Yuan-Longping-the-Father-of-Hybrid-Rice.-scaled
CHANGSHA, HUNAN - JUNE 20: Yuan Longping, who won the World Food Prize in 2004 - the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization's International Year of Rice, poses for a photo at a hybrid rice planting field on June 20, 2006 in Changsha city, Hunan province of China. Hybrid rice is a very important achievement created by China, with it's successful commercial production making a great contribution to China's food security. In 1964 Yuan Longping initiated the research of utilization of rice heterosis in China. In 1974, Yuan developed Nanyou 2, which was the first combination with high yield. In 1976, hybrid rice was commercialized in China. Hybrid rice has a 20 percent yield advantage over the inbred rice varieties. From 1976 to 2005, the accumulative harvested areas of hybrid rice in China reached 340 million hectares. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)
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The chrysanthemums used to send condolences were sold out all over Changsha, Hunan Province, in Central China. More than 100,000 people queued in the rain in front of Mingyangshan Funeral Home to pay their respects to Yuan Longping, a renowned Chinese agronomist known as the “father of hybrid rice.” The crowd grew in size and spanned several kilometres.

Thousands of Changsha residents flocked to Xiangya Hospital on Saturday (May 22) to say their final goodbyes to Yuan, who died at the age of 91. Vehicles honked in mourning along the highway where the hearse passed, and people gathered on the sidewalk yelled, “Farewell! Grandpa Yuan!”

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Yuan’s funeral is set for Monday, according to reports.

On Sunday, a large number of people continued their vigil in a separate memorial hall, laying chrysanthemums before retreating to the roadside, standing in contemplative silence for a long time, some driving from outside Changsha and others bringing their children to pay their last respects.

A mother brings her child to Mingyangshan Funeral Home’s memorial hall to pay her respects and lay flowers.

A mother brings her child to Mingyangshan Funeral Home’s memorial hall to pay her respects and lay flowers.

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“Yuan saved Chinese people from starvation,” said Liu Lu, a 27-year-old Hunan Normal University doctoral student who returned to the funeral home on Sunday to lay flowers.

Liu told the Global Times that her parents, who live in Jinggangshan, Jiangxi Province in East China, will also be in Changsha on Sunday to say their goodbyes.

“My parents have taught me to eat all of the rice in the bowl at every meal since I was a child because rice is scarce. Yuan’s commitment is admired by all “She went on.

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On Saturday, flowers were seen in front of a statue of Yuan Longping in Chongqing’s Southwest University. On campus, many teachers and students from Yuan’s former school expressed their sadness and condolences.

Millions of people mourned Yuan online, in addition to those who were on the ground. Yuan was dubbed “a great man of our time” by internet users. Over 8 million people had paid tribute to Yuan as of press time in a virtual condolence hall set up by local media.

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On Sunday, students at Chongqing’s Southwest University placed flowers in front of a statue of Yuan Longping.

On Sunday, students at Chongqing’s Southwest University placed flowers in front of a statue of Yuan Longping.

“Despite Yuan’s death, the content and goal of our previous work will remain the same. We will turn our grief into strength and continue the work he left undone “Wang added. – Global Times