A technician (second left) explains how to operate a tractor to Chen Guihua (second right), her younger son Li Junwei (left) and David Bowers, an Australian working in China, at Chen’s home in Suiping, Henan province, on Monday. Bowers donated the tractor to Chen's family. [China Daily]
An Australian man was so moved by a news report on a woman struggling to get by after her husband drowned rescuing people from a river that he donated a tractor to her.
David Bowers read in a China Daily report on Feb 1 about Li Guoxi, 58, a villager in Suiping county, Henan province, who died saving a mother and two children from a cold river in late January. Li's wife, Chen Guihua, 55, was having difficulty making ends meet, the report said.
Chen said she could earn about 4,000 ($635) a year by selling crops she grew, but that it wasn't enough. She relied on her two adult sons to support her.
Bowers, who works for an Australian construction company on a job in Beijing, wanted to help, and he contacted the reporter.
"I'm not wealthy," he said. "I just want to show my respect for the man. He saved three lives - not all of us could do that."
"I want to buy something for the family, not give them money directly, because after a while it would be gone without a lasting effect," he said. "I want give them something that would remain, even after three or five years."
The family needed a new tractor, said Li Junyang, Chen's older son.
Bowers was told originally that the price of the tractor would be 6,000 yuan, but further investigation showed the real cost would be at least 10,000 yuan.
YTO Group, one of China's biggest tractor manufacturers, agreed to sell one of its most advanced tractors, valued at 30,000 yuan, for 6,000 yuan.
Chen Lin, director of a YTO assembly factory, said that in addition to lowering the cost of the tractor, YTO would donate a plough to the family that could be attached to the back. The company also threw in a protective cover to shield the farm vehicle from snow and rain.
YTO was touched by the Australian's gesture. .
"We're so moved by Bowers' kind heart. He is a foreigner and had no connection with Li Guoxi," Chen Lin said. "We are glad that our company could be part of this 'kind heart relay' and help the wife of the late hero."
Bowers said two of his American colleagues in Beijing, Heather and David Coop, donated 1,500 yuan to the family. With 500 yuan of the money, he bought a quilt, a coat, a pair of shoes, and some apples. The remaining 1,000 yuan was directly given to Chen Guihua.
Chen Guihua said she was surprised that her husband's bravery was known to foreign people and she was thankful for their kindness.
"Helping others is the traditional virtue of our country, and I am proud that my husband died a heroic death," She said. "Thanks for this kind-hearted Australian person."
Li Junwei, 30, the family's younger son who worked on their 0.8 hectare of farmland, said the tractor will make the work more efficient.
He has taken Bowers' suggestion to help his neighbors with the tractor, too, saying that his father's brave deed will encourage him to help the others.
Hu Jinshan, director of the Suiping county publicity department, said that Bowers' donation had greatly impressed him.
"David Bowers is a foreign Lei Feng (a Chinese moral model) who is serving the people wholeheartedly," he said. "Love is a universal value that transcends borders and races."
Zhang Leilong, Jiao Hongchang and Ma Shouguo in Zhengzhou contributed to this story.