A funeral procession was held on April 13 in Suzui Township of Huaian City in China’s Jiangsu Province for 16-year-old Tang Fuqin. The young girl lost her life while trying to save one of her classmates from drowning on April 11.
According to the Yangzi Evening News, the procession stretched as far as 100 meters and villagers both young and old alike took part alongside her classmates and teachers. Around a portrait of Tang were spread dozens of white paper flowers folded by her classmates to pay homage to the teen’s courageous act of sacrifice.
Tang’s diary revealed a dire situation in her childhood as her mother ran away when she was three months old. She was raised by her aunt for three years and then was taken to her grandfather’s home where she lived with him and her aunt while Tang’s father and brother worked as migrants in another city.
Villagers remarked that Tang was a very conscientious girl despite suffering through many hardships. In addition to taking care of her blind grandfather, she also helped neighbors take care of livestock and helped them out around their farm.
Standing in front of Tang’s portrait was an elderly woman who was crying heavily, holding on to the table with one hand and trying to express something with hand gestures. The woman was Tang’s neighbor, a 72-year-old blind and mute woman named Tang Chen. Because the woman’s children were also migrant workers who had to be in another city, Fuqin often helped the elderly woman with household chores.
According to an interpreter, the elderly woman was saying via sign language that “Fuqin looked after me as well as she did her grandfather. She helped me feed the pigs, cook, do laundry and wash my hair whenever she was available.”
During the procession two school girls continually knelt before Fuqin’s portrait. One of them was Tang Fang, the girl who Fuqin gave her life to rescue.
Reports say that at approximately 2 p.m. on the day of the incident, Tang Fang and fellow classmate Tang Lili went to catch snails in a near-by pond. As they were trying to walk from the pond to a near-by connected stream, they suddenly fell into a deep pit. When they began screaming for help. Fuqin was walking by the area and heard their cries. Without hesitation Fuqin jumped into the pond to pull them to the bank despite not being a strong swimmer. Fuqin succeeded in rescuing the girls but began to drown. Fang and Lili hastily sought aid for Fuqin. However, by the time help arrived Fuqin had stopped breathing.
Fuqin’s brother, Tang Chaozhu said, while grieving, that after receiving a phone call from a local villager, Chaozhu and his father rushed home only to find that villagers had already dressed her corpse.
Read original article in Chinese.