Zhang Side (张思德, 1915-1944), was born into a poor peasant family in Yilong County, Sichuan Province. When the local Red Army units passed through Yilong, Zhang joined them, first as a scout. He took part in the Long March. In 1937, he became a Party member. He was a soldier in the Guards Regiment of the Central Committee. During the Guomindang’s military and economic blockade of the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region (straddling Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia Provinces) where Yan’an was located, Zhang made charcoal in the mountains of Ansai County, northern Shaanxi. He was killed by the sudden collapse of a kiln.
Zhang was made a model for the Army in 1963, together with An Yemin, Dong Cunrui, Lei Feng, Huang Jiguang and Norman Bethune. These models were later also to be emulated by the population at large. Even in the 1990s, Zhang was still considered an emulatable example.
Chen Yao, Yi Zhang Side tongzhi [Remembering Comrade Zhang Side] (Beijing: Qingnian chubanshe, 1965) [in Chinese]