The heroic exploits of the Nanpao Production Brigade in defeating a flood
The heroic exploits of the Nanpao Production Brigade in defeating a flood
The heroic exploits of the Nanpao Production Brigade in defeating a flood
A Song of Triumph to Mao Tsetung Thought
--The heroic exploits of the Nanpao Production Brigade in defeating a flood
Source: Peking Review, No. 35, August 28, 1970
UNDER the guidance of the banner of unity and U victory of the Ninth Party Congress, there has emerged an advanced collective in the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought at the foothills of the Tienmu Mountains in the western part of Chekiang Province. This is the Nanpao Production Brigade of the Yinchu People's Commune in Tunglu County. Displaying the revolutionary spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death, the brigade's poor and lower-middle peasants, other commune members and revolutionary cadres triumphed over the surprise attack of an unprecedentedly big flood in the summer of 1969. After the flood, by adhering to the great principle of "self-reliance" and "hard struggle," they overcame one difficulty after another by relying on their own efforts, without asking anything from the state. They speedily restored production and rebuilt their homes on the vast stretch of devastated land. That same year, they succeeded in reaping more than enough grain for their own needs and even sold some-surplus grain to the state. The brigade's summer harvest in 1970 was an all-time high, topping last year's by 100 per cent. The great success scored by the Nanpao people in revolution, production and construction by combating natural disaster is a song of triumph to Mao Tsetung Thought.
Heroically Fighting the Flood and Protecting The People's Lives and Property
At the beginning of July last year, heavy rain continued for several days running in the Tienmu Mountains area. The amount of rainfall soon reached 320 millimetres, or 20 per cent of the annual total rainfall in a normal year. Torrents rushed down the precipitous mountains into the rapidly rising Fonshui River. A huge crest carrying uprooted trees and stones swept over the banks. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and located at the juncture of four streams, the Nanpao Brigade was struck by surprise by the biggest flood in its history.
The night before the attack of the flood, braving pouring rain, Communist Party member Li Chin-jung, head of the brigade's revolutionary leading group, led the brigade's other cadres and many commune members to make an investigation of the situation. Everywhere they went, they saw the water rising steadily. With the rain falling unabated, they sensed that an extraordinarily big mountain flood was imminent. An emergency meeting was convened by the brigade's revolutionary leading group to mobilize the masses to fight the flood immediately. The cadres unanimously pledged: We will charge where it is most dangerous, and we will move the masses' and collective property to the mountains even at the risk of our own lives.
Flood was the enemy, and the dangerous situation was the order. Braving the strong winds and pouring rain, shock teams headed by Communist Party members set out for the stricken areas.
Li Chin-jung and Li Wen-ho, deputy head of the brigade's revolutionary leading group, led the masses and made straight for the lowest-lying place where the electric pumping station was situated. Surging waves were pounding the machinery room and the wall, on which cracks began to appear, threatened to crumble at any moment. Risking their lives, Li Chin-jung and his comrades rushed into the room to dismantle the motor. No sooner had they moved the machinery to elevated ground than a huge billow swept the house away.
Another team consisting of cadres and commune members hurried to the endangered part of the reservoir. They saw the flood waters pouring into the reservoir and the water would soon overflow the dam. They immediately opened the sluice-gate to release the on-rushing water. The dam was saved.
Many old poor peasants and Little Red Soldiers rushed in the torrential rain to the brigade's stable and helped the cattle-tenders drive the draught animals to the mountains.
As the rain fell more and more heavily, the water rose still higher than before. The whole Nanpao Brigade was soon engulfed in a vast lake of rolling waves. While rescuing collective property, some cadres and peasants were swept into the torrent. But they encouraged and looked after each other, fighting bravely and tenaciously against the flood.
