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From friend to family

By  Zhu Zhou (China Daily)

09:46, June 15, 2012

Manahov Ivanovic shows Le Minqiang around at the Stalin Automobile Factory in the former Soviet Union. Provided to China Daily

A Chinese autoworker's friendship with his Russian mentor personifies the big picture of Sino-Russian ties. Zhu Zhou reports in Changchun.

Le Minqiang has been retired for almost 20 years. The 79-year-old lives with his wife in a small apartment not far from the headquarters of First Automotive Works (FAW) in Changchun, capital of Jilin province. Like many of his former co-workers, his whole family works - or at least did until retirement - for this automotive giant.

"This is my daughter's apartment. But we've been living here for 11 years now," the crop-haired Le says on a recent Sunday, sunshine streaming through the window.

This is a neighborhood of low-rises, "built in the 1980s", but some dorm buildings go as far back as the 1950s, when FAW was first established.

Le, a Shanghai native, came to Changchun in 1953, at the tender age of 20.

"I did not have much education, and I was working in a tool factory in Shanghai. It was an honor to be selected," he says.

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