Source: Global Times Published: 2019-8-28
China has announced a list of 36 nominees for its highest state honor to commemorate their devotion to China's development in key sectors, sending a strong signal to society on honoring heroes and greatly stimulating Chinese people's sense of patriotism.
The list includes eight for national medals and 28 for honorary titles. They are pioneers in national defense, foreign affairs, science and technology, border protection and other fields.
Officials in charge of the nomination told the Xinhua News Agency that since 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People Republic of China (PRC), the Communist Party of China Central Committee decided, for the first time, to choose candidates for national medals and honorary titles to commend them for outstanding contributions to the building and development of the PRC.
Amid the global economic downward and trade war initiated by the US, analysts noted that the nomination also will help enhance the sense of patriotism and sacrifice among Chinese people, especially the young generation, and inspire them to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The Global Times found that the nominees are from all walks of life, including six academicians, eight PLA soldiers and veterans, and two medical staff.
Professor Gao Mingxuan, 91, is one of the 28 nominees for honorary titles. He is a renowned contemporary jurist and law educator, the main founder and pioneer of new China's criminal law.
Gao told the Global Times on Wednesday that he feels grateful for the recognition of the Party and the government.
"I will never forget the Party's cultivation and will continue to work hard," Gao said. As the only candidate from the legal sector, Gao said his nomination has inspired the law community.
"I hope my earnest attitude and sense of responsibility on academic research will set an example to the young generation," Gao said.
The Global Times also found 12 of the nominees have been awarded "Reform Pioneer" medals. The award is an honorary title given by the Chinese government to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, commending what they have done to help realize the country's remarkable progress.
The average age of the eight nominees for national medals is 91. For the 28 nominees for honorary titles, the youngest was born in 1987 and the eldest in 1918. Ten of the nominees had passed away.
Observers noted that the list, which highlights their heroic spirit, sends a strong signal to society on cherishing and honoring heroes.
For example, two war heroes are among the eight nominees. One of them, Li Yannian, was involved in more than 20 battles, such as the War of Liberation (1946-49) and the Korean War (1950-53), and greatly contributed to the establishment and defense of the PRC.
The nominees for honorary titles include Wang Jicai, former director of Kaishan island's militia post in East China's Jiangsu Province, who stayed in the island for 32 years, and Burumahan Maoleduo, a border guard of the Jigen township in Wuqi county, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who has patrolled the border for 50 years.
The youngest nominee for honorary titles is PLA soldier Shen liangliang, who was born in 1987 and died in 2016 for saving his comrade. In May 2016, he went to Mali for the fourth batch of peacekeeping missions. He encountered terrorist attacks in his mission and directed his comrades to fire at the targets. He pushed his comrades away from a car bomb explosion, and sacrificed his life for the safety of other army personnel. Shen was named a martyr.
Chinese netizens showed their respect to the listed heroes, hoping all of them could finally earn the title because they had or have silently committed to the country, and that the country needs more people like them.
Yang Yucai, a professor at China's National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, noted that what sets the national medals and honorary titles apart from other medals is that the medals and titles are given to those who have sacrificed for the country's peace, especially in wartime, showing that the central government aims to strengthen the Chinese people's national identity, stimulate their sense of patriotism and inspire them to contribute to the country's stability and peace.
"Young people are increasingly immersing themselves in forms of entertainment. The list is not only a compliment to old heroes, but also a call to future heroes," Yang told the Global Times.
Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, said the nominees' stories are a microcosm of China's struggles in the past 70 years. Awarding them under current social situation will help rally strength and encourage people to move forward.
Scholars from China's national defense and science and technology sector account for a large portion of the list, including Yu Min, Ye Peijian, and Nan Rendong.
Yu is called "Father of China's hydrogen bomb." He started studying theoretical physics at the age of 20 in 1946, began research dedicated to the development of the country's first H-bomb in 1961. Yu passed away at the age of 93 in Beijing in January.
Ye Peijian, the "father of Chang'e lunar probes," is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He played key role in the country's lunar probe missions, including the Chang'e-4 mission which achieved the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.
Nan Rendong, former chief scientist and chief engineer of the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is the founding scientist of the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope.
"They are more than deserving of such an honor," said Yu Jia, project manager of the Germany-developed LND instrument onboard Chang'e-4 from the University of Kiel in Germany.
The country's aerospace development was fortunate to have been led by such figures who contributed their lives in the field, and what inspires the young generation of engineers and scientists most is their craftsmanship, Yu said.
Other nominees include Hong Kong's first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, who was nominated for his contributions to the smooth transition of Hong Kong to China and implementing the "one country, two systems" principle. And Li Daoyu, 87, a former Chinese ambassador to the US, was nominated for his achievements in properly addressing China-US relations and "resolutely safeguarding national interests."
China launched an honor system in 2017. Apart from national medals and honorary titles, there are three other medals for Party members, military personnel and foreigners.
Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.