Regular readers of WiC will know of Lei Feng, the army officer killed by a falling telegraph poll in 1962. After his death, Lei’s superiors were said to have discovered a diary in which he waxed lyrical about his love for leader Mao Zedong, and the joy he derived from daily work like volunteering to help railway porters during busy holidays. In 1963 Mao ordered that the diary be published so that people could “learn from Lei Feng”.
Whether or not Lei’s writing was a fabrication, he soon became China’s iconic do-gooder. And for Anhui’s Zhang Yidong, Lei is such an inspiration that’s he had plastic surgery to look more like him.
Zhang has earned media attention himself for his good deeds and said a local hospital had offered to do the operation for free. He agreed so as to keep alive the spirit of his idol. As he told Beijng Times: “Since I had the facelift, I have become more energetic and have more self-confidence in firmly taking the road of Lei Feng. In my lifetime I will do my best to make those who need help feel there is still love and warmth in this society.”
According to Southern Weekend, Zhang plans to submit an application to have his name changed to Lei Feng too. When challenged that his idol’s behaviour might be a touch mythical, Zhang becomes indignant. “Those who denigrate Comrade Lei Feng should be organised to form a class, where I will serve as the instructor to give them a good lesson,” he suggests. Zhang (post-facelift) is pictured below right, and an image of Lei is on the left.
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