could also make achievements equivalent to those normal people.

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Bernd Chang
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Li Wei played table tenis with his classmates.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 2, Li Wei prepared for a party organized by the school in order that the students relax before the forthcoming college entrance examination.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 2, the students took part in a party and tempararily forgot the forthcoming college entrance examination.

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Bernd Chang
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Teachers also participated the party to reduce the pressure of the students.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 3, 2011 in Hanyin of Shaanxi Province, Li Wei rode on this three wheel bicycle to go home with all his books. He would go over the lessons at home for the rest three days.

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Bernd Chang
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His mother walked home on bare feet after farm work. Li Wei helped with cooking.

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Bernd Chang
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Due to long period of kneeling, the two half shanks are too stiff to extend. Li Wei took great pain to extend his shanks to the artificial legs and tried to taste the feeling of standing up.

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Bernd Chang
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Li Wei said he could do nothing in rural area as a disabled man. He hope to change his life through going to school.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 6, Li Wei left home to attend the college entrance examination held in downtown Hanyin County. His parents and neighbors went out to see him off.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 6 in a hotel arranged by his school, Li Wei knelt to move before a wall painting. He liked the painting very much and cound not help touching it. He had dream of becoming an artist, but he was still uncertain if the upcoming college entrance examination would help him to realize the dream.

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Bernd Chang
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On June 6 in Hanyin, the 207 students of Puxi Middle School, accompanied by the school headmaster, walked to the examination room to warm up for the upcoming college entrance examination. Li Wei had to move two steps while others just moved one step. Li Wei tried hard and he did not want to lag behind.

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