Back in 1988, Zuo Hongyan gave birth to a son in her home province of Hubei, China. Birth complications led to the baby being diagnosed with cerebral palsy in infancy. Local doctors advised she give up the baby, as he would probably be disabled and/or have low intelligence. Her husband agreed, saying that the boy would be a burden on the family his entire life.
Zou vowed to keep the baby. The couple divorced.
In order to support them both, Zou took a full-time job and several part time jobs too. In between, she took him to therapy and learned how to carry over some of the activities at home. She bought puzzles and brain teasers, massaged and stretched him, and insisted he learn to eat with chopsticks as was their custom. Her goal was to push her son as far as he could be pushed given his disability.
Zou's son Ding Zheng has done well indeed. He obtained a bachelor's degree from Peking University’s Environmental Science and Engineering School, and then enrolled in that university's International Law School. Last year, he began studies at Harvard University.