SU MINGJUAN, who became an overnight sensation when she was a young girl because of a photo showing her studying in a cold and shabby classroom in her hometown in a poverty-stricken county in East China's Anhui province, was elected deputy secretary of the Anhui provincial committee of the Communist Youth League on Friday, provoking much comment. Guangming Daily commented on Tuesday:
In 1991, a photographer captured a full-face portrait of Su at the very moment she lifted her head and with her big eyes looking directly into the lens. It made the young girl seem to look directly into the hearts of anyone looking at the photo.
After the evocative black and white photo was published, Su became a celebrity and her life changed dramatically. She became an image ambassador for Project Hope, an influential education charity founded by the Communist Youth League and China Youth Development Foundation, which helped her to go to university, something that would otherwise have been very difficult given her impoverished family background at that time, and after graduating she got a job at a bank.
She has made good use of the charity's support to change her fate. She entered university and found the bank job through winning out in competitive exams. And the procedure of her being elected as the part-time deputy head of the Communist Youth League's provincial committee is also legal and transparent.
Moreover, she donated her 900 yuan ($136) allowance to the other poor students every semester at university, and has donated 1,000 yuan every year since leaving school to help poor students.
It is unfair to blame Su for making use of the attention bestowed on her to improve her life, and it is absurd to require poor students to always be humble and expect them to lead a hard life. Those who come from poor families have the same right as anyone else to pursue a better life through their own efforts and any luck that might come their way, just as Su has done.