With wholehearted devotion to the people in fighting the flood, Li Chin-jung refused to go ashore on several occasions when he had the chance to do so. He was washed 20 kilometres downstream from Nanpao. Finding that nine class brothers were marooned on a small mound, he dashed through the swift current at the risk of his life to help them one by one get safely to a nearby tree. A huge wave was rushing towards him. The peasants perched on the tree called out anxiously: "Climb up quickly! It's dangerous below!" When he saw that the tree was already swaying in the torrent, he recalled Comrade Chang Szu-teh's revolutionary spirit of serving the people wholly and entirely, and refused to climb up the tree. He clung to the trunk, protected it with his body against the rushing torrent, and kicked away the debris washed downstream, thereby safeguarding the security of the nine class brothers.
In their fight against the flood, the brigade's cadres and peasants used Mao Tsetung Thought to unify command and action. Defying death, they did everything possible and saved the brigade's cattle, motors and reservoir. Those commune members who had been swept away by the floodwater were saved by the revolutionary masses on the lower reaches.
People Are Sure to Conquer Nature By Self-Reliance
The malicious flood destroyed the Nanpao people's houses and over 1,000 mu of cultivated land, several hundred mu of which were previously fertile fields but were covered with sand and rocks after the flood. Apart from the 18 households on the hills, all the houses of the other 20G households were destroyed by the flood. The disaster weighed like a mountain heavy on the Nanpao people. What was to be done? The Nanpao people were faced with a severe test.
The Party and the revolutionary committee at a higher level made arrangements and helped the Nanpao people stay temporarily at a small town five kilometres away. Learning the news, their relatives and friends flocked from all directions to visit them and asked them to settle down in their villages. Li Chin-jung's elder brother also rushed over to ask him to move to his place. At that juncture, a handful of class enemies took advantage of the situation to carry out sabotage. They did their best to spread pessimistic ideas in an attempt to dampen the Nanpao people's militant will in rebuilding their village.
At that crucial moment, LI Chin-jung recalled his visit to the Tachai Brigade half a year ago. The Tachai Brigade's Party branch led the masses to defeat all kinds of natural disaster with undaunted revolutionary will. The bigger the disaster, the more militant their will. Li thought to himself: What Tachai Brigade has achieved we can also accomplish.
Li Chin-jung first convened a meeting of Party members and cadres. They studied in earnest Chairman Mao's teaching "Only socialism can save China" which showed them the way forward. Li Wen-ho and Shen Kao-jen, both deputy heads of the brigade's revolutionary leading group, said firmly: "Although the flood has washed away our houses and fields, it can never wash away our revolutionary determination. The revolutionary martyrs laid down their lives in order to liberate Nanpao, why can't we rebuild this piece of land? So long as we are united as one, we can overcome all difficulties, however serious." "That's right!" Li Chin-jung said. "If we cadres dare to undertake the heavy tasks and lead the masses in working hard, there are no difficulties we cannot overcome!" Their unanimous pledge is: "We'll act according to Chairman Mao's instruction: Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.”
To arouse the masses on a broad scale, the brigade's revolutionary leading group ran a Mao Tsetung Thought study class where they praised the benevolence of Chairman Mao and the Communist Party and the superiority of the socialist system, and discussed the favourable conditions for combating the flood by collective effort. With love for the new society and hatred for the old, old poor peasant Ho Pao-yu made a sharp contrast of what happened in a flood before and after liberation. In 1922, he recalled. Nanpao was hit by a small flood. But 10 families were forced to sell their children, while more than 20 other families went begging and some 40 families had to work for the landlords as hired labourers. However, this time when the Nanpao people were faced with such a serious flood, the Party, revolutionary committees at all levels and the P.L.A. units stationed in Chekiang Province sent us invincible Mao Tsetung Thought and conveyed to us the Party's solicitous care and the deep friendship of the broad masses. In contrast to what happened in the old society, we are now able to combat flood and offset its evil consequences. All these facts gave the commune members a profound education and greatly stimulated the poor and lower-middle peasants confidence and determination in fighting against the flood and rebuilding their village. They said with pride: "We'll not bond even under the weight of Mount Tai. We will rebuild Nanpao with our own hands!"
