China / Society

Commitment to country's defense became priority early on

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-11-30 02:45

Editor's note: Zheng Yanliang, a researcher with the School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering at Beihang University, recalls the old days with his student Luo Yang. Luo studied at the school between 1978 and 1982.

When I heard about the launch of J-15 fighter jet, I felt so happy, because I knew that my student Luo Yang was the chief designer. But soon after, I heard that he passed away at the most glorious moment. Standing still, I cried. Memories of him came back to me.

After I graduated from Beihang University (also known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) in 1975, I worked in the university's aircraft design department as a secretary of the Communist Youth League committee. I got to know Luo in 1978 when he arrived as the youngest in his class. He was one of the most impressive students I have seen in 30 years of teaching.

I held him in such high regard not because of his position as the chairman of a State-owned company, but because of his committed and caring character. I knew from the very beginning that he would be successful.

When he first entered college, the school showed the freshmen documentaries about national defense. Knowing that our technology was lagging, Luo said he wanted to learn more in school to be able to later make a greater contribution to the country.

His transcript showed that he ranked among the top in his class. I remember clearly on a New Year's Eve, he and another student stayed in the classroom to study.

New Year's Eve is supposed to be a time for family reunions, and students who cannot make it back home generally go out to have fun. But Luo just sat there reading books. I had never seen a student like him.

I felt so surprised when he died, because in my mind's eye I always saw him as athlete.

He was the captain of the volleyball team, a champion in the 4×100 m relay race.

He also coordinated a number of class activities, basketball contests, winter cross-country races, and long races.

In his graduation, I wrote for him: "Wish you great success in your career, contributing to national defense."

And he made it.

Zheng was talking to China Daily reporter Yang Yao on Thursday in Beijing.

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