It’s quite amazing the lengths that some selfless cadres will go to in their official duties – even if it comes at the cost of their own life. One sad example is 29-year-old Zhu Jihong, whose promising career was cut short on July 24 after a well-deserved toilet break suddenly turned fatal.
According to an online forum post by a work colleague named “Wanggouyou”, Zhu was enjoying a typical routine of toil that began with an early lunch. Afterwards, Zhu “surfed the internet as usual and chatted with his girlfriend online. He promised to meet her later and logged off… later he went to the bathroom and fell.”
In recognition of Zhu’s tireless devotion to the grind, Sichuan officials immediately recognized his status as an “Outstanding Party Member” for dying “in the line of duty” and granted his family a pension equivalent to four years’ salary.
This tale of dignified public service would end there, were it not for the thankless reaction of local “netizens”, who seem to think that having a bowl of noodles, some sweet-talk on QQ, followed by a leisurely crap somehow does not constitute the “line of duty”.
Perhaps they are unaware that there is a long and heroic tradition of cadres refusing to leave work behind, even during leisure time. Take Changsha County secretary Li Zhen’e who died “on the job” after a business lunch with some Japanese; a post-prandial golf course tour ended up in the rough when Li “jumped on the battery-powered golf cart and tried to drive it himself… lost control and the cart tumbled down a 10-metre slope”.
Or there’s Shenzhen policeman Chen Lusheng, 38, whose reputation for hard-drinking caught up with him at a 2009 official banquet. His refusal to allow his office to lose face by not toasting every ganbei gained him the title of “martyr” from a grateful Party.
Let us hope the ceding of the word “revolutionary” from the term “Revolutionary Martyr” was not a sign that the Chinese government is changing its attitude towards these patriotic go-getters, men who don’t know the meaning of the phrase “work-life balance”.
There are some of us at Shanghaiist who would dearly hate to see the modern worker spirit of Lei Feng so cruelly extinguished.