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People's Daily Online>>China Society

China promotes late altruism icon to bring hope (2)


08:54, February 29, 2012


"If you were a water drop, would you like to provide any moisture for the fields; If you were a ray of sunshine, would you like to light up a portion of the dark; If you were a grain of rice, would you like to feed a life?" wrote Lei Feng, the late Chinese icon of altruism.

Known for devoting almost all of his spare time and money to selflessly helping the needy, the common soldier who died at the age of 22 in 1962, has become a memory shared by generations of Chinese.

Born in late 1940 in central China's Hunan province, Lei was orphaned at the age of seven. He started working in a steel mill in 1958, and became an army recruit in 1960.

Lei Feng died from injuries sustained from being hit on the head by a pole while helping a fellow soldier direct a truck on Aug. 15, 1962.

In a diary dated just five days before his death, he wrote, "From now on, I will love and respect people more, always learn from the masses with a humble heart like a primary student, and be a servant of the people."

A year later, late chairman Mao Zedong called on the entire nation to follow Lei's example, and March 5 of every year is designated "Lei Feng's Day."

"The past decades have seen numerous people who, inspired by the spirits of Lei Feng, embraced an inner pursuit of following his example and thus became excellent and model figures in their specific fields," Luo Shugang, executive deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, told a press conference Monday.

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