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It Could Be You: Torchbearer Hopefuls Line Up
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The organizers of the Beijing Olympic Games have started recruiting 21,880 torchbearers for the torch relay, BOCOG announced last weekend.


Five percent are expected to be non-Chinese living on the mainland.


The following candidates have been recommended by Lenovo, one of the 11 Top Partners of the International Olympic Committee and one of the three sponsors for the torch relay. The candidates require BOCOG's approval before they are accepted.


Kong Xiangrui, worker


Kong Xiangrui works at Tianjin Port, where he is known as the "blue-collar expert."


Kong is responsible for more than 150 inventions over the past 34 years, generating 84 million yuan ($10.5 million) in profits for his company and netting him the national Blue-collar Expert Award.


During his five-hour journey to work, he always takes his books with him. He takes notes while he works, recording all the problems with the machines he uses and digging for ways to improve them. His notes have slowly accumulated into a database.


Some of his inventions are even promoted as standard equipment for workers in his field.


Wang Shunyou, postman


Wang Shunyou has delivered the mail in mountainous Muli Country for 20 years.


Wang calculates that in that time he has walked the equivalent of 6 1/2 world trips, or twice the distance of the Beijing Olympic torch relay route.


Muli, which sits on the outskirts of southern Tibet in Liangshan Prefecture, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, has an average altitude of about 3,100m. The area is pockmarked by valleys with scattered villages, making it impossible to deliver the mail by any means other than on foot.


When Wang's father retired in 1984, somebody had to fill his shoes.


The junior Wang says he delivers about 8,400 newspapers, 330 magazines, 840 letters and 600 packages a year. And he is never late.


Each trip takes him 14 days. Each year, he spends 330 days on the road and a measly 30 at home. In his career as a postman, he claims to have walked over 260,000 km.


Pu Cunxin, actor


Pu is a household name in China for his outstanding performances on stage and screen. In real life, he has been cast in the role of goodwill ambassador in various public service campaigns, such as China's campaign against AIDS.


The first person ever to play such a role in China's public health history, Pu was appointed to the post by the Ministry of Health in 2000 to increase public awareness about the growing epidemic.


With his strong sense of mission, Pu Cunxin set up a personal fund in 2001 to help children from affected families who face financial difficulties in going to school. Over 200 children have gained support from the fund, which Pu has invested over 1 million yuan in.


Pu is also involved in the fight against drugs, and gives regular blood donations.


Last year, he registered to be a volunteer for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.


Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo, figure skaters


As a world champion couple, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo lifted China's figure skating to the top of the world rankings.


Since teaming up 15 years ago, they have won three world championship titles, two Olympic bronze medals, and numerous Grand Slams.


After deciding to take a break from their sporting careers at the beginning of this year upon winning their third world title, they withdrew from all competitions and began running a club in Shenzhen to promote the sport in China.


The pair wed at the end of May.


(China Daily June 29, 2007) 

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