Wei Xiang and his mother.
A wheelchair-bound boy in remote northwest China, is close to being admitted to Tsinghua University in Beijing despite his physical disability.
Wei Xiang, 19, a native of Dingxi City, a poverty-stricken area in Gansu Province, hit the headlines when a local WeChat account posted an article seeking help Monday. Wei said he hoped Tsinghua would offer living space for him and his mother who will accompany him.
In the article, Wei described his illness and the hard life of his family. He suffers from a congenital disease of the spinal column. Despite three operations, his condition did not improve. He uses a wheelchair or a pair of crutches.
His father died of illness when Wei was just 7 years old. His mother, Xia Ruiyun, a nurse, took him to school and brought him back home every day from primary through middle schools.
Wei scored 648 points in this year's national college entrance exam and is among the top students in Gansu.
In his article, Wei said he was lucky to meet Tsinghua recruiters in Gansu and his university dream would come true. But due his physical needs require the care of a family member. He hoped Tsinghua would help provide a room for his mother and himself to live.
The university replied Tuesday. In its letter. the university's recruitment office congratulated Wei, welcomed him to the institution and praised him for his perseverance and diligence. Tsinghua said they were ready to help him and encouraged him do well in his studies and in his life ahead.
The annual recruitment of Chinese universities is well underway after 9.4 million students sat the world's largest exam June 7-9. About 3.7 million of them will be given the chance to continue their education.
Wei has applied to study science at Tsinghua.
"As I cannot move freely, I sit quietly most of the time, thinking. I especially love mathematics and physics," he said.
"Tsinghua University is world famous. It will be wonderful if I can continue my education there, a step closer to a research career," said the teenager.
Sheng Shulan, principal of the Dingxi No.1 Middle School where Wei studied, lavished praise on the boy. "He has the spirit of perseverance. He will accomplish whatever he wants to do."
"I am lucky. No one I meet discriminates against me or scorns me. Everyone helps me," said Wei. "Although I have problems with my body, I can still live a splendid life."
Liu Zhen, head of Tsinghua's recruitment office, said the university will provide all possible help to Wei and would never let an excellent student drop out for economic reasons.
Tsinghua will start a funding program to cover his living and education costs after Wei is officially enrolled.
Netizens were deeply moved by Wei's story and Tsinghua's response, appreciating the university's attitude toward the student.
"Tsinghua is worthy of its name. Every character (in the reply letter) is full of warmth," wrote netizen "heiyeshankangbazi" on Sina-Weibo.
"Really moved. The future will be better!" said another netizen.