Pedicab Driver Who Donated Earnings to Poor Students Honored

Chinese pedicap driver Bai Fangli, spent 10 years of his life earning money to put poor children through school.

From CCTV’s Sina Weibo account:

Today, we pay tribute to an elderly man! Repost!

At the age of 74, he decided to work as a pedicab driver to financially support impoverished students, and once he started, it lasted more than ten years. With 350,000 yuan, he realized the dream of attending school for more than 300 poor students. One winter, he handed 500 yuan he kept in a lunch box to a teacher: “I am getting too old for this, and might not be able to donate anymore. This is the last of my money.” [悲伤] He is Bai Fangli. Bai Fangli died at the age of 92. Today [June 17th] is his birthday, salute!

Comments from Sina Weibo:


When he [Bai Fangli] was alive, you [CCTV] seldom reported about his touching deeds. For your “Touching China” awards you preferred to give honors to some leader’s stupid wife, to an ordinary government official, to specchlessly some general’s wife, but all along refused to them to a truly selfless Chinese old man! Now that the old man has died, you commemorate his birthday and celebrate his anniversary!? For whom are you putting on this hypocritical “show?”


Dignified CCTV, what is the purpose of sharing this post??? Is it to set a good example? Is it so that everyone can learn from this elderly man??? [Bai Fangli] was a great and noble man. But what are our party and state doing? Isn’t allowing poor students to get schooling the task of the party and government?? Why are they using this to shift responsibility [from the party and the state to the common people]? Amid all the praise for Bai Fangli, why is no one questioning the inaction of the party and state [to deal with this problem]?


“I touched the whole of China, but was unable to touch the jury of ‘Touching China’”.


CCTV, you have the face to say this? Bai Fangli was twice among the nominated candidates for CCTV’s “Touching China” awards, but was not selected on either occasions. In 2004 Bai Fangli ranked third in the online voting, after Liu Xiang and Ren Zhangxia, but was ultimately eliminated by the judging committee. After his death in 2005, he was nominated again in that year’s “Touching China”, but, once again, was not chosen. Not until 2008 was he given a so-called “Special Award”.


In 2004 Bai Fangli lost to Liu Xiang and others. In 2005, he lost to “Space Hero” Fei Junlong and others. Admittedly, “Touching China” paid a tribute to him in 2012 and granted him formal recognition, but back in 2004 how did Liu Xiang “touch” China more than Bai Fangli? “Touching China” – the more touching the story is, the more shamed they [referring to Chinese government] are. [That is because] touching stories expose the cruel facts of holes in the system and shortcomings in social security. [Bai Fangli] touched everyone’s hearts, but he couldn’t touch CCTV, and this is what “Touching China” is like.


An old man doing the government’s job, is a slap to whose face?


CCTV dares to post this? Everyone says that students are the country’s future. [China is] a great country, and yet its future [referring to the students] relies on financial support from the elderly? And yet you have the face to post this? Isn’t it your job [to ensure that poor students can go to school]? And in such a large country, there are so many kids who cannot [afford to] go to school, shouldn’t you [referring to CCTV] reflect on this?! Really?!


You have the nerve to post this? CCTV, are you not ashamed? Why wasn’t this elderly man awarded as one of the “10 great people who touched China”??? It’s just because he doesn’t have a wire-puller [as opposed to other powerful candidates who received awards] or some other reason? I had seen this old man’s touching deeds even before [the awards show], and I was outraged by this injustice. There are so many corrupt officials in China, and compared to the deeds of this old man, the impression we are left with is that the government is incompetent! Corrupt!!!


Hehe, back then wasn’t your show “Touching China” unwilling to award this man?


There will always be common yet extraordinary people to remind us that there is still conscience in our society.

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  • Donald Med

    This old man didn’t have enough money to donate to poor students. Maybe CCTV couldn’t credit him until after his death because the story is fake.

    • bang2tang


    • narsfweasels

      You mean like Lei Feng?

      • Donald Med


    • David

      Yes, I am sure it is all the Chinese commentators who are in the wrong here and not the government run CCTV. Go back under your bridge.

