Lei Feng, a modest soldier devoted to hard work and helping others, was elevated to the rank of national hero by Mao Ze-Dong in 1963. Numerous "Learn from Lei Feng" propaganda campaigns made him an extremely popular personality and the preferred socialist hero of China?s youth.
Ready your tear-dabbing handkerchief. Descended from a poor peasant family, Lei Feng possesses an impeccable pedigree: His father killed by the Japanese, his elder brother a victim of disease, his small brother lost due to starvation and his mother a suicidee. Orphaned at 7, he joins the Communist Youth League at 16 and the army at 20. He becomes a model worker and soldier celebrated during his lifetime, an exceptional situation for someone so young and, all in all, so ordinary.
He has the good taste to die at 22, leaving to the propaganda services the liberty to polish an already exemplary biography. In his diary - likely bogus - Lei Feng writes that he "wants to work diligently to become a good soldier of the Mao Ze-Dong era, and a model party member." And that he aspires to be "a revolutionary screw that never rusts."