Love springs eternal

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-2 20:53:01

Ping Muhu holds the hand of Zhang Xinniu in their home in the village of Quanliu, administered by the city of Yuzhou in Henan Province. Photo: CFP

The oldest couple in China, both of whom were born before the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, still live in a village in Central China.

Husband Ping Muhu, 109, and his wife Zhang Xinniu, 108, were brought together by a matchmaker when they were teenagers. They have endured together through wars and the rise and fall of governments, living in their country home in the village of Quanliu, in Henan Province.

They have three sons and three daughters, the oldest of whom is 74 years old, and altogether have more than 70 descendents. They don't usually meddle in their children's family lives, except for when one of their great-grandsons decided to join the army. The couple wept when the young man left home, as Ping himself was forced into the army when he was young and believes becoming a soldier is anything but a good choice.

Like in many rural families in China, some of their descendants have left the village to work in towns and cities far away from home. But many have chosen to stay in the village to take care of the old couple.

In traditional Chinese society elderly people rely solely on their sons and daughters in their old age, and Ping and Zhang's family has maintained this tradition. Their six sons and daughters take turns living with them, sleeping in their bedroom every night to look after them. Li Yuezhi, the wife of one of their grandsons, takes care of their daily needs.

With both in relatively good health, except for some difficulty hearing, and good care at home, their fellow villagers say they don't expect Ping and Zhang will be passing on any time soon.

Global Times

Defying doctors' advice, Ping Muhu still smokes at the age of 109. Photo: CFP

A family photo of some of their family members. Photo: CFP

Zhang Xinniu still sews despite her advanced age. Photo: CFP

Zhang Xinniu shows her bound foot, a rarity in China today but a common practice during the Qing Dynasty. Photo: CFP



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