The posthumous poster boy for China's pursuit of communist purity. This man was formerly supposed to be a truck-driver for the PLA (People's Liberation Army), and when he got a copy of the Little Red Book, he started teaching it to everyone he saw on his trips with the army. For some odd reason, he found those blurbs inspiring. I certainly didn't.

He had charisma, that's for sure, and he spread the word of Mao Zedong far and wide. He was possibly one of the driving forces in the deification of Mao, at least before he was killed in a traffic accident, when he was crushed under another truck.

Mao and his cronies, seeing this as an opportunity for a martyr, with himself as a God, grabbed his example and called him a "martyr for the great people". Everyone was force-fed their share of Lei Feng and told he was the example to follow (even though he was dead and buried already). Children were the main targets of this campaign, they could relate to the "superhero" status this guy was given.

The fuss over the deeds of this dead guy stopped pretty much in the 1980's, however, he is still used as an example of dedication in schools in China today. In fact, two years ago, I was fed with Lei Feng dogma myself. I found the story pretty ridiculous, but I admit, that Mao Zedong was a pretty shrewd propagandist.

Mao Zedong was a master propagandist; nearly everyone agrees that there was no Lei Feng, or that if there was, he did almost nothing ascribed to him. However, posters, plays, operas, and films extolled his heroism, and there are even statues of the rosy-cheeked, muscular hero. He was supposed to be the archetype of the new Chinese citizen. Many kids grew up idolizing the invented hero.

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