The Taching Spirit and the Taching Men
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 9, #9, Feb. 25, 1966, pp. 3-4.]
Five years ago, Taching was only a grassland. Today it is a modern oilfield, a rapidly rising enterprise which has contributed immensely to China’s self-sufficiency in oil for the first time in history.
But Taching, which has become a household word all over the country, means much more than a petroleum centre. Opened up entirely by Chinese workers, geologists and engineers, it is a landmark in the nation’s oil industry, an example of developing socialist industry by self-reliance, a pace-setter in building socialism the quickest way and with the maximum and best results.
In the process of socialist construction, Taching has trained a new generation of men. They have a high political consciousness and are skilled in their work, combining revolutionary drive with a realistic, scientific approach.
These Taching men working in the Taching spirit have blazed a trail for a Chinese way in oil prospecting and oilfield construction. Their splendid example has given tremendous impetus to the whole nation. Their impact on speeding up China’s industry and other fields of national endeavour cannot be over-estimated. A campaign to emulate the Taching men and the Taching spirit is gathering momentum throughout the country.
Politics in Command
Conditions were extremely trying when work first started at Taching. There were no houses on the vast grasslands while the tools and machines available were not sufficient for the workers to tackle the enormous job. But the workers were not dismayed. They were aware that they had come to Taching not only to conquer Nature but also to smash the blockade of the imperialists and revisionists who were taking advantage of China’s dependence on imported oil.
Inspired by the exploits of Chinese geologists who had painstakingly scoured the country to discover the big oilfield, thereby exploding the false theory spread by Western bourgeois “experts” that China had little or no oil reserves, the workers erected makeshift shacks to keep out the rain and the cold and made do with whatever tools and machines were on hand. Their persistent efforts and determination to extract oil as quickly as possible to meet the nation’s growing needs soon paid off handsomely. The virgin land which had slumbered for ages began to throb with activity. The first barrel of oil was extracted less than a year after construction started. Since large-scale production began in 1963, the wells have been sending trainload after trainload of the precious “black gold” to all parts of the country.
The Man of Iron
Most of this and more of the Taching story was told by Wang Chin-hsi, a well-known model worker from the oilfield, in Peking’s Great Hall of the People on February 16. His graphic account kept the 13,000 people who packed the hall spellbound for three hours. An oilman from the Yumen oilfield in northwest China, Wang went to Taching in 1960. The revolutionary fervour with which he set about his work and his fortitude and resolve in face of near insuperable difficulties earned him the fond nickname Wang the Man of Iron.
Wang Chin-hsi is only one of the many outstanding workers of Taching who, dedicated to the revolution, find in their work something deeper and more far-reaching in significance than a mere struggle to get oil out of the ground. They look upon it as a pressing task in helping their country get rid of its economic backwardness and as part of the struggle against the imperialists and the revisionists who are trying to bully the Chinese people. Always putting politics first, they have tempered themselves to become skilled workers with revolutionary ideals, united in purpose and able to withstand all difficulties. This proletarian revolutionary spirit which emanates from the study and creative application of Mao Tse-tung’s works prevails all over Taching.
Revolutionary Enthusiasm Plus Scientific Approach
Revolutionary enthusiasm alone, of course, would not have enabled them to carry the day. Chairman Mao’s teaching that “man’s correct knowledge comes from social practice” has spurred them on to make thorough investigations, get first-hand material and continually experiment so as to master objective laws. This scientific approach has helped the workers to build up Taching at an unprecedented speed and make it one of the most technologically advanced oilfields in the world.
When prospecting was started in 1960, the pioneers broke away from foreign stereotypes and taboos and adopted a method different from that commonly used abroad. Shattering the claims of some “authorities” that one can get only a rough understanding of the oil formations underground, the Taching builders made large-scale investigations and obtained voluminous first-hand data which enabled them to complete the prospecting work in a surprisingly short space of time.
Behind the makeshift shacks rises a modern oilfield Sketch by Shao Yu
Engineers, workers and cadres have worked together and made careful studies of the special conditions of every bed in the strata and devised a whole series of working methods suited to Taching. They introduced a special method of high-speed drilling, and the result was that the average monthly speed which each drilling machine attained has rarely been known anywhere in the world in drilling wells of the same type. A special production test area was developed and every new invention or innovation was repeatedly tested there until it was proved satisfactory. Often, the number of analyses and comparisons ran into seven figures before a plan was finally adopted. It is through such painstaking and scientific efforts—constantly summing up their experience, making new discoveries and inventions and going on creating and advancing—that Taching’s builders have made it the big and most up-to-date oilfield it is today.
Taching’s men working in the Taching spirit have abundantly demonstrated that the Chinese people are fully capable of building a modern socialist industry with greater, faster, better and more economical results by relying on their own efforts. Taching has set an example of building industries the Chinese way. Following this example, other enterprises of the Taching type are springing up in growing numbers all over the land. The miracle of self-sufficiency in petroleum which has opened the eyes of many foreigners to the reality in China today will in the days to come be repeated in other branches of industry, in science and in every other aspect of life in China.
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