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 Growth of a Contingent of Rural Technicians in Water Conservancy and Power Generating

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Investigation Report



Growth of a Contingent of Rural Technicians in Water Conservancy and Power Generating

Source: Peking Review, No. 6, February 7, 1969
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org


Tremendous Development in Water Conservancy and Power Project Construction

    TUNGFENG Peoples Commune in the Wutang District of Kweichow Province is on the northern outskirts of Kweiyang city. Before the commune was formed, the greater part of the land here suffered from severe drought. Only 34.7 per cent of the paddyfields was under irrigation. Almost no electric power was used for lighting, water-pumping and processing farm and subsidiary produce.
   Since the establishment of the commune, and particularly since the beginning of the great proletarian cultural revolution, the broad masses of poor and lower-middle peasants here, guided by Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, have launched a mammoth mass drive for construction in water conservancy projects and power stations in accordance with Chairman Mao's great teaching: "The construction of water conservancy projects is an important measure for guaranteeing increased agricultural production. Every county, district, township and agricultural co-operative can undertake small projects."
   They have built 84 small and medium-sized water conservancy projects, 50 of which were constructed or completed during the great cultural revolution. They have built 41 mechanized pumping stations of different types. 31 of them constructed during the great cultural revolution. They have built nine small and medium-sized power stations, four completed during the great cultural revolution. They have also set up more than 20 commune-run or brigade-run mechanized processing workshops, most of which were built during the great cultural revolution. The commune is now crisscrossed by irrigation canals and ditches and dotted with reservoirs, ponds and mechanized pumping stations. This guarantees rich harvests for three-quarters of the paddyfields even in the event of drought. The commune's power generating capacity has reached 540 kilowatts, and electric power is used for almost all the work in tool making, rice husking, and milling. Electric lights have been installed in the overwhelming majority of commune members' homes.
   The rapid development in building water conservancy projects and power stations has spurred grain production and trained a contingent of new-type rural technicians who specialize in water conservancy and power generation and are capable of doing both industrial and agricultural labour. With poor and lower-middle peasants as the main body, this contingent has grown to more than 210 people who can survey, design and construct water conservancy projects and power stations as well as install equipment and operate, maintain and overhaul different kinds of machines. The masses of poor and lower-middle peasants have great concern and love for this contingent. They say with pride: "Our water conservancy and electrical technicians of peasant origin have made remarkable contributions. They are very useful in building water conservancy projects and power stations."

Sharp Struggle Between the Two Lines

   There was a sharp struggle between the two lines in the creation and growth of this contingent of new-type water conservancy and electrical technicians in the Tungfeng commune.
   The commune set off an upsurge in the winter of 1958 to build water conservancy projects and power stations. Cherishing great and lofty aspirations, the poor and lower-middle peasants took up the task of transforming arid land into paddyfields and making electricity serve the countryside. A handful of capitalist roaders tried their best to dampen the masses* enthusiasm. Some bourgeois technicians spread the idea that "it is fantastic to think that peasants could run power stations and take on water conservancy." The poor and lower-middle peasants and revolutionary cadres were not deterred by ridicule and slander. Following Chairman Mao's teaching to "learn warfare through warfare/' they resolved to start by first doing, to learn while doing and to do while learning.
   The poor and lower-middle peasants of the Miao nationality in the Tachiao Production Team of the Hsinchuang brigade turned the water mill into a power station. The work was led by a lower-middle peasant of the Miao nationality, a commune member who had only studied three years in an old-type feudal private school. There was no water turbine so they made one out of wood. There was no switchboard so they bought six electric meters and asked some worker-brothers to show them how to install them. With the enthusiastic help and advice from the worker-brothers, the Miao peasants finally succeeded in building their power station. Power was generated by the generator driven by the wooden turbine.
   The poor and lower-middle peasants in the Shui-tang Production Brigade built a reservoir capable of irrigating more than 300 mu of land. With the help of technical workers in the commune's lorry team, they used diesel engines to bring water uphill from the reservoir to irrigate the fields on mountain slopes. This project was surveyed, designed and constructed by the brigade's poor and lower-middle peasants and revolutionary cadres.
   This is how power stations and water conservancy facilities were built, and groups of water conservancy and electrical technicians of peasant origin developed rapidly. This is a victory for Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line!
   The capitalist roaders in the Party pushed Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line and did all they could to prevent the poor and lower-middle peasants from building water conservancy projects and power stations. They used all sorts of pretexts to dissolve this contingent of rural technicians in water conservancy and power generation which had been trained by the poor and lower-middle peasants themselves.
   During the great proletarian cultural revolution personally initiated and led by Chairman Mao, the poor and lower-middle peasants of the Tungfeng commune seized back the leadership usurped by the capitalist roaders. This was followed by a new high tide in the mass movement to build water conservancy projects and power stations. The commune revolutionary committee warmly supported and helped the production teams to rely on their own efforts in developing the construction of water conservancy projects and power stations and to re-establish the technical contingent which had been dissolved by the capitalist roaders formerly in power. Some technicians of the contingent were sent to water conservancy and electric power construction sites for training, others were organized to summarize local experience and take part in such construction for their own commune and teams and other communes and teams. Water conservancy and electrical technicians of peasant origin got the chance to give full play to their talents and abilities.
   Poor and lower-middle peasants of the Hsinchai Production Team of the All Production Brigade actively responded to Chairman Mao's great call to "grasp revolution and promote production." Relying on their own peasant technicians, they dammed a river, set up many water-turbine pumping stations and conducted the water to the high slopes. This brought an unparalleled good harvest that year. The success in the Hsinchai team's water conservancy and electric power construction gave the whole brigade a push. The brigade has now built five water-turbine pumping stations.
   A high tide in the mass movement to build water conservancy projects and power stations has spread to other brigades.

