|People gather on the banks of the Pearl River in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Monday, to pay tribute to Zheng Yilong, who was swept away by currents after rescuing a drowning man on Friday. [Zou Zhongpin/China Daily]|
Residents from every corner of the Guangdong provincial capital arrived on the northern bank of the Pearl River on Monday, flowers in hand, to pray for a miracle for an armed police officer who was washed away while rescuing a drowning man.
The body of Zheng Yilong, the heroic armed police officer, was discovered at around 8 pm on Monday and was being retrieved by press time, according to Nanfang Daily.
Zheng, deputy political instructor of the Haizhu district detachment of the Guangzhou Armed Police Force, was driving his father-in-law to the doctor at about 2 pm on Friday when he saw that Chen Yongbiao, 33, had fallen into the Pearl River.
Zheng quickly took off his police uniform and jumped into the river to rescue Chen. With the help of people on the riverbank, Chen was rescued, but the hero was washed away by the torrent.
Zheng's car is still parked at the hospital.
An Xiaoping, a Guangzhou retiree, brought Zheng's portrait in a photo frame to the scene and prayed for him. An said she clipped the portrait from a newspaper.
"Please swim back, hero! I want to sing with you!" she shouted to the Pearl River.
He Jingxun, a local laid-off worker, also repeatedly called Zheng's name at the scene on Monday.
"Zheng is a hero and a model for our society, whereas many young people have lost some of the Chinese virtues as they seek too much in the material life," he said.
"Young people should learn from Zheng, because his spirit of selflessness deserves to be honored."
"Society has become increasingly commercialized. It needs more people like Zheng to help raise people's awareness of their duty to help others," he added.
Two teachers and more than 10 students from the Guangdong Commercial School also brought flowers to the scene on Monday.
Zheng's wife, Pang Hongyu, a schoolteacher, told local media "Zheng was an honest man who was always ready to help others, and I am proud of him".
Zheng, was born in January 1979 in Chaoyang, Guangdong province and joined the police force in 1997.
He married Pang two years ago, and they have a 10-month-old son.
Liang Yang, a colleague of Zheng's for more than four years, said Zheng is hardworking and always treats co-workers like brothers.
"When I fell ill and had to stay in the hospital in 2010, Zheng always cooked soup and brought it to the hospital for me," Liang recalled.
"Through Zheng's efforts, our group has been selected as an excellent detachment for several years," Liang said.
Guo Qiang, another colleague of Zheng's, said he always makes himself an example when mentoring new officers.
"Zheng is like an older brother who always looks after us," Guo said.
Xie Xiaodan, director of the Guangzhou Bureau of Public Security, visited Zheng's parents over the weekend, on behalf of Guangzhou Party chief Wan Qingliang and Mayor Chen Jianhua.
Xie praised Zheng's heroism.
"We are proud of his heroic act, which is a model for all citizens. His spirit of trying to save others at the cost of his own life will not be forgotten by residents of Guangzhou," Xie said.
Bikini-clad models sparked a debate on racism
Young candidates for Acting Department of BFA
BFA releases list of re-examination
Alarming water pollution in China
Chilly run gets blood pumping
Photo story:Arriving in Beijing
China's 'leftover women' arouses debate in West
Top 10 fascinating natural phenomena in the world
Street propaganda on environmental protection