Hou Rong, a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and vice-director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, checks the health status of a giant panda. [Photo by Cui Kai]
Hou Rong, a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and vice-director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Southwest China's Sichuan province, has been dedicated to the conservation of giant pandas for nearly three decades.
"My first encounter with a giant panda was in the autumn of 1995, " Hou said, Shortly after its birth, the little animal showed a strong desire to live on, though it still didn't open eyes and needed artificial assistance to defecate.
Since then, Hou has devoted herself to the protection of giant pandas and has successfully tackled many bottlenecks in core technologies related to the breeding, genetic and health management of giant pandas, earning her the nickname "panda mama" for her tremendous contributions.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of Hou and her colleagues, the number of giant pandas in the research base has surged from 18 in 1994 to 237 in 2022, a twelvefold increase.
Hou was elected an NPC deputy for the first time in 2008. When talking about her reelection three straight times, she said that it was a great honor but also a responsibility, adding that the fulfillment of her duty as an NPC deputy and participation in sci-tech research are similar in some ways, as both require determination, commitment, rigorous attitude and innovative thinking.
Over the past 16 years, Hou has submitted 10 motions and 34 suggestions to the country's top legislature, about 80 percent of which have been taken into account in the formulation of and revision to relevant laws and regulations.
Hou noted that she often takes great pains to prepare motions and suggestions. For instance, she spent a month reading professional publications and reports, visited the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, and held frequent exchanges with administrative personnel and wildlife protection experts when she was required to give her opinions on the revision of the wildlife protection law in 2020.
Hou talked about her intimate ties with and strong affection for giant pandas during an interview on the sidelines of this year's two sessions. She also called for further strengthening talent cultivation mechanisms, intensifying legislative efforts and enhancing legal enforcement mechanisms for the high-quality development of national parks, including the Giant Panda National Park.
Meanwhile, efforts should be made to comprehensively advance biodiversity protection, formulate specific outlines for biodiversity protection in the Giant Panda National Park, adopt diverse development approaches in accordance with local conditions, and tap potential of various ecological and cultural resources, Hou said.
In the years ahead, Hou said that she will thoroughly study, publicize and implement the guiding principles of the NPC session, bear in mind the fundamental interests of the country, respond to concern of the people and fulfill her duties in the workplace.