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Xi Focus-Explainer: Soul searching and the CPC

(Xinhua)    08:22, August 22, 2019

BEIJING, Aug. 21 -- This year marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and seven decades of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as the ruling party.

For an anniversary of this significance, the world's largest political party has called on its members to engage in something that might not immediately come to mind when people think of politics -- soul searching.

The campaign, "staying true to our founding mission," was launched by this world's largest political party on May 31. Party members have been instructed to examine why they do what they do and identify any failings in this regard.

The CPC's founding mission is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.

For a party that aims to move with the times, the Party is staunch in its determination to stay true to motivations that are almost 100 years old.

"Those who want to stride ahead should not forget the path taken," said Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, who has led the campaign.

"No matter how far we travel or how bright the future we will have, we should not forget what we have experienced and why we started," he said.

Stories about "model Party members" often make the rounds during campaigns such as this one. For outsiders, these stories offer insight into what is meant for individuals to stay true to the Party's founding mission.

One such story concerns decorated war hero Zhang Fuqing, who, at 95 this year, was named a "National Outstanding CPC Member."

During China's Liberation War of 1945 to 1949, Zhang was honored several times for his bravery on the battlefield and twice received the honorary title of "Combat Hero."

Yet, for over six decades, he has kept this part of his life hidden from his friends and family.

"When I think of my comrades, many of them are no longer with us, and I am in no position to show off my achievements. Compared with them, my achievements are nothing," Zhang told Xinhua in an interview.

The CPC was established at a time when the nation was on the verge of collapse and ordinary people were living hand-to-mouth. Those that fought for China in the ensuing wars were fighting for liberation and their countrymen. Many, like Zhang's brothers in arms, did not come home.

When Zhang left the army, he took up a local government post in a poor, remote backwater in central China, hundreds of miles away from his hometown.

He has spent the rest of his life working to improve the lives of those around him.

"I was never afraid of dying on the battlefield. How could I fear the tough conditions here?" Zhang said. "Everyone wants to work in a good place. If a Party member does not go to tough places, who would?"

Rather than live off his accomplishments, Zhang chose a hard life helping those less fortunate. He chose to serve the people, he walked the extra mile.

Just like Gao Yinshui who, as a village doctor, has walked thousands of miles over the past five decades.

Originally trained as a teacher, Gao's life changed when her mother fell ill. She saw how important rural doctors were to communities in remote areas, so she quit her job and joined them.

These medical practitioners were known as "barefoot doctors" in the past. Gao, like many others, did not receive a typical medical school education. She worked under experienced doctors and attended training programs. But that did not hold her back from excelling at her profession.

About 1,500 people live in Gao's ward, the village of Lixin in east China's Jiangxi Province. Despite her age, Gao has a sharp mind and those in her care are not only her patients but also her friends. She has all their ailments and medical history etched in her memory.

"My mission, my original aspiration, is to work hard all my life and serve the people well. I want to contribute in my own small way," said Gao.

From feet on the ground to heads in the sky, there is a new wave of CPC members who are putting their lives on the line. Whereas elder members like Zhang were on the front line of battles, this new generation of members are on the front line of innovation.

Dai Wei is a flight test engineer with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

He is tasked with testing the C919, China's first large passenger jetliner. It is only after rigorous analysis by engineers like himself that these new aircraft can be deemed safe and delivered to customers.

"I think I will be happiest if I can see the C919 on the airport tarmac," said 33-year-old Dai. "That's the plane I tested."

The flight test engineers actually fly in the plane and put themselves at risk of real danger, said Zhang Dawei, COMAC flight test center vice director.

Only after a series of tests can we deliver a truly safe plane to the public, he said.

The C919 is expected to be market-ready by 2021 and COMAC has already received over 800 orders for the planes from around the world.

"The big airplane industry is an important part of our overall national strategy and industrial upgrading. It is my honor to serve this cause," said Dai.

The stories of these individuals serve as good examples of staying true to the Party's founding mission.

The logic is that if Party members do not deviate from the original cause, the nation has a much greater chance of achieving its goal of national rejuvenation.

The campaign, therefore, is as much about the Party staying current as it is about staying true to its mission defined almost a century ago.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shi Xi, Du Mingming)

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