Reasons for the Rapid Growth of This Contingent

   The rapid growth of the Tungfeng commune's water conservancy and electrical technicians can be attributed to the following reasons:
   Firstly: The masses of poor and lower-middle peasants have boundless love for our great leader Chairman Mao and courageously defend his proletarian revolutionary line. They said: "Chairman Mao teaches us that 'irrigation ... is the life-blood of agriculture.' The Party capitalist roaders went so far as to have the audacity to oppose Chairman Mao's instruction. We poor and lower-middle peasants will never permit this."
   Unafraid of being attacked and persecuted by the capitalist roaders and putting no blind faith in the bourgeois reactionary technical authorities, they dared to break a path unbeaten before and courageously stormed the citadel of water conservancy and power generating in which the bourgeois technicians had been entrenched. As a result, they have become the masters of this branch of technology.
   Secondly: They received powerful support from the working class. When the Maotsao Production Brigade built its steam engine power station and diesel engine pumping station at the Kaohsiehtang Production Team, several worker-comrades from a factory in Kweiyang instructed a group of this production team's young poor and lower-middle peasants in all the technical skills, from how to install and operate machinery down to maintenance and repair work.
   Moved by this, the poor and lower-middle peasants said: "Our worker-brothers worked with us day and night. They helped us build the power station and trained a group of water conservancy and electrical technicians capable of doing both industrial and agricultural labour. The worker-brothers are really a big help to us."
   Thirdly: The road of training technical personnel is correct. The water conservancy and electrical technicians of the Tungfeng commune are young or middle-aged poor and lower-middle peasants who are willing to devote themselves to building a new socialist countryside. They are trained and tempered in the course of class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. Such technicians are very useful in the countryside.
   Here is an example. After the commune was founded, it sent some persons to an institute for specialized study so as to meet the needs of developing the commune's water conservancy and electric power projects. After completing the course, however, some of them were reluctant to work in the countryside while others could talk about how the job should be done but could not do it themselves.
   In contrast, several young poor and lower-middle peasants of the Kaohsiehtang Production Team were quick to learn and master all the necessary techniques from the worker-comrades who helped them build the power station. They were not only able to operate machinery independently, but worked wholeheartedly to build the new socialist countryside.
   From this, the Tungfeng commune has summed up the experience that the right method for training water conservancy and electrical technicians is not to divorce training from reality.
Some Opinions on Revolution in Specialized Education in Water Conservancy and Power Generating
   After studying Chairman Mao's latest instructions on the revolution in education, the poor and lower-middle peasants of Tungfeng People's Commune raised the following four opinions concerning the revolution in specialized education in water conservancy and power generating, on the basis of the experience in bringing up their commune's own peasant technicians:
   1. Specialized education in water conservancy and power generating must serve proletarian politics, and prominence must be given to proletarian politics and Mao Tse-tung's thought. Technicians who are willing to work in the villages all their lives and can integrate with the poor and lower-middle peasants are to be trained.
   2. Studies in technical skills must be based on the actual needs of building water conservancy projects and power stations in the countryside. Experienced workers and peasant technicians should be invited to teach. Attention should be paid to both the popularization and raising of technical levels, and the latter should proceed from the actual needs in the countryside in building water conservancy and electric power projects.
   3. Students should be enrolled mainly from among young or middle-aged workers and poor and lower-middle peasants with practical experience so that they will "return to production after a few years' study." In short, the schools must open their doors to the workers and peasants.
   4. Schools should move to factories and villages so that the students can study in the big classroom of production.

(Originally published in "Hongqi," No. 1, 1969.)
  
  
  

 
 
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