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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: September 16, 2008 No.38 SEPT.18, 2008

Flame Lighter Moves the World

When Hou Bin pulled himself up 60 meters from the ground in his wheelchair to light the cauldron of the 13th Paralympic Games in Beijing on September 6, the one-legged high jumper became a national hero for the willpower he showed.

The 33-year-old, who lost his left leg in a train accident at nine, had however gained worldwide fame as an outstanding sportsman long before this. Hou made his international competition debut with a gold medal at the 1994 Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled, only one year after the inception of his high jump career.

From 1996 through 2004, he won three successive Paralympic high jump championships in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens. His 1.92-meter record in the Category F42 high jump has stood for 12 years.

Though he was unable to defend his title this year because the event was scrapped from the Beijing Paralympics due to a shortage of qualified athletes, Hou wasn't discouraged. "There are a lot of things that I can do for the Paralympic Movement. For example, I can take younger athletes to participate in the next Games," he told reporters before the Games.

In January, Hou was appointed the first International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ambassador when the organization launched the IPC Ambassador Program in the hopes of promoting the spirit of the Paralympics to the public and encouraging the future Paralympians to strive for excellence.

Ex Mayor Gets Top ADB Post

A Harvard-educated master of public administration, Zheng Liping, has become the first Chinese local government official to assume the highest-level technical post at the Manila-headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The former mayor of Yunfu City, south China's Guangdong Province, is now principal urban development specialist in the ADB's Central and West Asia Department. His duties include overseeing the development and formulation of urban sector policy, strategies and programs to promote sustainable urban development and urban environmental improvement in 10 countries in the region, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.

Zheng, 47, was appointed Yunfu's mayor in June 1999 and was promoted to secretary of the local committee of the Communist Party of China, the top leadership post, in June 2004. During his tenure, Yunfu became the fastest-growing region in Guangdong. The city also led the country in launching rural medical insurance programs, fiscal and taxation system reform and several other initiatives to improve public affairs management.

Math Genius Aims High

Thirteen-year-old Zhang Xinyang is a record holder in China's education sector. He is now the country's youngest Master's degree candidate, majoring in mathematics at the Beijing University of Technology. Also the youngest recorded university recruit in China to date, he was enlisted by the Tianjin University of Technology and Education in 2005 at 10.

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