Li Tete, a strong-willed woman, possesses the courage and wisdom of the first-generation leaders of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Her conviction that the revolution is not complete if there is still poverty, has let her to commit herself to poverty alleviation in China, helping people in poor districts and especially the rural regions. Her contributions here have been widely recognized and appreciated by government and ordinary people.
Li Tete was born in France. Her father was a proletarian revolutionary and former vice-premier in the State Council. Her mother was a pioneer of China’s modern women’s movement, and former vice-chairperson of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, and the former president of the All China Women’s Federation. In 1960s and 1970s, Li visited the nuclear experiment base in West China, passing Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces on her way. Along the railway, nothing existed except yellow soil. The houses of peasants had only some worn-out quilts and broken tile jars. The villagers were all in shabby clothes and had little to eat. Li was very sad to see this. She said, “I do not think our revolution is thorough enough. Socialism should guarantee basic living conditions.” And “I am the offspring of revolutionaries, and we are obliged to accomplish the cause that our predecessors left us. Poverty alleviation is the best way for us to continue with the revolution.” For these 14 years, she has visited dozens of provincial districts in the country. She changed the poverty alleviation method from “blood-transfusion” into “blood-forming”, that is, to encourage people in poor areas to get rid of poverty by using their own strengths. She suggests that intellectual training and education should be the most important for poverty alleviation, thus emphasizing the training of teachers and establishing a remote education network, so as to foster various skills. Li has devoted all her heart to poverty alleviation. She has managed to get donations and subsidies of 16 million yuan, freeing tens of thousands of people from poverty.