China's Very Own SF Batkid? City Of Xinyu Stages Crime For Young Boy Diagnosed With Muscular Dystrophy

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Zou Junyi
Nine-year-old Zou Junyi solutes after helping rescue "hostages" in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province on January 11, 2013.

The story of San Francisco’s “Bat Kid" warmed the hearts of officials, volunteers and citizens who banded together to fulfill the dream of a young leukemia patient, Miles Scott, who wanted to become a superhero for a day. Thousands of miles away in China, a similar dream came true this past weekend for a young Chinese boy.

Officials in the southern city of Xinyu orchestrated an elaborate plan for a “hostage rescue” to help a 9-year-old boy named Zou Junyi live his dream of fighting crime as a police officer. Volunteers and police officials carefully planned a crime for wheelchair-bound Zou to help solve. Dressed in a full police uniform, Zou worked hand in hand with real police officers to take down two knife-wielding hostage takers in a shopping mall, securing the release of three “hostages” as onlookers cheered him on. A nearby billboard flashed his name, and proclaimed his excellence in the line of duty. Later, Yan Wenjing, the mayor of Xinyu, presented the boy with a medal. 

According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, Zou suffers from muscular dystrophy, leaving his legs paralyzed -- and his family struggling financially. Zou has reportedly been battling the disease for three years. With a combined monthly income of approximately 5,000 yuan, roughly $827, hospital expenses upwards of 600,000 yuan are draining the family’s resources.

After hearing about Zou late last year, city authorities announced on their official microblog accounts on Weibo that they would participate in staging a day of crime-fighting for the young boy. The plan drew an outpouring of generosity from fellow microbloggers, with nearly 300 people offering to help in an online campaign. Chen Qingmei, Zou Junyi’s mother, says the publicity has helped a tremendous amount, not only to lift her son’s spirits, but to help alleviate some of the hospital bills. Chen said people across the country were offering up monetary help for her son, with a big donation coming from a Chinese woman living in Korea, who donated 5,000 yuan. 

“When my legs get better, I want to be a police officer,” Zou said in the report. “It’s good to be a police officer because they can arrest bad guys.” Zou, who is currently in the fourth grade, has been able to maintain good grades in school, despite his disease. “I was happy that day,” Zou said, recalling the events of the weekend during a phone interview with the South China Morning Post on Monday. “The most exciting part was I got to be a riot police officer!”

Now that his dream of being a police officer for a day has been fulfilled, Zou Junyi looks onto his next goal, recovering from the disease: “And my third dream is to get a doctorate degree.”

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