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 Report From Taching Oilfield: A New Type of Industrial and Mining Area


Report From Taching Oilfield: A New Type of Industrial and Mining Area

by Our Correspondent

Source: Peking Review, No. 53, December 31, 1971
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

"In industry, learn from Taching." TheTaching Oilfield has been commended by Chairman Mao as a red banner on China's industrial front. From exploration to development, Taching has consistently followed the road of developing industry under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line.
   Following is the third article on the Taching Oilfield. The first, "Wang Chin-hsi — Outstanding Representative of the Chinese Working Class," and the second, "Motivation Behind Heroic Deeds" were published in "Peking Review" Nos. 47 and 50, 1971.— Ed.

FIELDS sown to grain are scattered among the many wells of the Taching Oilfield. There are no crowded towns in this oil area. A combination of city and rural features, settlements of oil workers and their families are linked by a network of highways. The first stage of a new type of socialist industrial and mining area has been established. It is characterized by the integration of industry and farming as well as of city and countryside and this arrangement benefits both production and people's lives.

Industry Combined With Agriculture

When Chairman Mao inspected the Wuhan Iron and Steel Company in 1958, he pointed out: "Step by step, big enterprises like the Wuhan Iron and Steel Company can be built up as integrated complexes. . . . To some extent, such big enterprises should engage in agriculture, trade, education and military training as well as industry." This instruction pointed out the direction for China's large industrial and mining enterprises and also for the construction of the Taching Oilfield.

   In the initial construction stage, Taching, while engaging in developing the oilfield, made plans for agriculture and side-line occupations.
   To put Chairman Mao's instruction into effect, Wang Chin-hsi, his bedroll on his back, went to the production team for farming and side-line occupation that had just been set up by his drilling brigade in the spring of 1961. When it started thawing, he led his workmates in turning the soil. They got hold of some scrap iron and built small furnaces and made a few hundred spades and hoes. The team reclaimed 200 mu of waste land and got more than 450 jin of maize per mu in 1961.
   When the drive to take part in farming and side-occupations got under way throughout the area, a farm was set up in 1961. It now has scores of tractors and combine harvesters. Tens of thousands of mu of waste land have been reclaimed for growing wheat and soya bean and rearing deer. The 1,000 farm workers there include oil workers, some housewives and middle school graduates in the Taching area who had been recruited.
   In addition to doing their own jobs very well, the different branches of the oilfield, depending on their respective work situation, grow vegetables and crops and also raise pigs.
   There is a women oil extracting team with more than 100 members. Besides looking after great numbers of wells, they cultivate around the wells dozens of mu of land sown to vegetables, sunflower, potato and maize and raise 20 pigs. The team has set up a squad in charge of farming and side-occupations, its members being drawn from those who are not strong enough to work at the wells. The workers take part in farming in rotation.
   The No. 1 Drilling Brigade moves from place to place. When finishing one job, they have to go elsewhere for another. But they too have their own plots for farming and side-occupations. Except for a small number of people responsible for the management work, all the drilling workers go to work in their plots in rotation.
   Workers' families are an important farming and side-line production force in the oilfield. The story of "five spades make revolution" had a big influence on the local populace.
   After work started on the oilfield, many workers* families joined them in Taching. The workers' heroic deeds of working hard on the job stimulated the revolutionary spirit of their families.
   For example, Hsuch Kuei-fang, a woman over 40 years old, said: "We family members can stand the severest test as well as the men. They can get oil out of the earth and we can produce grain from the soil." She got other housewives to study Chairman Mao's teachings on "self-reliance" and "hard struggle" in responding to the oilfield Party committee's call to reclaim waste land through collective effort.
   It was a cold and windy day in spring 1962 when Hsueh Kuei-fang and four women in their 20s set out with five spades for a piece of waste land some 30 li from where they lived. They stayed in a shack for drilling workers. Next morning they began to work, weeding and turning the soil. After three days of hard work, they succeeded in reclaiming five mu of land. This news encouraged 18 other women to join the work. They brought with them a wooden plough which they borrowed and started sowing. Over 3,000 jin of grain were harvested that autumn.
   The news of this event in the oilfield brought-on a big response by many workers' dependents to take part in farm production.

