84-year-old woman only Chinese to be elected 12 times

Beijing, Jan 30 (IANS) An 84-year-old Chinese woman Wednesday became the only person in the country to be elected a record 12 consecutive times as member of the National People's Congress (NPC) or parliament.

Shen Jilan from north China's Shanxi province was elected deputy to the 12th NPC, the country's top legislature, Xinhua reported.

She and 69 other delegates were chosen at the first session of the 12th Shanxi Provincial People's Congress, the local legislature.

Born in Shanxi's Pingshun county in 1929, Shen was first elected as an NPC deputy in 1954.

She also held the status of a national model worker from 1952 to 1996.

In the early 1950s at the age of 25, Shen broke a millennia-old convention by pushing for equality of pay for women, although she found it hard to communicate her concerns to the country's leaders at the time.

"My heart just beat like a drum when I sat there," Shen recalled of her early experiences as an NPC deputy.

"Imagine, I was just one of the few 147 female deputies to the then about 1,200-member Congress, everything was fresh to me," she said.

Shen met Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1954, fulfilling the biggest dream for Chinese people at that time.

Over the years, Shen has put forward many proposals related to agriculture, water conservation and tree planting.

Asked about the reasons for her political success, she said: "I'm just a farmer. Whether I'm selected or not depends entirely on others. What I think about most is how to accomplish my work."

Shen has her own understanding of what it means to perform in the role.

"I will be down-to-earth and work for the best interests of the masses, follow the guidelines of the party and fulfil my duty as a competent NPC deputy," she said.

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