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September 18, 2009

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'Iron Man' story still inspires the nation

WATCHING the new film "Iron Man," Tan Lei, a sophomore from Daqing City in Heilongjiang Province, had tears in her eyes.

"The 'iron man' shall never be forgotten," Tan said. "He sacrificed everything, even his life, for China."

China's "Iron Man" was oil driller Wang Jinxi.

In September 2009, nearly 39 years after his death, Wang - who drilled the first well at China's largest oil field in Daqing - was voted by the public as one of the 100 most notable figures in New China's history.

In January, Wang was selected as one of the nation's 10 most influential figures in the past 100 years by China Comment, one of the country's leading magazines.

Wang, as the first national role-model in the industrial sector, inspired numerous people in the work force, the magazine wrote.

"I felt blessed to have the opportunity to represent the heroism that touched the whole country," said Wu Gang, the actor who plays Wang in the film.

Wang was known for his determination and famously said: "I would give up 20 years of life so that China can produce oil on its own land." When he first arrived at the oil field in Daqing, it was an uninhabited wetland.

He and 30 others manually carried 60 tons of equipment from a railway station to the oil field.

"We have to do everything possible. And we have to make the impossible possible," Wang once said to his co-workers.

Now the words are a motto for Chinese from all walks of life.

The heavy workload damaged Wang's health and he died of stomach cancer at age 47 in 1970.

September 26, 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Daqing oil field.


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