Maturing in Struggle

   Liu Shao-chi and his agents on the industrial front heaped abuse on the Taching workers for engaging in agriculture and side-occupations because thus, they said, "runs counter to the division of labour." They slandered housewives' reclaiming waste land as "damaging the grassland." Their interference was firmly rejected by the Taching workers.
   On May 7, 1966, Chairman Mao pointed out: "While mainly engaging in industrial activity, workers should also study military affairs and politics and raise their educational level. They, too, should carry out the socialist education movement and criticize and repudiate the bourgeoisie. Where conditions permit, they should also engage in agriculture and side-occupations, just as people do in the Taching Oilfield." This directive of Chairman Mao's confirmed the Taching workers' orientation of combining industry with agriculture and greatly encouraged them and their families.
   Along with the increase in oil wells and construction on the oilfield, clusters of newly reclaimed land sprang up, and the scale of agriculture and side-occupations was rapidly enlarged.
   With the oilfield engaging in agriculture and side-occupations, industry and agriculture supported and promoted each other. The first stage in building the oilfield came at a time of natural calamities for successive years and temporary economic difficulties in China. Because the oil workers reclaimed waste land to produce grain and vegetables by themselves, their living conditions improved considerably. Cultivated acreage has now increased 11-fold and the oilfield is basically self-r sufficient in vegetables. Some units are gradually becoming self-supporting in meat.
   In slack seasons, those working in the agricultural section help the workers in construction on the oilfield. On its part, industry provides facilities for the development of farming. With the help of the refinery workers, four housewives built a shack covered with roof felt to work in. They used some discarded material to make reaction vessels and other simple equipment. They produced some 500 tons of highly efficient phosphate fertilizer from refinery waste. Workers in charge of the water supply and electricity helped dig wells and set up drainage and irrigation stations for a farming and side-line production unit in the vicinity. The 400 mu sown to wheat in the unit got 500 jin per mu. Workers help plant and harvest crops every year in the spring and autumn farm seasons.
   Apart from some 100 primary schools and middle schools, there is a petroleum institute in the oilfield and a great number of workers' spare-time schools. A division of people's militia has been set up.

Industrial-Agricultural Settlements

   Traditionally, building a modernized oilfield requires constructing a huge "oil city" where welfare facilities are concentrated. But this would involve big expense and building would be slow. It would also be inconvenient for workers' family to take part in collective productive labour.
   Firmly opposing this method of construction and considering the fact that the wells were scattered, the workers built simple and scattered settlements using whatever material was available locally. They and their family members said that while setting a high standard for themselves politically and maintaining high quality in production, they must adhere to the revolutionary tradition of living simply and frugally. Learning from the local peasants, they built houses with wooden beams, mud walls and roofs made of reed and mud. Such dwellings can be built quickly and the cost is only one-fourth of a brick house. Great numbers of these settlements were set up.
   One area of these settlements, Red Satellite, had been a barren place ten years ago.
   There are some 1,400 oil workers' households in this area which includes a central village and five neighbouring settlements. Just outside the village are more than 6,000 mu of crops and oil wells. It is only a few minutes' walk from the working places to the living quarters. Each residence has two or three rooms according to the size of the family. Natural gas is provided for cooking and heating. The rooms are sunny during the day and well-lighted by electricity at night.
   Each settlement has a grain shop, department store, tailor and clothing repair team, and day nurseries to look after two-month to seven-year-old children. A parent can take a child to the nursery in the morning and bring it back home after work. Mothers get time off from work to nurse infants at fixed hours. With the exception of the aged and infirm, all women hold down jobs. The facilities available to them have considerably lightened their household burdens. Each settlement has a primary school, and nearby clinics handle common and endemic diseases. Housewives don't have to go outside the settlement to get what they want in their daily needs.
   The central village is only 1 to 1.5 km. from neighbouring settlements. In it is a mill with more than 150 workers and their dependents making screws. Production here covers all the needs of the oilfield. There also is a food processing factory, winery, bean-curd and soya bean sauce mills, canteen, bookshop, post office, photo studio, bath houses and radio repair shop. In addition there is a school with 1,500 students, in which nine years of primary and middle school education are given, a health centre where patients are treated by both traditional and Western medicine and where minor operations can be handled; the health centre also has more than 50 beds.
   A network of production and residential areas like Red Satellite is scattered over the oil area.
   A now generation is growing up in this new type of industrial and mining centre. Its members can work, farm, write articles and they can pick up a gun and fight the enemy.
   Lu Hua is one example of this new generation. Now 21 years old, she became an oil worker after graduating from a middle school in 1968. The wells she works on have yielded a steady and high output for a long lime. Learning the necessary scientific technique, she is able to do a good job in analysing oil wells and handling difficult problems that arise. In the fields, Lu Hua is good at applying fertilizer, sowing, cutting and threshing. She often writes articles criticizing Liu Shao-chi and poems in praise of our socialist motherland. At evening get-togethers, she and her comrades present their own song and dance items about outstanding accomplishments and workers in their team. A member of the militia, she has distinguished herself as a good marksman in rifle practice.
   Lu Hua exemplifies the new generation brought up by our Party according to Chairman Mao's "May 7" instruction.

Source: Peking Review, No. 53, December 31, 1971
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


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