Editor's note: To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, we are launching the “Outstanding CPC Members in the PLA” series, featuring the heroes and role models in the PLA who have made selfless dedication to defending the country, serving the people and building a strong military. The following is the second story of the series.
The memorial park for martyr Dong Cunrui, a model member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and renowned national combat hero is located on the east bank of Yixun River in Longhua county, Hebei province. In the memorial park, a 19-meter-tall granite monument is standing among the verdant pines and cypresses, which stands for Dong Cunrui's age — 19 — when he died. On the monument is inscribed the epigraph written by the then Commander-in-chief of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Zhu De in 1957 meaning eternity to Dong Cunrui, who sacrificed himself for the country.
Dong was born to a poor rural family in Huailai county, Hebei province in 1929. He joined the Eighth Route Army in July 1945 when he was only 16, and became a member of the CPC in 1947. Dong Cunrui had a good command of military skills and was resourceful and brave in combats, ever went alone to capture more than 10 enemies in a battle. He won major merit citations for three times and minor merit citations for four times, and was appointed a squad leader. His squad was also awarded the title of “Dong Cunrui Military Training Model Squad by the Division.
On May 25, 1948, the PLA launched an attack at the Kuomintang troops entrenched in the Longhua county seat, and Dong Cunrui’s company was responsible for seizing the Longhua Middle School heavily defended by Kuomintang troops. Dong, head of the demolition team, led his fellow soldiers to successfully blow up four gun turrets and five forts, completing their task with flying colors. The PLA troops then charged ahead, but was countered by strong fire from a hidden fortress and blocked in a open ground. PLA soldiers launched two charges attempting to reach and blow up the hidden fortress, but failed with casualties. At this critical moment, Dong Cunrui volunteered to destroy the enemy’s hidden fortress. He asked his company commander to let him take this perilous task because he was a Party member. He took the explosives and moved all the way to the hidden fortress despite a wound on his left leg. As the bridge fortress was too high above ground and there was no abutment to place the explosives, Dong, not wasting a minute, held the explosives up with his left hand and pulled the fuse with his right hand. The fortress was blown up, and Dong Cunrui, only 19 years old at the time, blazed a path forward for the PLA troops with his own life.
On June 8, 1948, Dong Cunrui was honored posthumously by the 11th Corps of the PLA Northeast Field Army as a combat hero and exemplary CPC member, with his squad being named the “Dong Cunrui Squad”. At the National Combat Heroes and model workers Representatives Conference held in 1950, Dong was posthumously honored as National Combat Hero.
In 2009, Dong Cunrui was selected as one of the “100 Heroes and Models Making Extraordinary Contributions to the Founding of the People’s Republic of China”.