Sixteen years after a miraculous rescue


Chongqing Evening News, April 9, 2010

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Chongqing Evening News has been revisiting some of the notable stories in its archives.

Today’s installment seems inspired by the “miraculous rescue” narrative found in this week’s reporting on mining disaster in Shanxi Province. The paper tracked down Zeng Shuhua, who had his own miraculous rescue in 1996:

On April 30 sixteen years ago, a landslide occurred in the township of Xingshun in Wulong County. Twenty-year-old road worker Zeng Shuhua and two others were trapped in a mountain cave. After his two companions died, Zeng relied on his stubborn will to live to survive being buried for forty days without food until he was rescued. (Chongqing Evening News, July 18, 1996)

In today’s follow-up, Zeng explained a little about how the experience changed his life:

Zeng Shuhua said that once the Chongqing Evening News printed the report about his rescue after being buried in a mountain cave for forty days, many curious people he had never met came to the hospital to visit him, praising the courage and persistence he showed in that desperate situation and encouraging him to recover soon.

“One of the kind people who visited me was a senior leader with the Taiji Group, who asked in detail about my recovery status and then invited me to work at Taiji.” Zeng emotionally described how he had been a lowly migrant worker building roads before the incident, and would never have imagined that after that ordeal he would be given the opportunity to work in a large company. “The leader took my hand and heartily encouraged me to face life with determination, and said that I shouldn’t worry about my future, because there’s no obstacle that can’t be overcome.”

So after he recovered and was discharged from the hospital, Zeng Shuhua went to work in an office at Taiji’s Fuling Pharmaceutical Factory in Chongqing. He worked as a typist and in labor discipline management, and he matured over the course of various positions until in April 2006 he was transferred to the Taiji Group’s arms outside of Chongqing, working in the Zhengzhou and Urumqi offices. He now works in bookkeeping at the Nanjing office.

“If I hadn’t been trapped in the cave, I’d probably still be a farmer. It’s only because of that experience that I left the countryside and went to the city to work. It was something I had never even dreamed of before.” Zeng said that on a certain level, even though being trapped in a mountain cave for forty days was a horror he will never forget, it was a turning point for his life and work.

The original article does not seem to be available online, so we have no way of comparing its tone to the sloganeering that has blanketed the news media in the wake of the Wangjialing mine disaster and rescue.

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