Mixed views on a famous revolutionary figure
Revolutionary icon Lei Feng is memorialized in a popular Cultural Revolution-era propaganda film / YouTube
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chinese revolutionary icon Lei Feng's death.
Beijing seems to be re-conjuring Lei's image, sparking several trends on Sina Weibo with hash-tags #Do You Remember Lei Feng?# and #Lei Feng is in our hearts#.
Everything Beijing has wanted Chinese people to be, since the founding of the People's Republic, Lei exemplified in his diary.
Lei Feng was an orphan who became a member of the Communist youth and was virtually raised by the Party. At the age of 21, while serving in the People's Liberation Army, Lei died in an automobile accident. What is believed to have been his journal was first presented to the Chinese public by Lin Biao -- Chairman Mao Zedong's erstwhile right-hand man.
In the diary, Lei wrote of selfless deeds for his country and compatriots as well as an undying devotion to the tenets of Mao Zedong thought.
It seems Beijing is digging up the deceased patriot once again. In a spread entitled "Lei Feng Continues to Lead By Example," national newspaper China Daily writes that this year Beijing hopes the 50th anniversary of his death will "encourage altruism" in a country where "many people are still reeling from several shocking events in 2011, including the death of a 2- year-old girl who was ignored by passers-by after being run over [by a car]."