She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
The Working Committee on Women and Children.
She says: “My goal is to share happiness and woe with the common people and take their business as my own business”.
Xiaoxia Zhu – China
She works for the Working Committee on Women and Children, and for the Communist Party of China CPC, Xihua County Committee.
Zhu Xiaoxia has introduced scientific marital and family planning ideas into her work for women and children, and has tried to convince families that happiness does not only lie in having male children. She has appealed to the community to pay attention to the vulnerable sectors of the population and has called on local civil servants to help poor schoolchildren and Aids orphans by initiating various programs for them.
Zhu Xiaoxia was born at the end of the 1950s. She was sent to the rural areas as an educated rusticated youth during the Cultural Revolution. She became a worker after she returned to the city. Eager for knowledge she kept learning while she worked and obtained a master’s degree.
Zhu is currently a civil servant in the Working Committee on Women and Children of Xihua County, Zhoukou, Henan Province in China. She is a modest woman and she has undertaken grassroots work in difficult circumstances for a long time.
Zhu Xiaoxia was appointed deputy chief of Huaiyang County in Henan Province in 1997, responsible for family planning and sanitation.
Huaiyang County is a large agricultural county with a population over 1.2 million. It is proud of a long historical and cultural tradition.
However, it has a weak economic base and is designated as poverty stricken. Its family planning outcome ranked last in Zhoukou Municipality at that time. When Zhu took up office, she did not even give an inaugural speech, but went immediately to the villages to conduct investigations and to try to understand the realities. She did not think administrative measures or penalties imposed from above could be effective. Policies could take effect only when the people voluntarily accepted them.
Through detailed investigations and interviews among the masses, she discovered that one of the key reasons why family planning in the county lagged behind was because of the deep-rooted belief that happiness lay in having many sons, and girls could be discriminated against. She decided to set up a council of new marriage and birth according to New Thinking about Marriage and Birth in Huaiyang County.
She and her colleagues made efforts to propagandize scientific marital and family ideas about the importance of late marriage and late birth, birth health, and gender equality. She popularised knowledge about family planning and reproductive care and spread information about the importance of science and technology. She also guided the households to get richer by having fewer births and to increase the quality of family life.
Zhu and her colleagues went from house to house, explaining policies, providing data, and offering information. She called on the villagers to hold various learning activities.
Once, she heard that an old man, Zhang, had tried to hide his grand daughter because he wanted his daughter-in-law to give birth to a second child, a son. She paid many visits to Zhang, explaining the family planning policy and illustrating that girls are the same as boys and that girls can also carry on the ancestral line. She also mobilized villagers to collectively help Zhang to do farm work. Finally, he gave up the idea of having a grandson.
Under her leadership, the new outlook on marriage and birth quickly spread through the 509 villages in over 20 townships under the jurisdiction of Huaiyang County. In 2001, the county was rated as one of the nationwide model counties implementing the new idea on marriage and birth.
In June 2003, Zhu was made Chief of the Organization Department and Standing Committee Member of CPC Xihua County Committee in the hinterland of the usually flooded area of the Yellow River. There are two provincially designated villages with a high incidence of AIDS patients. She spent time learning about the situation of AIDS orphans in these villages.
There was a poor girl in one village. Her parents both died of AIDS. She lived with her old grandma. The heavy livelihood burden and psychological pressure made her feel ashamed to stay with her classmates though she was the beneficiary of an aid project and her tuition fees were waived. She attempted to quit school.
Zhu was very kind to the girl and started to help her with her schoolwork. She also bought new clothes and stationery for her. She told her, “child, you are young and you have a long way to go. You have to study hard and complete your schooling. I will stand with you no matter what difficulties you may face. I am your mother from now on ?” The girl returned to school.
Zhu has appealed to the community to pay attention to the vulnerable sectors of the population and called on local civil servants to each aid one poor school child and one AIDS orphan by initiating the Spring Buds Program and AIDS Orphan Care program. She and her colleagues visit the orphans and give them welfare bonuses each year. Over a period of time, and with the care of the community, the children have blossomed. (1000PeaceWomen).
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