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Heroes of the P.L.A. — Brought Up
on Mao Tse-tung’s Thought

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review,
Vol. 9, #48, Nov. 25, 1966, pp. 14-16..]

A large number of revolutionary heroes and outstanding men and women, remarkable for their creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, have appeared in recent years on various fronts in China as the nationwide mass movement to study Chairman Mao’s works gathered momentum. Always in the forefront of this movement, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is the most fruitful. Peking Review has already introduced its readers to Lei Feng, Ouyang Hai, Wang Chieh, Mai Hsien-teh and Liu Ying-chun.* These are P.L.A. heroes who, by conscientiously studying Chairman Mao’s writings, following his teachings, and acting according to his instructions, became devoted to the people and the revolution heart and soul and performed deeds of great courage and selflessness, amply demonstrating the noble quality of great communist fighters. They are illustrious models for the whole nation.

In the last few months, the heroic exploits of three others—Chang Chun-yu, Wang Yu-chang and Ho Hsiang-kuei—have been reported by the Renmin Ribao and the Jiefangjun Bao (Liberation Army Daily). These are people who, determined to be good students of Chairman Mao, have persevered in their study of Chairman Mao’s works over long periods, making particular efforts to apply what they study so as to consciously remould their ideologies. They have thus succeeded in establishing the communist world outlook of being “wholly” and “entirely” devoted to the people as called for by Chairman Mao. At critical moments when the lives of their comrades or the people, or public property were threatened, they did not hesitate to go to the rescue at their own risk. This courageous spirit of self-sacrifice and high sense of responsibility to the revolution and to the people have won them the warm acclaim of the whole nation.

Chang Chun-yu, Staunch and Unyielding Fighter

Chang Chun-yu, a Communist Party member, is a deputy-squad leader of the P.L.A.’s railway corps. His unit was drilling a tunnel in a forest area when an accident occurred. Despite his safety helmet, one of the fighters, Tun Feng-tang, was hit by a rock falling from the ceiling and knocked unconscious. Disregarding other rocks which were falling, Chang Chun-yu and three other comrades, who were working in safe areas, leaped forward and were beside the unconscious man to push him out of danger. At that moment there was a thunderous rumble and a huge 5-ton rock crashed on the spot Chang was standing. He was pinned to the ground from the waist down by a concave niche in the rock. The bones of his left leg were broken on the spot and so were three of the ribs on the right side of his chest. Chang Chun-yu immediately lost consciousness.

The comrades tried to lift the rock with every available tool they had, but without success. When Chang opened his eyes a few minutes later, he whispered: “Is Tun Feng-tang safe? And the other comrades?” He urged everyone to go to Tun Feng-tang’s aid first. Hearing him, those around Chang were moved to tears.

Trapped beneath the enormous rock, Chang bore the unbearable pain with the steel will of the proletariat. He was rescued only after two hours and forty minutes, when seven wooden hoists which had been rushed to the spot finally removed the rock. Disregarding his condition, Chang Chun-yu had thoughts for one thing only, that the next day was a special occasion—the birthday of the Party. He told the comrades around him: “I have some money in my army uniform pocket … please pay my Party membership dues for me…” As he was carried to the ambulance, the battalion commanders and his comrades, in great concern, asked him if he needed anything to take with him to the hospital. All Chang asked for were the volumes of Chairman Mao’s works which he had laid beside the pillow on his bed. He said: “I want to keep them with me so that I can study them.”

In the hospital, he showed more concern for his injured comrade Tun Feng-tang than for himself. Ignoring his own great pain, he wrote to comfort and encourage Tun to study Chairman Mao’s works whenever he could, to be brave and to get well fast so that he could serve the people better.

As soon as Chang Chun-yu was better, he immediately devoted himself to the study of Chairman Mao’s works, like a parched man thirsting for water. In some notes he put down after studying, he wrote: “Injuries bring physical pain; but spiritually I am quite content, because the revolution needed me to be so.” Although he was tied to his sick bed, Chang eagerly helped his wardmates to study Chairman Mao’s works, read books and newspapers to them, held heart-to-heart talks with them, wrote letters for them and helped them to mend their things.

He fought his injuries with incomparable will power. There were four operations on his fractured leg. Each time, although the pain was excruciating, he had only words of encouragement for the doctors. He said: “Go on, don’t hold back. If only I can get my leg back and go back to my company so I can continue to build the railway, I can stand any pain!”

Wang Yu-chang, a Model in Putting His Men’s Welfare Above His Own

Wang Yu-chang, a quartermaster in an air force unit under the Foochow command, has saved his comrades at the risk of his own life five times. The last time was on May 30, 1965. Early that morning, he took 30 men to the drill ground to practise grenade throwing. A barber accidentally threw his grenade into a dugout where a secretary was doing some work. Wang Yu-chang flung himself towards the grenade and snatched at the spinning weapon. There was only one idea in his mind: “Rather me than my men.” He covered his comrade squarely with his body and raised his arm to hurl the grenade away, but it exploded in his hand.

