A triumph of mind over body
By Xu Yanqiu
Where there’s a will, there’s a way: There can be few people who demonstrate the truth of this saying more impressively than Wuhan native, Ding Zheng.
His life is an inspirational story of how great personal determination and a mother's love can overcome devastating adversity. A graduate of Peking University, in 2017 he obtained his master's degree from Harvard Law School. By any standard, he's been successful. But Zheng's achievements are all the more remarkable, considering he was born with cerebral palsy. 
The doctors who delivered him were convinced that he would face a lifetime of severe mental and physical suffering. They were so concerned about his condition, and the burden he would be on his parents, that they even suggested turning off his life support. But as his mother, Zou Hongyan, told Face-to-Face on CCTV in November 2017, she was determined to ensure that her son not only survived but also enjoyed the best quality of life possible.
Zou Hongyan tells Face-to-Face on CCTV about bringing up her son Ding Zheng. /CCTV Photo

Zou Hongyan tells Face-to-Face on CCTV about bringing up her son Ding Zheng. /CCTV Photo

It came as a huge relief to his mother when doctors told her that the brain of baby Zheng was functioning normally. However, when it came to his physical condition, he required intensive rehabilitation, including traditional Chinese massage therapy sessions – three times a week.
Mastering motor skills was a challenge. He was one year old before he could grasp objects; he only managed to stand when he was two; he was three when he learned to walk, and six when he could jump.  
At every stage of his development, his mother was his support. Ms. Zou instilled in her son the spirit of perseverance and never giving up. He struggled to use chopsticks, but she insisted that he learn, as she didn't want him to be embarrassed at social gatherings later in life. It took a long time, but finally, Zheng no longer had to rely on a spoon but could eat like any other Chinese person.
Despite the enormous amount of work Zheng has put in, he remains physically much weaker than his contemporaries. As his mother says, he makes ten times, even a hundred times the effort that others do, but still lags far behind them physically.
Yet, his physical condition has not held him back, academically. He graduated from Peking University with credit both as an undergraduate and graduate student.
He is now working as a legal consultant – a job that gives him the financial ability to repay his mother in a small way for the years she spent supporting him. She is now able to fulfill her dream of visiting some of the world's famous tourist destinations. But Zou Hongyan's real reward is to see that her son is now capable of supporting himself.
On June 2, the story of a group of disabled people and their efforts to lead an independent life will air on Rediscovering China.
(Head Image: Ding Zheng obtained his master's degree from Harvard University in 2017. /CCTV Photo)