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September 1, 2009

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Wang completes his historic mission

AFTER an arduous five-month journey, Shanghai-native adventurer Wang Longxiang has completed a motorcycle trek that covered 31 provinces and regions on the Chinese mainland.

To pay tribute to the Communist Party of China's victory during the Chinese Civil War (1945-49), Wang started the journey on March 26 this year from Shanghai's Changzheng (Long March) Middle School and visited more than 100 historic sites, memorials, museums and old battlefields around the country. He returned to the school on August 20.

"Since I spent less time on the first half of the itinerary, the adventure was one week less than I had expected," Wang says.

The 52-year-old has more than 30 years of motorcycling experience. On his Chinese-made machine, Wang once covered the route taken by the Red Army during the Long March (1934-35), as well as an exploration of nearly 200 cities that were former battlefields during China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

Wang also holds the Guinness World Record for being the first man to ride a motorcycle across the Taklimakan Desert and Lop Nur in 2002.

However, this latest journey had a special meaning for him because this year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

About 25 local university students took part in the adventure with Wang when he traveled to historic sites in Henan and Hebei provinces.

Every night Wang and the students had long talks to look back at history. Many students say the journey would have a big influence on their outlook on life.

"We were touched by some little-known stories about the ordinary people who had sacrificed their lives in the glorious cause of the foundation of New China," Wang says.

"Without their hard work, dedication and belief, we couldn't live a happy life. We must cherish the things that we own now."

Though Wang had made full preparations for this journey, he still encountered some unexpected situations. But he was aware that it was mission impossible for any adventurer to foresee what might happen in the wilderness.

"When I tried to traverse a steep mountain in the Tibet Autonomous Region, it suddenly began to snow heavily," Wang recalls. "I had to stop riding until the weather cleared up."

In addition to the challenges of extreme temperatures and hazardous mountain roads, Wang had to endure some tough conditions. Sometimes there was very little food available and he had to rely on instant noodles and fried rice.

"The journey also gave me a new record in my life - eating only one meal for two days," Wang says with a grin. He didn't reveal plans for his next adventure, saying he wanted to take a good rest.

His motorcycle, map and flag, as well as photos and video clips from the journey will be on display later this year at local universities and middle schools.


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