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Chinese American Honored for Giving Life While Rescuing Sept. 11 Victims
At the start of this school year, students attending Guangzhou No. 1 Middle School received, along with their new textbooks, a request that they honor and remember a heroic member of the school's alumni, Zhe Zeng.

The name of this brave young Chinese American, also known as Zack Zheng, has gained popularity since last September 11 in his hometown of Guangzhou, a city in the south of China.

The Rochester MBA, who died a hero's death in the World Trade Center while saving others, would now be sitting safely in his Bank of New York office had he not decided to run to the scene of the World Trade Center on that fateful day.

On September 11, 2001, Zeng, the bank's project manager for American depositary receipts, discovered that the center blocks away from his bank was ablaze.

After calling his mother and girlfriend to assure them he was safe, Zeng, a certified emergency medical technician, plunged into the maelstrom of dust and ash.

Later he called his loved ones again, saying, "It's chaotic here. I'm going to rescue more people."

Those were the last words that Zeng spoke to his family. Zeng was placed on the missing persons list after the disaster. He was last seen in FOX TV footage, working over a prostrate body amidst the rubble of the center.

Part of the 28-year-old man's remains were recently retrieved from the collapsed center site and positive identification was established through DNA testing. His relatives, friends and other Chinese Americans have scheduled a memorial service in New York on Sept. 7.

On the other side of the Pacific, the people of Guangzhou are also honoring their courageous son.

Memorial services were held in Fengqing Shouyue Primary School and the No. 1 Middle School, Zeng's alma mater. The Local Education Bureau called on students to learn from his heroic example.

The students' union in the No. 1 Middle School has produced a biographical slide show including Zeng's heroic work depicted in the final footage in Fox news in his honor.

Former teachers in both schools still have fond memories of the generous boy.

Liang Yehua, one of his primary school teachers, says young Zeng was nicknamed "little monkey" at the time due to his physique and his intelligence. She remembers the little boy who helped vendors working at a nearby market to push heavy carts up steep slopes.

She says she was not surprised to learn that Zeng gave his life to save others, citing a Chinese saying, "A man will be what he is as a three-year-old child."

On several occasions, she had witnessed the boy helping a blind couple to cross the street not far from his home.

When Zeng's mother, a teacher at his school, was moving to another school, the principal requested that Zeng not transfer to another school, describing him as a "treasure" for the school.

At the No. 1 Middle School, Chen Jinhuan still has pottery artwork given to him as a gift by Zeng before he immigrated to the United States in 1988. Mr. Chen, who taught Zeng during his third year of middle school, recites the words inscribed on the artwork, "Healthy Forever."

Chen says he did not want to believe the smart and warm-hearted student was gone until today.

Headmaster Liao Xiaoxiang says he is really proud of such an alumni. "Zeng's act is of enormous courage," he says to his current students.

(People's Daily September 7, 2002)

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