Acting in accordance with Chairman Mao's teaching that "a Communist . . . must have a strong revolutionary will, he must defy all difficulties and strive to overcome them with an unyielding will" and carrying a streamer inscribed with the words "Learn from the Tachai people and rebuild a new Nanpao” the peasants returned to the village in big groups. They held a meeting of pledge on the sandy field. Raising their fists, they shouted in a resounding voice: "We pledge to be self-sufficient the first year after the flood, have more than enough to eat the second year, and build up a new Nanpao the third year."
The heroic Nanpao people upheld the thinking that the people are sure to conquer nature and started vigorously on rebuilding their village.
Working Hard to Support Socialist Construction
The Party and the revolutionary committees at all levels showed deep concern for the heroic Nanpao people, who were engaged in the struggle to build a new Nanpao, and sent them relief supplies. Peasants from neighbouring communes and brigades came to lend a hand.
Should they rely on aid from the state and other places or on their own efforts to surmount the difficulties? Should they put rehabilitation and development of production above everything else or should they lay production aside for the time being and build their houses first? The cadres repeatedly studied Chairman Mao's teachings on "self-reliance" and "hard struggle." They were unanimous in expressing the view: "We only have the duty to make contributions to the state but no right to ask help from it. We must learn from the Tachai spirit and rely on the strength of the masses to seize back the grain lost during the flood." They explained this view in detail at big meetings and in group discussions so that all the commune members became clear-sighted and were filled with militant spirit. All pledged to do everything possible to promote production first even if they had to live temporarily in the open air.
At that time, the early rice that was not destroyed by the flood had ripened, and the late rice transplanting period was drawing near. The flood had caused numerous difficulties for summer harvesting and planting. But in the eyes of the Nanpao people, difficulty was only a paper tiger, which would reveal its brittleness and bend before a strong will. Most of the early rice left on the more than 1,000 mu of paddy-field in the brigade were buried in the mud and rocks, and this made harvesting extremely difficult.
The cadres led the commune members in a tenacious struggle. Defying the sultry heat and treading on burning pebbles, they moved away layer after layer of rocks to recover the ears of rice by hand. Li Chin-jung worked alongside the commune members by day and went from place to place to do mass work by night. His eyes became bloodshot and he was losing weight. The poor and lower-middle peasants said with concern: **Oh, Chin-Jung, you're so worn with hard work!" Li Chin-jung said smilingly: "I would willingly lose some weight in working for the great cause of socialism." With boundless loyalty to Chairman Mao and by dint of hard work, the cadres and peasants of the Nanpao Brigade got back more than 200,000 jin of rice from the sand and rocks in a little over one month.
While busy with the harvesting, they lost no time in transplanting late rice on more than 300 mu of land. Maize and buckwheat were sown in good time on close to GOO mu of land where rice could not be transplanted for the time being. Vegetables were grown in large quantities on what was previously waste land around the village. As the flood had washed away the top soil, the fertility of the farmland in Nanpao had been greatly reduced. The commune members were mobilized to collect farmyard manure, store compost and ashes and dig up pond silt, so that they finally solved the problem of getting adequate fertilizer for the summer planting.
Considering that the Nanpao Brigade had sustained serious damage from the flood, the Party and state exempted it from paying any agricultural tax that year. The Nanpao people, however, cherishing deep proletarian feelings for our great leader Chairman Mao, selected more than 40.000 jin of top-quality early rice gathered ear by ear from the sand and rocks and sent them to the state purchasing station. The comrade in charge at first refused to accept it. but he was later brought round after repeated persuasion by Li Chin-jung and the poor and lower-middle peasants of Nanpao. Every grain of rice is a crystallization of the Nanpao peoples loyalty to Chairman Mao and their lofty spirit of supporting socialist construction and the world revolution.
Chairman Mao teaches: "Ample food and clothing by working with our own hands." The Nanpao people relied on their own strength for everything. While solving the question of self-sufficiency in grain through the summer harvesting and planting, they started to build houses in a planned way. As there were no bricks and tiles, 11 commune members led by MOD Chung-li, a member of the brigade's revolutionary leading group, worked day and night and built a brick kiln with their own hands. Through hard work, a number of houses, farm produce processing workshops, classrooms, stables and pigsties were built quickly.
