First-generation Chinese female paratrooper donates entire life savings of HK$11m to hometown, shocks bank staff with humble attire


15th September 2023 – (Wuhan) In mainland China, an octogenarian woman wearing a pair of 15 Chinese yuan shoes (approximately 16 Hong Kong dollars) went to a bank to transfer 3 million Chinese yuan (approximately 3.24 million Hong Kong dollars). However, upon seeing the large amount, the bank staff became concerned that the elderly woman might be a victim of fraud and decided to alert the authorities. Little did they know, the shocking truth behind the woman’s identity was about to be revealed. It turns out she is a veteran of the first generation of female paratroopers in mainland China, and her intention was to donate her entire life savings of 10 million Chinese yuan (approximately 11 million Hong Kong dollars) to her hometown.

This incident sparked a heated discussion among netizens, who praised the elderly woman’s selfless spirit. Comments such as “True selflessness exists in this world,” “Detachment from desires is an achievement, and they have accomplished it. Respect,” and “This is more deserving of admiration and likability than celebrities and internet personalities” flooded online platforms.

According to reports from mainland Chinese media, the octogenarian woman, named Ma Xu, resides in Huangpi, Wuhan. She planned to donate a total of 10 million Chinese yuan to Mulan County in Heilongjiang Province, her hometown, in two installments. In September 2018, she and her husband visited a local bank to initiate the transfer of the first 3 million Chinese yuan. However, due to the large amount involved and Ma Xu’s attire consisting of the inexpensive shoes and a military green camouflage outfit, the bank staff became concerned that she might be deceived and decided to report the matter to the police.

When the police arrived, Ma Xu insisted that she hadn’t been deceived and expressed her determination to donate her life savings of 10 million Chinese yuan in two instalments to her hometown for education and public welfare purposes. She explained, “We have already donated. When I was young, I grew up thanks to the support of my fellow villagers. Now, we are content with our lives, and we have always wanted to do something for our hometown.” During the questioning, the astonishing identities of Ma Xu and her husband, Yan Xueyong, were revealed. Ma Xu is a first-generation female paratrooper in mainland China, having participated in the Liberation War and the Korean War, with over 140 parachute jumps. Her husband, Yan Xueyong, is also a retired officer from the military.

In the end, Ma Xu fulfilled her wish by donating her entire life savings of 10 million Chinese yuan in September 2018 and April 2019, in two instalments. She emphasised the importance of not forgetting one’s roots, saying, “We can’t forget our origins. I was able to grow up and join the military because of the help from my hometown and its people. I can’t forget every blade of grass and every tree in my hometown.”

It was reported that Ma Xu and her husband live a frugal life, residing in a brick house with several worn-out pieces of furniture. They share a flip phone that is over a decade old, and Ma Xu’s shoes are worth only 15 Chinese yuan. How did they manage to accumulate 10 million Chinese yuan? It turns out that when they were young, they devoted themselves to scientific research and combined their parachute experience to invent the “inflatable ankle protector” and the “individual high-altitude oxygen supply vest” to reduce the chance of soldiers getting injured. These two patented products have been widely used in the military. With their increased involvement in research work and the transfer of some patents for profit, coupled with their frugal lifestyle, they eventually accumulated 10 million Chinese yuan.

Ma Xu’s story has garnered widespread attention and praise from netizens, who admire her selfless dedication. Comments such as “True selflessness exists in this world,” “Truly inspiring,” “Respect to Ma Xu, the first-generation female paratrooper,” “The devotion of these retired soldiers is truly moving,” “Detachment from desires is an achievement, and they have accomplished it. Respect,” and “I hope the donated money will be used where it is truly needed. May you both enjoy health and longevity” flooded social media platforms.