  • Markus Peg

    I understand the Chinese anger in the above comments. It is good that they are writing to defend something they believe in. As long as the people know his deeds that is a good start.
    I was also in place to get an award, but some rich guy just donated millions and got it… It hurt and knocked me back, but i have not given up, sure the award, recognition and a green card help but at the end of the day that isn’t what its all about. He has a statue at the university, i would say that is a win.

  • Science Patrol

    Why donate earrings?

    • donscarletti

      To look cool on campus. Dah.

  • mr.wiener

    There should be more people like this… everywhere.

    • …but there are not

      • Jay K.

        Confucius say what?

    • done

      No, Chinese education is crap and there shouldn’t be people paying for it. That would be ignorance. You should get paid attending that crap.

  • Boris

    I can understand the anger. The old man’s story is more touching than some sports guy or some man sent into space. He did things for the people while the other just gave ‘face’ to their government.

  • Surfeit

    Mad props to the old timer. I envy his fortitude.

  • Dr Sun

    Oh another post the China hater posters on here will not like, I guess they will try and twist it to the negative in some way.

    • donscarletti

      I sense the consesis, even that of the “fuck China” lobby, will be along the same lines as the Chinese netizens with this story.

      I’m finding it hard to think of a way of anyone to not respect this guy, no matter how anti-chinese they are.

      Still, unless I am lucky enough to live to 90 or am at some point wounded and bloody on the street, I cannot imagine any situation that I would find it seemly to be peddled around by an 80 year old. I regret not being able to support such people’s livelyhoods, but I have my own sense of decorum. I am glad others felt differently in this case however.

      I also hope the money he raised was spent frugally and wisely by appreciating students.

    • Don’t Believe the Hype

      dude, take it easy, not everyone is a china hater.

  • Don’t Believe the Hype

    It is the Chinese netizens you should be paying attention to, not the ChinaSmack community. There are fewer and fewer people who trust CCTV to be objective, it has lost much of its credibility. Whether this person did or did not exist never came up and has no bearing on this discussion.

    And btw, the Chinese netizens sound pretty pessimistic themselves, maybe you should be angry with them instead

  • Eileithyia

    nobody takes CCTV news seriously. They made up news and report wrong facts.

  • whuddyasack

    R.I.P. to a good man and a modern day hero who has touched the lives of so many. A much needed role model in a country where there are so few.

    • Dr Sun

      A good guy, to be sure, like most common Chinese are.

      • whuddyasack

        Thank you. I agree that good people like this always get zero recognition. Look at this post and the one with the little boy. Hardly any comments. Not even a salutation or an R.I.P. Paul Walker received far more comments for simply being an actor and you know what. People focus on the bad all the time. In my experience, most common Chinese ARE good people, better than most. Yet it’s also true that they more of them need to speak up more, to act and extend their care beyond family members and friends. That’s in their own words.

        • Markoff
          • whuddyasack

            True, but people weren’t talking about philanthropy on the article regarding Paul Walker’s death. In this article, an old pedicab driver spent the remainder of his life dedicating his earnings to help the impoverished in China.

            So many comment on the fact that Chinese don’t care about one another or that philanthropy doesn’t exist in China. They claim to criticize because they care. Why is it then that when one humble man has touched China’s neediest and most vulnerable, they can’t even be bothered to type three letters? R.I.P., a simple acknowledgement and support for the type of people China needs more of. That’s all.

          • Markoff

            1 out of million is not rule, but exception, so it doesn’t contradict that majority of Chinese are self-centered selfish beings

          • Kai

            Saying the “majority of Chinese are self-centered, selfish beings” is as stupid as saying “Chinese are good people, better than most.”

            You guys are way too eager to generalize.

  • Markoff

    350K RMB earned by pedicab driver in 10 years? somehow I find it hard to believe, that makes like 3K per month without spending any money and before 2005 when 3K was very different money than in 2014

    on wikipedia page they write he was doing it actually 14 years, but still 350K RMB saved between 1987-2001 by pedicab driver in Tianjin is very hard to believe