Recently, Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Ministry of Veterans Affairs and Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission jointly published the commendable achievements of the “Most Beautiful Veteran” in 2023. Retired professor Xia Zhaoyan of Hunan University of Science and Technology (HNUST) was honored with the prestigious title of “Most Beautiful Veteran”.
Xia Zhaoyan, a male of Han nationality and a member of the CPC, was born in 1935. He joined the army in 1951 and was discharged in 1955.
Throughout his life, Xia has been dedicated to promoting culture. After joining the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, he served as a propagandist of the Hengyang Military Subdistrict and a literacy teacher of the 302 troop. Following his retirement, he was admitted to Hunan Normal University. He took the initiative to be a middle school teacher in the Old Revolutionary Base Area after graduation. Later, he became a professor in HNUST, where he mentored over 30,000 students. Even after his retirement, he, despite battling cancer and losing a quarter of his stomach, he returned to his hometown to continue his cultural endeavors. Xia Zhaoyan embarked on various initiatives, including establishing a village cultural activity center, a farm book shop, a weekend classroom, a school for the elderly, and a vacation school for children. Additionally, he set up scholarships, leading to significant improvements in the cultural environment of his hometown. His journey exemplifies the transformations from being a veteran to becoming a university professor, from the university campus to the rural countryside from paid work to volunteer service, from teaching students to teaching villagers. His practical actions exemplify the commitment of outstanding veterans in the new era. His contributions were recognized with the “National Moral Model” in 2019, “National Civilized Family”in 2020, and“The Most Beautiful Five Elders of the Next Generation Committee”in 2022.
(Translated by HUANG Wanxiang and TAN Jingni)