Ouyang Hai (欧阳海, 1940-1963), from Guiyang, Hunan, joined the People’s Liberation Army in 1958. After entering the Communist Youth League in 1959, he became a Party member in 1960. On 18 November 1963, during training, a horse hauling a gun carriage was scared by an oncoming train and could not get off the track. Ouyang Hai used all his might to pull the horse off the track to avoid a collision, got knocked over and was killed. Because Ouyang’s action averted a major accident, he was posthumously recognized as a "Cherish-the-People" model.
Ouyang’s life formed the inspiration for the novel The Song of Ouyang Hai , by Jin Jingmai. After its publication in December 1965, it received a favorable response from high Party leaders, including Guo Moruo, who wrote an article praising Ouyang as a hero of the socialist age. The novel, however, indicated that Ouyang was inspired by reading books written by Liu Shaoqi, the target of much of Mao Zedong’s criticism during the early days of the Cultural Revolution. In order to avoid political problems, Jin was forced to completely rewrite sections of his work in 1967. After it was republished, many people despised the book. Nonetheless, in the 1980s Ouyang was once more considered a model worth emulating.
Kwok-sing Li (editor) & Mary Lok (translator), A Glossary of Political Terms of the People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press 1995)
Shao Wu et al. (eds), 共和国群英谱 [Gongheguo qunyingpu - Register of heroes of the Republic] (Beijing: Zhongguo shaonian ertong chubanshe, 2003)