China's first female tractor driver and national icon dies

China Plus Published: 2020-01-16 16:58:04
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Liang Jun, a woman who became China's first female(女的 nǚ de) tractor(拖拉机 tuōlājī) driver, and eventually a national icon, has died at the age of 90.

In 1948, Liang enrolled in a training class(培训班 péixùn bān) for tractor drivers in 1948 and became the only female in China to take up the job, according to a report by the BBC.

An image(形象 xíngxiàng) of her proudly driving a tractor was featured on China's one-yuan banknote.

"No-one could drive as well as me," she had said in an earlier interview. "I have no regrets in this life."

China's one-yuan banknote featuring Liang Jun. [Photo from CCTV News' Weibo account]

China's one-yuan banknote featuring Liang Jun. [Photo from CCTV News' Weibo account]

Liang was born in 1930 to a poor family in northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The BBC says local Chinese media reported that Liang was the only female student in a class of 70. She eventually completed her training and became the country's first female tractor driver.

In 1962, China began printing banknotes(纸币 zhǐbì) that featured an image of her driving a tractor, the BBC report says.

Liang's story was also printed in textbooks(课本 kèběn) and is said to have inspired(激励 jīlì) dozens of other women in China to become tractor drivers.

In 1990, she retired from her position as chief engineer of the Harbin municipal bureau of agricultural machines - marking the end of several decades in the industry.

In recent years however, Liang Jun battled various illnesses, shifting in and out of consciousness, and was eventually confined to her bed, BBC quoted media reports as saying.

Her son, Wang Yanbing, said she had passed away "peacefully" on Monday.

"She had put up a good fight," he told a Harbin news outlet. "She was always happiest when people talked about her as China's first female tractor driver."

(Story includes material sourced from BBC.)

Ways to say "died" in Chinese:

逝世 [shì shì] (showing respect) pass away; die
去世 [qù shì] <婉语:gentle words>(of grown-ups)die; pass away
夭折 [yāo zhé] (of children)die
死亡 [sǐ wáng] die
丧生 [sàng shēng] get killed; lose one's life:
亡故 [wáng gù] die; pass away; decease
作古 [zuò gǔ] <书面语 written language> <婉语:gentle words>
圆寂 [yuán jì] (of buddhist monks or nuns) pass away, die
牺牲 [xī shēng] lay down one's life for a just cause
升天 [shēng tiān] ( superstition)go to heaven, die
走了 [zǒu le] <婉语:gentle words> pass away

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