for more than 60 years and stayed true to his original aspirations. As a s
oldier, Zhang defended the country; as a civilian, he works for the people’s well-being, Xi said.
Zhang lives a life of simplicity, purity and indifference to fame and fortune, serving as a role
model for military officers, rank-and-file soldiers and veterans across the country, Xi said.
Zhang, a member of the CPC, was a soldier of Brigade 359 of the Northwest Field Ar
my, one of the main forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army during the Liberation War between 1945 and 1949.
He was honored by the Northwest Field Army sever
al times for performing meritorious deeds as he braved enemy fire. He was twice given the honorary title of C
nd for decades and witnessed local farmers’ continuous battles against sandstorms.
“It didn’t just feel like a black storm, it was as if the whole desert was approachi
ng,” recalls Liu Conghui, a writer who was born, and still lives, near the farm Wang once worked.
As the menacing sandstorms made the area increasingly inhospitable, Liu’s whole community planned to up sticks.
To restore the local ecosystem, the Chinese government launched
a 10.7 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) project in 2001. A set of measures were adopted such as sav
ing water, converting farmland into grassland, providing treatment for dry riverways and building dams. In addition to t
hose measures, industrial and agricultural use of water in cities and counties along the river was limited.
Over the past two decades, Xinjiang has infused 7.7 billion cubic meters of water into
the dry trunk stream of the lower reaches of the Tarim River in 19 rounds of water diversion.