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1 in 5 Chinese Students in Financial Difficulties

One in five of China's 240 million students have financial difficulties, said former vice educational minister Zhang Baoqing.

"Though the government has adopted various measures to support poor students, all social organizations should offer helpful hands," said Zhang, president of the China Education Development Foundation (CEDF), at a donation ceremony.

The plan, recently launched by the CEDF, includes a donation of 200 million exercise books worth 60 million yuan (US$7.7 million) by the Maxleaf, a paper production company based in central China's Wuhan, to primary and middle schools across the country via the CEDF between 2007 and 2011.

The first batch of 12 million exercise books have already been transported to northwest China's Ningxia and Qinghai, according to the CEDF.

"To help poor students is to support the future of the students, their family and the nation," said Zhang, the leading promoter of the student loan policy, who spared no efforts calling for local governments and enterprises to offer support to poor students during his ministerial tenure between 2003 and 2005.

"It's not only about money, but responsibility and morality as well," he said.

Zhang Baoqing retired from his vice ministerial post at the age of 61.

(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2007)

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