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China: Around The Nation

Chinese widow cares for disabled neighbour for over three decades

Widow Wu Yuxia has cared for her deaf and blind neighbour for three decades and says she does not regret a day of it

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 10:29am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 April, 2018, 6:02pm

Wu Yuxia might not be the richest woman in China, but she could well be one of the kindest.

For more than three decades, the 60-year-old from Dangui in southwestern Sichuan province has provided round-the-clock care to her severely disabled neighbour, Liu Siqiang, the news website Thecover.cn reported.

Liu, now 56, lost his mother at the age of six and his father at 10. While still a teenager he contracted a disease that left him blind and deaf, and although he came from a large family, he was left alone when his older brother died and his three sisters got married and moved away, the report said.

Realising Liu needed someone to care for him, Wu took him under her wing.

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“We were poor at the time, but his house nearby was just a few mud rooms,” she was quoted as saying.

For about 20 years, Wu cared for Liu in his own home, but about 10 years ago, she and her husband built a small extension to their own humble property so he could move in with them.

It was “fate”, she said.

At that time, Wu was also caring for her own three children and two of their grandparents. Her husband was the family bread-winner, but after he died she was forced to shoulder that burden, too.

The report said she worked four or five days a month as a labourer to earn a little extra cash to cover her and Liu’s living costs.

The widow was quoted as saying that although she has not had a decent night’s sleep for years, or had the chance to visit her relatives who live in other parts of the country, she does not regret a thing.

She said she even switched bedrooms so she could closer to Liu when he needed her.

“I get up every night at 2am and 5am to help him go to the toilet and give him water,” she said.

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The authorities in Dangui acknowledged Wu’s work last year and agreed to pay her a subsidy for looking after Liu, so she no longer has to work.

The town’s mayor, Ding Ruizan, was quoted as saying that if Wu ever became incapable of looking after Liu, the government would find someone else to take over.

“While it may not be the same as the care Wu has given Liu for the past 30 years, we will guarantee him a decent life,” he said.