Retiree, 93, recalls Party spirit at country’s first Steel factory

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BEIJING: One of the first State-owned iron and steel companies in the People’s Republic of China — Baogang — continues to call forth warm memories for those who worked there in the early years. It was a key economic driver for the newly organized nation.
“My years at Baogang left a deep impression,” said Gao Lingxiao, a 93-year-old company retiree. “People like me from around the country were devoted to Baogang and the development of Inner Mongolia. I am so proud of Baogang.”
Gao was born in 1928 in Tangshan, Hebei province. She moved to Beijing in 1953 to work with her husband in what was then the Department of Industry. In 1954, the country started to build Baogang as one of 156 major projects of the first Five-Year Plan (1953-57).
Faced with financial difficulties and a shortage of human resources, Baogang gained the support of companies and people from 22 provinces. Gao and her husband were among the 80,000 who volunteered to help.
“Going to the most difficult places — that is the spirit of a Party member,” Gao said. “The living conditions in Baotou were far worse than in Beijing. Sand was everywhere. There was no shelter for a canteen. We ate rice with sand. But we never thought it was hard.”
Her family then moved from Beijing to Baotou.
Gao worked in Baogang’s publicity department. When she retired, she was office director.
“I still remember the natural disasters and lack of food. We were encouraged to save food for workers,” she said.
As one of the country’s three main iron and steel companies, Baogang was put into production in 1959. Since then its aggregate market value has soared in a steady trend.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item