Source: PEKING REVIEW Vol. IV , No. 32, August 11, 1961
"A gun in one hand and a hoe in the other.” This has been an outstanding tradition of the People’s Liberation Army since the early days of the revolution. The P.L.A. today is justly proud of itself being a working force as well as a fighting force. Wherever they are, P.L.A. men invariably play a part in local production. In the current national agricultural drive they are there too “in the frontlines.”
In the first six months of this year the P.L.A. launched two big campaigns to aid agriculture, one during the spring sowing and the other during the current summer harvest. Officers and men alike worked shoulder to shoulder with the peasants in the fields. The latest statistics, though incomplete, give some idea of their admirable record.
From January to June, P.L.A. units helped the people’s communes in various parts of the country to sow and reap crops on a total area of more than 2.6 million mu, and contour plough an area of 45,000 mu of farmland. They also reclaimed large tracts of wastelands.
Many units have forged close ties with the local people’s communes and given them whatever help they could. Army technicians have repaired farm machinery and tools for the farmers and helped the people’s communes train more than 14,000 technicians. P.L.A. men have also distinguished themselves as tough fighters against natural calamities. In the past six months over 80,000 officers and men participated in rescue and other emergency work in areas hit by floods. In drought-stricken areas, the people’s soldiers have worked together with commune members in bringing water to the parched land and sinking many wells to tap new water sources. Army units have taken part in building 119 large water conservancy projects in the countryside.
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