Rebuilding Their Socialist Home Village
Having won the first battle in wresting grain after the flood, the heroic Nanpao people redoubled their efforts in advancing from victory to victory. The brigade's revolutionary leading group decided to map out an overall plan on a long-term basis and rely on the strength of the masses to build Nanpao into a place more beautiful than before.
As a result of the flood, Nanpao's fertile fields were covered with sand and gravel washed down by the floodwaters. Some were even crusted and were too hard to plough. But difficulties could not intimidate the heroic people armed with Mao Tsetung Thought. Li Chin-jung guided the commune members in studying Chairman Mao's brilliant work The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains. With high morale, they declared: "The land is hard, but the people armed with Mao Tsetung Thought have a will still harder. The Foolish Old Man dug up two mountains with a hoe, why can't we turn up the hard soil?" Having said this, they swarmed to the plots of hard land. Wielding the pickaxes, they started turning up the soil with a will. Many of them had got blisters on their hands and their arms had become swollen from the hacking, but none complained. Wang Ken-yueh, a Communist and a member of the brigade's revolutionary leading group, led a women's shock team in upturning the soil. Taking the heroine Liu Hu-lan, a revolutionary martyr, as their example, they fought side by side with the men, wielding pickaxes weighing 7 or 8 jin. In this way. the commune members worked round the clock fur a week, eating and resting at the construction site, and finally had all the land turned up.
One of the dams in Nanpao was swept away by the unusual flood. The Nanpao people decided to build a higher and more solid dam across the river. It was bitter winter and the north wind howled. Snow fell in big flakes for days on end. But the work site was bustling with activity, with the builders vying with each other.
After the hard battle throughout the winter, the Nanpao people built across the river a dam four metres high, 20 metres wide and 700 metres long.
Now that floods were harnessed with the building of the dam, what should the Nanpao people do in times of drought? Proceeding from Chairman Mao's great strategic concept "Be prepared against war, lie prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people," they decided to bring the paddyfields under irrigation by naturally running water, so that good harvests could be ensured even in a long spell of severe drought. While building the big dam, they embarked on the project of drilling a tunnel through the mountains to lead the water to the fields. The youngsters of the youth shock team vied with one another to undertake this tough job. Though the arms of those wielding the hammers were swollen and the hands of those holding the billets bled, none of them complained.
In order to complete the project at an early date, more than ten young people pressed on day and night. The one-metre-long billets were worn down one after another. By using their tough hands, they finished in some three months the job of drilling a 114-mclre-long, 2.5-mel re-wide tunnel to lead in the water.
* * *
The unusual flood disaster, which was a bad thing, was turned into a good thing. It tested the cadres, tempered the masses, educated the younger generation and steeled the Nanpao people's will of daring to struggle and to win. It stimulated their revolutionary spirit of hard work and indomitable courage. By relying on invincible Mao Tsetung Thought and on their industrious hands, they built on the devastated areas 245 rooms for the commune members, installed electric lights for every household and loudspeakers everywhere in the village, and built a farm produce processing workshop and a sawmill They also set up a Hsinhua bookstore and a shop and opened a canteen and a health centre. The new livestock farm has over 400 pigs, more than 20 sheep and nearly 100 draught cattle. Standing high across the river, the huge dam protects 500 mu of low-lying fields from Hood. A network of reservoir, ponds and power-operated pumping stations supplies 1,000 mu of top rate fields with abundant water. The year it was hit by the unusual flood, the brigade reaped over 500.000 jin of grain, more than enough for its own needs, thereby creating a miracle after a flood.
The heroic Nanpao people are conscientiously studying Chairman Mao's great theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. They regard their achievements as a starting point for continuing the revolution. They are determined to closely follow Chairman Mao and never bow before difficulties. They pledge to work under the leadership of the brigade's Party branch and build Nanpao into a mighty socialist bastion which will never collapse under the impact of floods or be subdued by difficulties and which can stand all tests during a war.
Source: Peking Review, No. 35, August 28, 1970
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