Feature: Centenarian keeps confidence in CPC
At the age of 103, Zhang Shouzhong, a retired Second World War veteran, insists on doing two things every day: studying the policies and knowledge of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and doing some outdoor exercises.
Living by himself in a community in the northwest of Beijing, Zhang maintains an independent and self-disciplined life, and sticks to the oath he made in joining the CPC, after he became a Party member in July last year.
The veteran had cherished the dream for more than 80 years, but having served in the Kuomintang (KMT) forces during the war, he never acted upon it.
The shift in his mindset came in 2015, when Zhang received a medallion to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which was issued by the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission.
"With the medal, I believe that the veterans like me were not forgotten," he said.
In March 2018, Zhang submitted his application to join the Party to the Party branch of his local community in Haidian District of Beijing.
"Over the past century, I have experienced profound social changes, from the suffering in the old society to the sweet life under the leadership of the Communist Party of China," Zhang wrote in his application letter.
In 1936, 19-year-old Zhang joined the KMT troops and became a driver. In 1937, when the KMT united with the CPC in the war against Japanese aggression, Zhang was sent to drive for the Eighth Route Army led by the CPC.
"I was surprised by the equal relations between soldiers and officers of the Eighth Route Army. The commander ate and slept together with us. The food was simple. We only had steamed bread, no meat, no vegetables, not even pickles," Zhang recalled.
He said the seeds of joining the CPC were planted in his heart at that time. But he hesitated due to his working experience for the KMT. He did not join the CPC or the KMT at that time.
In August 1945, Zhang witnessed the ceremony to mark the Japanese surrender in Zhijiang, central China's Hunan Province.
After the founding of New China, Zhou worked as a driver in Beijing Forestry College, the predecessor of Beijing Forestry University.
After retirement, Zhang was re-hired by the school to help with some back-office work, such as writing posters with his handsome calligraphy. He retired in the real sense at the age of 83.
Turning 104 in September, Zhang has no worries about living a solitary life, as he believes the elderly care services in his community are reliable.
He said community workers make regular door-to-door visits to the elderly and offer free services such as haircuts. All the residents aged over 80 enjoy family doctor hotline service.
"Our Party has gone through 100 years of glorious history and is still full of vigor," he said. "I have full confidence in the Party."