Devoted husband who cared for paralysed wife for 56 years melts hearts in China

The actions of a 84-year-old man from Shandong province in China has melted the hearts of many Chinese after photos of him caring for his wife for the past 56 years emerged online recently.

Mr Du Yuanfa and his wife Ms Zhou Yuai were married in November 1958, according to Chinese lifestyle site Shanghaiist. After news of his wife's sickness reached him via a letter, Mr Du rushed back to his hometown from a coal mine he was working at in Tai'an city.

Ms Zhou was very sick and soon became paralysed. According to Mr Du, this happened just five months after their marriage. He said: "Her back was too rigid to move around and her hands too stiff to grasp anything." She also needed help to use the bathroom and to be fed, he added.

Mr Du had taken his sick wife to many hospitals and doctors in a wheelbarrow in search of an accurate diagnosis, reported Shanghaiist. Doctors at each clinic had apparently told him that Ms Zhou would be confined to her bed for the rest of her life and the couple would not be able to have children.

The journey for the couple wasn't a smooth one. Friends and family of Mr Du tried to convince him to divorce her but he refused. Du told his wife that he would always be there to take care of her and reportedly quit his job at the coal mine as he didn't want to leave her alone.

According to Shanghaiist, Mr Du was told by some doctors that Chinese herbal medicine would cure his wife's illness. He would often climb up to the hills and picks herbs to feed his wife, after first "tasting it himself to make sure that it's not poisonous".

Mr Du's unconditional love for his wife has touched many local residents and they frequently lend a helping hand by buying medicine or groceries for the couple. The local government has also provided aid to the couple, reported Shanghaiist.

Netizens have express their respect for Mr Du, with one web user from Beijing who commented: "I'm deeply touched and at a loss for words. I am moved by this man's morality, responsibility and his love for his wife."

Another netizen Mekua, wrote: "I give him a big thumbs up. That's the power of love."