A man of the people

Updated: 2014-03-04 08:51

By He Na (China Daily)

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A man of the people

School principal He Youlin, an NPC deputy visit with people to discuss their problems and get their suggestions. [Provided to China Daily]

As a deputy at the National People's Congress, He Youlin has handed in more than 40 proposals to the annual two sessions during the past six years, all of them related to livelihood issues.

His public work has seen He, the principal of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Middle School in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, gain the nickname You Min Ge, meaning a man who worries about people's lives.

He likes the nickname so much that he adopted it as his username for his account on WeChat, a popular mobile-messaging application.

He spends almost all of his free time visiting people, discussing their problems and noting their suggestions. Even during his work at the school, he talks with students, parents and the other teachers.

This method of engagement led him to become involved with couples who lost their only child through illness or accident and who are too old to conceive again.

"The deeper my research went and the more people I visited, the more urgently I felt it was essential to relaxing China's decades-old family planning policy and allow more couples to have a second child.

It's really hard to describe how I felt when I heard that the government had changed the policy. I remember that I held my breath for a moment and then exhaled deeply. The good news has taken a load off my mind, and I feel that success from the bottom of my heart. It's very exciting," he said.

"I've received letters and e-mails from some of the families I interviewed, and also from some netizens, all expressing their gratitude. Some people even traveled quite long distances to thank me in person. That sort of response makes all the effort worthwhile."