A 22-year-old disabled student and his father "graduated" together from Henan University of Science and Technology in Luoyang, Central China's Henan province. His devotion to his filial duties, a core value in China, motivated graduates when graduation season got underway in June.
Zhao Delong, the student, received a diploma and a degree certificate at the graduation ceremony on June 15. Meanwhile, Zhao Hankun, 71, his father, was also honored with a "diploma" and a "degree certificate" not for academics but for having a devoted son and for his healthy and long life.
"It is a big surprise, indeed. I still remember warmly the moment when I said, 'Dad, we graduated together'," Zhao told China Daily in his hometown in Lingbao county of Sanmenxia, Henan province.
Zhao has already found a job in a foundry company in Liyang, Jiangsu province.
"The company has allowed me to take my father along, it is very important," he said as he packed his bags.
For Zhao, taking his father wherever he goes has became a habit in recent years.
When he was a sophomore, in 2015, he rented a wheelchair and sent the father to his college by train without hesitation, so that he could take care of his dad.
"That year, my father's cerebral thrombosis suddenly deteriorated, making him unable to move his legs," he said. "I was worried that he would not be able to live on his own, and I needed to do something."
"When I was a boy, my father took me along, I always sat in a bamboo basket at the back seat of his bicycle," the student recalled.
In fact, Zhao was diagnosed with polio at 3. He was unable to walk until he had an operation at the age of 14. He still clearly remembers his father taking him to see doctors everywhere, he said.
The college was moved by his story and provided a separate space for them to live, in addtion, many students came together to help them.
Li Qi, 23, Zhao's friend, said: "We are members of a big family, people helped them after school. We all would talk with "our father", he encouraged them to study hard. Even though he did not graduate from high school, he guided me to improve myself," Li said.
Thanks to the support of the teachers and students, Zhao applied for a scholarship and student loan. He was honored as "Self-improvement Star in Chinese Undergraduates" and "Outstanding Youth League Member of Henan Province" in 2016.
"Zhao's story influences the people around. The tradition of Xiao, or filial piety, has existed in China for thousands of years, it is a core tenet of Confucianism, it effects Chinese public life in ancient times, while it also plays a key role for nowadays education." Duan Wenjie, vice-Party secretary of School of Materials Science and Engineering in Henan University Science and Technology.
"In recent years, with the support of the Ministry of Education, more and more disabled students have been admitted to the university. Learning to love and to share are also important lessons for the graduates," Duan added.