A family, which many consider to be a warm harbor for its members, represents a tiny and basic "cell" of society. Society, like a community with a shared destiny, is composed of countless families. In Baodi, a district in North China's Tianjin Municipality, there is a family that practices the traditional virtues of maintaining harmony within the family, working diligently, and being honest and self-disciplined. The woman in that family, Zhang Guiyun, is department head of Baodi District's people's procuratorate. Her husband, Zhang Yongchun, is a lawyer. The couple hopes their family will always be "corruption-free, warm and energetic."
Zhang Guiyun was born into an ordinary peasants' family in the 1960s. She began working at Baodi District's people's procuratorate in 1989, after she graduated from Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Also that year, she met and fell in love with Zhang Yongchun, who was then serving in the army.
The young couple married near the end of 1990. Two years later, they had a lovely son. "When my husband was in the army, we wrote letters to each other to keep in contact. We understood each other, and we cared about each other. I fully supported my husband as he made his contributions to building our national defense. I never let him worry about our family chores," Zhang Guiyun recalls.
Given his wife's support, Zhang Yongchun was able to concentrate on training and fulfilling his missions in the army. He received several awards when he was in the army.
Zhang Yongchun retired from the army and transferred to civilian work near the end of 2004. He studied the law and he passed the National Judicial Examination, and that qualified him to receive a certificate that designated him a professional lawyer. Although Zhang Guiyun had a good network of human resources in Baodi, Zhang Yongchun did not ask his wife to help him find a job. Instead, he found a job in Beijing. The couple lived apart during the week, and they got together on weekends and holidays.
Zhang Guiyun says her parents taught her the importance of having good manners, and of shouldering one's family responsibilities, when she was a young girl. She has worked at the local people's procuratorate for nearly three decades. During the past 30 years, she has considered it her top mission to maintain justice and fairness in society.
She has read the materials about each case carefully, and she has tried her best to handle each case according to relevant regulations and laws. "I currently work as head of the juvenile delinquency procuratorial department. I have led my colleagues to perfect our work mechanism, improve crime prevention and provide help and education to minor offenders. I hope our work will give warmth to children and teenagers," she says.
Zhang Guiyun does not give her relatives a break if they violate the law. Seven years ago, one of her uncles quarreled with a person, and he beat that person. "My uncle visited my home late at night. He brought a lot of money to me and asked me to handle the dispute. I refused and told him he should give compensation to the victim and plead for the victim's family's understanding. My uncle was eventually put in prison. His family was mad at me. They even broke contact with me," she recalls.
Both Zhang Guiyun and Zhang Yongchun refuse to let their relatives, friends, former classmates and/or fellow comrades (in the army) affect their work. They insist on dealing with all cases strictly according to the law.
Some of their relatives and friends consider them iron-hearted, but their colleagues and neighbors know they are always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Zhang Yongchun is good at repairing electrical equipment. Whenever his neighbors have something that is broken, they ask Zhang Yongchun to try to fix it. Zhang Yongchun never turns down their requests. When their friends or neighbors have disputes within their families, the Zhangs mediate and help maintain harmony within the families. If a neighbor falls ill, but has no one at home, Zhang Yongchun will drive him/her to hospital.
"My mother once told me a neighbor nearby was better than a relative who lives far away. If we can help each other, we will be able to cope with any difficulty, and our hearts will be close to each other, in our community," Zhang Guiyun says.
"Be an honest person" is Zhang Guiyun and her husband's family's motto. Because she works at a procuratorate, Zhang Guiyun is grateful that she has many opportunities to enforce the law, care for others and make contributions to society. She is also grateful for her husband and family, who build a warm "harbor" and embrace her whenever she needs support.
"I will dedicate my whole life to practicing our family's motto. We will treasure our title as a 'five-virtues family,' and we will do our best to bring warmth to others in our society," Zhang Guiyun said during her speech during the award ceremony for the National Five-Virtues Families. The ceremony was hosted by the All-China Women's Federation in Beijing in late May.
(Source: Women of China English Monthly August 2018 issue)
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