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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

China's icon of altruism answers man's greatest questions

(Xinhua)

09:34, March 01, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lei Feng, the late Chinese icon of altruism, has provided the perfect answer to the questions on the meaning of life that have long puzzled the human race, according to an op-ed authored by Li Congjun, president of Xinhua News Agency.

"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?"

These questions, raised by french Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), are widely considered to represent the human race's deepest meditations on the meaning of life.

According to the article, elite members of the human race, including Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), the ancient Chinese poets Qu Yuan and Chen Zi'ang, who both wrote more than 1,000 years ago, asked similar questions, but never found the answer.

"Lei Feng, an ordinary soldier, has given a perfect answer," the lengthy article maintained.

"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?" the article posited, citing a diary of Lei's.

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.

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