On the outskirts of ChangSha is the birthplace of the Chinese communist hero Lei Feng. Lei Feng's story, according to western historians, is probably not true. Lei Feng is famous in China for writing a diary, which was found after his death, in which he expounds the greatness of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Mao ZeDong. The diary was discovered at a time when Mao ZeDong's prestige was on the wain after the disaster of The Great Leap Forward and was probably devised by Lin Biao who at that time was head of the PLA. Lei Feng's image and writtings are still used as propoganda today to urge Chinese people to be frugal, selfless and good socialists. March 5th is "Learn from Lei Feng" day in which people are urged to go out and do good deeds in their communities.
Lei Feng was born to a poor family in which his family were either killed by the Japanese in the war or at the hands of capitalist landlords. As a boy he joined the Young Pioneer Movement and later in life worked as a farmer and a steel worker before joining the army as a mechanic.
He died when directing traffic, a lorry reversed into a telegraph pole which broke and fell on him killing him at only 21.
The museum takes you through his life with many exhibits, photographs and paintings of him although there are very few captions in English.
I do find it very hard to believe that a young soldier from a very poor family appeared to have his own personal photographer following him around and taking photos of this young man doing these selfless acts. Photography was very expensive in early communist China with many families having no photographs from this era at all.
Did Lei Feng exist? Probably, but I find it hard to beleive that it is the young man in the photos.
Also on the site is the home where he lived, but not born as the original house was demolished and rebuilt.
There is also a museum showing the history of the Communist Party in Hunan province. There seems to be a huge part of history missing from 1957-1976. Only 1 photo dedicated to the Great Leap Forward and a very small part about the Cultural revolution. I wonder what the high
ranking officials who were murdered and tortured during the Cultural Revolution would think about having their images next to the Great Helmsman.
Enjoy the Photos
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