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A soldier for all time

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-12-19 09:35:56

A soldier for all time

Fu Lizhi speaks to his soldiers before his final military drill in which he died on June 17. Photos Provided to China Daily

In life, he was an everyday hero to those who knew him, but in death, stories of Fu Lizhi's extreme commitment to the military are a source of inspiration to people far and wide, Deng Zhangyu reports.

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Fu Lizhi was 500 meters from the finish line of a 5-kilometer race, an annual military drill, when he collapsed, exhausted. His colleagues tried to help him stand and his superior suggested he quit, but Fu, a military man whose single-minded dedication to his work was the stuff of legend, brushed them away.

With the scorching June sun beating overhead, Fu, whose favorite saying, peppered throughout his diaries, is "never stop fighting the battle", pulled himself to his feet and staggered to the finish line, where he collapsed.

He never got up.

"If he didn't insist on running another 100 meters, he wouldn't have exhausted himself to death," says Dehong People's Hospital doctor Liu Jun, who treated Fu. Fu died of heat stroke, his doctor says.

Before the race, the 31-year-old company commander of border forces in Dehong in Yunnan province had taken part in five other military races in the previous two days. He studied drill rules and worked on the strategy for his racing team until the wee hours, only sleeping five hours a night. During the two weeks before the drill, Fu had continued training his soldiers without proper rest.

Fu has now been named a model military man by the Chengdu military region to inspire other soldiers across the country. His story comes at a time when President Xi Jinping is calling on the military to build a strong army.

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