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Wen Stresses Sustainable Growth on Oilfield Visit
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Daqing Oilfield, the cradle of China's so-called "Iron Man Spirit,"  which inspired Chinese people to work beyond their physical limits for the socialist construction of the 1960s, has again been put front and center in a nationwide campaign for harmonious and sustainable growth.

"The development of Daqing is crucial to China's energy security, the stamina of the national economy and rejuvenation of the old industrial base of northeast China," Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday while inspecting the 46-year-old oil field in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

To eliminate a nationwide oil shortage in 1960 China mobilized 40,000 workers and seconded 70,000 tons of equipment from 30 factories and mines to start up the Daqing Oilfield. Three years later, with an annual oil output of 60 million tons, Daqing had made China self-sufficient in oil.

"Daqing workers" combined with the "Iron Man Spirit" have become a special term referring to those who demonstrated exceptional physical strength and moral character. The slogan "Learning from Daqing" quickly swept China.

Over the decades more than 40 percent of the country's total oil output of 1.87 billion tons has come from Daqing, which is China's largest oil production base. 

Sources close to Wen's visit said the purpose of the trip was to conduct research on the challenges Daqing may face in its future development. They said the premier has presided over a forum at which he and experts discussed the oilfield's future. No details of the talks were released.

Wen also climbed a drilling platform and spoke with workers. "You've done a first-class job and made first-class achievements," he said. "China's oil industry is growing vigorously. We need more wells on Earth and in the ocean. We need more outstanding drilling workers like you." 

Hearing that 50 percent of Daqing Oilfield has already been exploited (10 percent higher than the world's average), a smiling Wen urged the Daqing workers to double their efforts in research and development, and "use up-to-date technology to fully explore the potential of the old oilfield."

He also urged Daqing management to seek out technical innovation to retrieve more oil and gas and create job opportunities for local people.

During the first leg of his three-day trip to Heilongjiang, which began August 10, Wen also visited the homes of several farmers in Changsheng and Xinmin villages, where he stressed the importance of protecting farmland.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2006)

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