Gravely injured, Wang Yu-chang did not stop studying Chairman Mao’s works even in hospital. He said: There’s all the more reason now for me to study Chairman Mao’s works. When his right leg, which could not be saved, was amputated, the nurses all felt very badly about it, but he was in good spirits and said: “Don’t feel so bad. I’m taking the revolutionary road one leg or two.” “Don’t worry about me. I’ve still got my left arm and left leg. What’s more, I have a heart that’s set on serving the people. If I have one breath left in me, I will draw that breath in working for the Party. Supposing both my arms and legs have to go, I’ve still got a mouth—and I’ll propagate Mao Tse-tung’s thought every day to encourage my comrades to hit out at the enemy.”

A Communist Party member, Wang Yu-chang has always worked with the greatest political enthusiasm. In everything, he put the revolution, the work and other comrades’ welfare first. He showed concern for the living conditions of every man in his charge, and even greater concern for their political development. He once said that the greatest concern that can be shown to the fighters was to encourage them to study Chairman Mao’s works, set them on the road pointed out by Chairman Mao, and train them with Mao Tse-tung’s thought into successors to the revolutionary cause with both the motherland and the world in their hearts.

Ho Hsiang-kuei, a Wholehearted Defender of the People’s Interests

Ho Hsiang-kuei is a fighter of a special task company in a P.L.A. unit under the Peking command. A Communist, he enlisted in the spring of 1965. In the P.L.A.—the great school of Mao Tse-tung’s thought—Ho diligently studied Chairman Mao’s works, strictly followed Chairman Mao’s teachings in whatever he did, and struggled relentlessly against all his selfish thoughts in order to eradicate bourgeois ideas and foster proletarian ideas. He was advanced in whatever he did and performed many stirring deeds. An example of this was the unrivalled bravery he showed in putting out a mountain fire.

Early in February 7 this year, while going to shooting practice, Ho and his unit spotted a mountain fire. A strong wind fanned up the flames, and there was immediate danger that the fire would spread to a nearby village. Leading his comrades, Ho Hsiang-kuei ran towards the blaze. He left the places where the fire was smaller for them and headed through thick smoke straight to the spot where it was raging wildly. He beat at the flames with a straw bag he had picked up on the way, but soon the bag was burnt through, his hands were burnt, his eyebrows scorched and the thick smoke choked him. Not far away was a spot which had not yet caught fire. Ho could have reached that safe place in one dash, but he ignored it. He showed his great bravery as he rolled himself down the burning slope and extinguished patches on fire. When he reached a place where the grass was particularly thick and the fire was fiercest, he suddenly lost consciousness. After his comrades had stamped out the fire on his burning clothes and were carrying him away, Ho opened his eyes. His first words were: “Never mind me, go to the fire!” He struggled to get up, so that he could go back to it. But his injuries made him lose lose consciousness a second time.

With burns covering 90 per cent of his body surface, Ho Hsiang-kuei’s life was in imminent danger. It was only on the third day in hospital that he came out of his coma. As soon as his mind cleared, he asked the doctor to read quotations from Chairman Mao to him. When he got better, he persevered in studying Chairman Mao’s works and often held discussions and forums in the ward together with the medical staff, during which they each introduced their personal experiences in study and talked over their problems and achievements.

The Source of Bravery and Determination

The leading organizations of the units to which Chang Chun-yu, Wang Yu-chang and Ho Hsiang-kuei belong awarded citations to these three heroes, commending them for their creative study and application of Chairman Mao’s works, the way they take Chairman Mao’s writings as their supreme guide, and their sterling quality of wholehearted devotion to the revolution and to the people. They called on all commanders and fighters of the units concerned to learn from them. The Renmin Ribao and Jiefangjun Bao both published news of their heroism as well as editorials or editorial notes.

In its editorial on Chang Chun-yu entitled “Fighters Brought Up by Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Are the Staunchest,” the Jiefangjun Bao summarized the noble qualities of Chang Chun-yu and pointed out the ideological source of his heroism. The editorial was also speaking for the other two P.LA. heroes. It said: At a critical moment in a landslide, Chang Chun-yu risked his own life to save a comrade’s life. His bones were crushed under the huge rock but his heart remained red and his will was like steel. He has projected the shining image of a people’s fighter by his actions. The fact that this young intellectual born of a poor peasant family so rapidly grew into a staunch proletarian fighter with a wholehearted devotion to the public interest and to the revolution is entirely the result of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. In intervals between hard work, on the road in strenuous marches and under the small oil lamp made out of an ink bottle, he industriously studied Chairman Mao’s writings with deep proletarian class feelings and sought hard to remould his ideology. It was the great thought of Mao Tse-tung that helped him to firmly establish the communist world outlook of “to live and to die for the people.” It gave him the strength and the energy to go through the hard tempering of physical labour. Chang Chun-yu’s feat again convincingly proves that Mao Tse-tung’s thought is the best weapon. Men armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought possess the greatest combat ability. Once armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought, one can become a staunch revolutionary fighter; he can overcome any hardships or obstacles and create miracles.


* Lei Feng — see P.R., No. 14, 1963, p. 5; Ouyang Hal — see P.R., No. 14, 1964, p. 29 for novel; Wang Chieh — see P.R., No. 29, 1966, p. 32; Mai Hsien-teh — see P.R., No. 8, 1966, p. 4; Liu Ying-chun — see P.R., No. 31, 1966, p. 27.

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