When war veteran Zhang Xu, nicknamed the "one-eyed general", used to recount his amazing tales of battlefront bravery to college students, his audience stood riveted.
Zhang, who died last year at the age of 87, often recalled the battle that cost him his eye.
It happened in February 1938, when Zhang was with a group that successfully ambushed a Japanese army unit near Taiyuan, Shanxi province. They were soon besieged by the Japanese reinforcement.
Zhang's fellow soldiers went down like ninepins in the hail of bullets that followed. As they reached a hill, a bullet pierced through Zhang's right eye, but he continued fighting, till they overcame the enemy.
Zhang was just 17 years old.
In 1987, he founded a veterans' club in Wuhan, Hubei province, with 11 other war heroes. To date, they have shared their stories with about 2 million people including young soldiers, college students, officials and workers, all over the country.
The group includes a Red Army soldier who survived the Long March, a guerilla fighter who sneaked into the enemy camp alone and assassinated a traitor, and an Air Force pilot who shot down three US jet fighters in the Korean War, with just eight months' training behind him.