Former professor who gave 2m yuan financial aid to students dies

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More than 1,000 people took part in the funeral of Fang Jing, the national model of ethical behavior, at Renzhuang village in Songzhuang township of Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu province, on Oct 30.

A file photo of Fang Jing. [Photo/Web]

Fang Jing, 88, who was named as the national model of ethical behavior last year for his continuous financial support to poor students in the past two decades, died of health complications on Oct 26.

Fang retired as professor from the East China Normal University in Shanghai in 1991, and he decided to return to his hometown Renzhuang village in 1998.

Fang Yaping, the elder son of Fang, said his father decided to help poor students not out of sudden impulse, but he hoped to change the impoverished and underdeveloped hometown through education.

"Father said the money should be used for education. His money in Shanghai might be not so much, but it could be used for many things in rural areas," Fang Yaping said.

Though family members did not agree with the decision at the time, but Fang's determination finally gained their support. His decision was not even understood by many local villagers at the time.

The former Party chief of the village Xiang Hengzhu said that when Fang's family arrived at the village, some villagers thought the professor was foolish to leave the better life of city to move to the rural area and he might have other purposes to support students.

Instead of answering them back he used his behavior to change their mind. During the past two decades, he spent some 2 million yuan ($289,500) to support more than 200 students to study in universities.

He also taught villagers calligraphy and led others to clean streets.

Every villager now praises Fang. He lived a frugal life there.

Xie Gang, a student of Fang, said that the teacher lived a simple life there, and though he loved drinking but he only bought the cheap alcohol that was 5 yuan a bottle.

Qi Hongsheng, a resident in Songzhuang, said that Fang had offered more than 100,000 yuan to support his three children to go to universities. "Fang offered my elder daughter 10,000 yuan a year to support her university studies in four years."

Zheng Yuliang, who received aid from Fang, said that "Fang taught us to be a good person and help the society."

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