Ma Xu

On Feb. 18 Ma Xu, one of China's first batch of female airborne soldiers who donated RMB 10 million for targeted poverty alleviation, was given an award as one of the "People Who Touched China in 2018."

Born in Mulan County, Heilongjiang Province in 1932, Ma Xu is a retired paratrooper formerly stationed in Huangpi District. Ma and her husband Yan Xueyong worked as military doctors. She noticed that airborne soldiers occasionally suffered from twisted ankles during their exercises. To find a solution,she became a paratrooper. She has parachuted over 140 times in the past two decades, a record yet to be broken. In 1983, Ma and her husband Yan developed an inflatable ankle protector, which can reduce the impact of parachute landings by half and effectively protect airborne soldiers from ankle sprains. They obtained a national patent in 1989, which is the first patent granted to Chinese airborne troops.

In 2018, Ma and her husband donated RMB 10 million to her hometown. Their generosity aroused wide attention. Ma and her husband gradually saved this huge amount during their lifetimes. Their shoes costs only RMB 15,and their duvet has holes in it. They even sold their apartment to raise money. Now, they live a simple life in an inconspicuous, small courtyard near the barracks. With their donation, Mulan County plans to build the Ma Xu Culture and Arts Center. This 3,000-square-meter public facility will begin construction in April, and it should be completed in October. This center will offer free painting, calligraphy, dance, and music lessons for 2,500 students.