Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello Global Citizens: Inspirational Wu Qing

A smiling 77 year old unassuming Chinese woman walked into the room and declared in almost perfect English (definitely the best English we have heard since coming to China), "Hello Global Citizens."  Over the next hour, we had no idea what was in store for us as the inspirational woman, Wu Qing, took us through the emotional journey of telling the story of her life.  She is an amazing and compassionate woman who has been standing up for the rights of Chinese people for 40+ years and has travelled the world as a spokesperson for Women's rights everywhere.

Her path was already on a certain trajectory from birth as her parents were both part of the outspoken intellectual group of the 1920's that were outcast as "rightist" and were forced to step down from their teaching positions because they spoke out against the communist party during Mao Zedong's cultural revolution.  Her mother, Bixing was a writer who wrote about love and compassion and if you ask any Chinese person they would surely know who she is as they probably read many of her writings as a young child in school.  Her father was considered the father of sociology in China.

Wu Qing taught English at the university level for 40 years and was determined to follow the law in her daily life.  So, she memorized the constitution and eventually was elected to the Chinese congress.  Through this role she diligently held weekly meetings every Tuesday to hear the concerns of her constituents. She boldly voting against corrupt people and spoke out against corruption many times.  On multiple occasions she was "punished" for her outspokenness by not being allowed to leave the country for years at a time.  In 2011, the government employed many of it's members to launch a fear tactic campaign against her re-election and even intimidated her students that tried to vote for her anyway.  She lost the election that year and stepped down from her position.  Since then, she has opened a school in Champing helping teach younng girls and women from rural communities how to start their own businesses, other basic skills and helps them to live a life they can be proud of.  She has also travelled to Rowanda and other African countries to help women as well.

She drew the Chinese character for listen on a board for us and began to dissect the meaning of the individual parts of the word through her own interpretation.  She believes we should all listen to each other, even kings and political leaders, with the compassion of 15 hearts.  When we heard her speak, she spoke about the lack of love in the world and the need to educate today's youth to be global citizens. "Nationalism is dangerous and kills," she said.  By the end of our short visit with her, many of us were in treats and all of us were in awe.

If you'd like to read more about Wu Qing, please check out this article.

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