China Today Observation

Establishment of National Volunteer Day Is Proposed

By staff reporter ZHANG HONG

NPC deputy Qiu Shanshan, who is a PLA officer from the Chengdu Military Area Command, tells China Today that her proposal is to dedicate March 5 as the National Volunteer Day, and the first week of March as the Volunteer Week. The aim is geared toward promoting the volunteer spirit and the Chinese traditional virtue of helping people in need through good will.

“A civilized society is made up of people with strong ethics and social conscience, we should start by cultivating a public awareness for those that exemplify these virtues, and the contributions they have made to our society,” comments Qiu.

After the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008, thousands of volunteers plunged into relief work within days, sparing no effort in their dedication to help those in need.

Volunteerism is not new in China. Since 1963 March 5 has become the day for the nation to “learn from Lei Feng,” a PLA soldier who was always ready to help others in his life of 22 years. On that day young adults and students are organized to do voluntary work for the public welfare. Qiu believes such activities should take on more dimensions, involve a greater participation and go beyond one day a year.

Coincidentally Deng Yaping, a CPPCC delegate and deputy secretary of the China Communist Youth League Beijing Committee, has also presented a proposal regarding volunteers, calling for public support and attention for them.

Deng says that after 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, her committee made a report on the volunteer services during the games and promoted Beijing’s volunteer service model to the world with the help of the United Nations.

Beijing leads China in volunteer work. The city has established the Beijing Volunteer Federation (BVF), which has about 390 groups as its registered members and over two million registered members.

Deng points out: “We have to create proper rules and regulations to guarantee the rights and interests of our selfless volunteers, as well as to offer them certain material support.”

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