Do you know what day it is today (March 5)? It’s Leifeng Day! Leifeng is a prototype selfless communist soldier who supposedly lived in the 1950’s. Here’s how a China Daily article this week describes him.
Lei, a transport soldier of the People’s Liberation Army, was always ready to help others. He died in a car accident at the age of 22 in 1962. On March 5, 1963, top leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong, called on the nation to learn from Lei. The day is marked every year with good deeds nationwide.
I say "supposed" because there is some dispute as to whether or not he really existed, or is the creation of the Party Propaganda Department (that would be PR office).
Anyway, all over town today there were banners urging people to xuexi Leifeng (study from Leifgeng), and do good deeds for others. What happens is this: skilled workers set up tables along the side of the road and offer to do things for free (fix TV sets, repair bicycles, translate articles, give haircuts, etc.).
10 years ago I remember the entire month of March being designated "Leifeng Month," but I guess 30 days of this got a bit old. Besides, it only led to the creation of a little ditty that said, "Leifeng comes in March, but disappears in April," which was to say that the so-called spirit of Leifeng (doing good deeds for others) never outlasted the orchestrated campaigns.
So, there you have it. Happy Leifeng Day!