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Heroism comes naturally to earthy policeman|
By Huang Zhiling and Yu Dou (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-05-06 10:24
Suicide bombers and wild flood waters may sound scary to some, but to Zheng Yun, they mean just another day at the office.
Zheng Yun (right) and his colleagues track a criminal suspect. [Courtesy of Zheng Yun]
On April 29, the deputy chief of the Yibin county public security bureau in Sichuan province, won national fame when he, together with 63 young people, received the China Youth May 4th Medal from the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China and the All-China Youth Federation in Beijing.
The medal, the highest-ranking honor for Chinese youth from the league and federation, commends young people who have distinguished themselves in their fields.
Zheng, 39, won the medal because of his wit and bravery in tracking down criminal suspects and ensuring public security in his home county of Yibin, Wang Demin, chief of the Yibin county information office, said.
The mention of Zheng's name reminds most people in Yibin of how he spent nine hours subduing a criminal suspect who was carrying 20 kg of explosives to save more than 3,000 teachers and students. Or maybe how he smashed a gang that had trafficked 15 women from Yunnan province to Yibin, or perhaps how he saved two young people stranded in floods.
On the morning of Feb 7, 2007, a man with a gun and 20 kg of explosives entered Quexi High School and took the students and teachers hostage, saying he would kill them all with his bomb.
The man, Hou Ziyun, said he wanted the police to help him find his wife, Yang Daomei, who had left home in 2005 and had never returned.
"It was the first time I faced a criminal suspect loaded down with explosives," Zhang said.
Because Hou graduated from the school, Zheng talked with him and told him it was unfair for him to take the students of his alma mater hostage. Moved by Zheng's sincerity, Hou set free the three students he had tied to some trees after talking for seven hours - on condition the Zheng become the hostage.
Fearing Hou would ignite the explosives, Zheng's superior decided to shoot the man if the standoff were not resolved by nightfall.
Zheng talked with him about the trouble he had created for his family and the school for more than two hours. Finally, Hou agreed to desert the explosives and was subdued by police.
On April 28, 2005, 15 women from Yunnan province were taken to Yibin and sold to local farmers as wives for between 8,000 and 14,000 yuan ($1,142 and 2,000).
After investigating the case for two days and searching farmhouses and nearly 20 hotels, Zheng identified Zhang Taiping, a local, as the mastermind.
Zheng stayed in the hotel for a whole day, eating instant noodles and drinking mineral water, waiting for the suspect to show his face. He and his fellow police captured Zhang when he returned in the wee hours the next day.
Zhang confessed his crimes, allowing police to rescue all the abducted women.
On the morning of July 18, 2007, Yibin was flooded because of excessive rain. Luo Jian, an 11-year-old, and Yang Xiaoyao, a 13-year-old, were stranded on a rock in a village because by the raging waters.
Zheng was having his breakfast at the time he heard about the stranded students, but he rushed to the scene and swam out to the rock after two rescue workers had failed to take them ashore. More than 1,000 onlookers applauded Zheng after the two boys were safe.
Zheng has received many honors, including the title of Sichuan's 10 excellent young people, last year. He feels indebted to his family for his heroism.
Zheng grew up in the countryside and underwent many hardships as a child. Because of poverty, he had to join the army when he graduated from junior high school even though he was a top student, Yu Borong, his former teacher, said.
"I am better off, but often feel sorry for not being able to care for my parents," Zheng said.
When he was ambushing Zhang Taiping in the hotel, Zheng's wife called him more than 10 times. But Zheng did not dare to answer the calls although he felt something might be wrong with his family.
"Later, I was told my father was seriously ill and wanted to see me," he said.
His father, wife and son support his work, despite the many hours he must spend outside of his home.
"My son is proud of me. He often tells friends his dad captures bad guys," Zheng said