Mon, July 16, 2012
Lifestyle > Society

University president’s high-profile return to hometown

2012-07-16 06:23:07 GMT2012-07-16 14:23:07(Beijing Time)  SINA English

Zhou Qifeng knelt down before his ageing mother on the occasion of her 90th birthday.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

Zhou Qifeng knelt down before his ageing mother on the occasion of her 90th birthday.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

Zhou Qifeng knelt down before his ageing mother on the occasion of her 90th birthday.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

The 90-year-old mother burst into tears as her son hugged her firmly.(Photo/China Daily)

Zhou Qifeng knelt down before his ageing mother on the occasion of her 90th birthday.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

Zhou and his old mum received gifts during the celebration.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

By Ma Qian

To the surprise of the locals, Zhou Qifeng, President of China’s prestigious Peking University, turned up Friday at his hometown, Shangbu village in southern Hunan Province, to celebrate his mother's 90th birthday. Zhou knelt down in front of his mother, and the two hugged bursting into tears.

Zhou's mother brought him and his three brothers up on her own, as his father died when he was very young. As the Shanghai Daily reports, once, Zhou returned home from school to find his mother severely ill. His younger brother blamed him for his mother's illness, saying she had fallen sick because of his school fees. Zhou ran out into the woods crying, and was only found much later by a search team of villagers who lit their torches and clanged cymbals at the request of his mother.

Zhou Jirui, the village head, said he will remember the scene for as long as he lives. "He knelt in front of his mother for a full 10 minutes," he said. "Many of the villagers there could not help shedding tears at this moving scene."

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