Missing Pilot Awarded Title of "Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters"

Wang Wei, a pilot who went missing following a mid-air collision between a US reconnaissance plane and a Chinese fighter jet on April 1, was awarded the title of "guardian of territorial airspace and waters" by the Central Military Commission (CMC).

The decree, recently signed by Jiang Zemin, chairman of the CMC, says Wang Wei, a lieutenant commander in the Navy Air Force, was born in Huzhou of Zhejjiang Province in 1968. Wang joined the Navy in 1986 and became a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1988.

The decree says that on the morning of April 1, a US EP-3 military surveillance plane flew close to China's airspace and territorial waters southeast of Hainan Island to conduct surveillance. Wang Wei, who was on duty that day, flew his fighter jet under orders to follow and monitor the US plane.

The US plane, in violation of aviation rules, rammed and destroyed Wang Wei's plane, causing him to parachute.

After the incident, the navy and the civilians made all-out efforts to look for Wang Wei, but in vain. Wang died a hero's death, the decree says.

The CMC's decree points out, Wang Wei had aspired to dedicate himself to serve his country since his childhood and he joined the Navy voluntarily after graduating from a secondary school.

The decree praises Wang's bravery, courage and resolution in carrying out his mission to track and monitor the US surveillance plane, calling him an outstanding model for the new generation of men and women in the army.

The decree calls on all officers and men to learn from Wang Wei's high political consciousness of daring to die to safeguard the national sovereignty and dignity, his spirit of dedication to safeguard the interest of the motherland and the Chinese people, and his military struggle against a powerful enemy.

The decree demands that all officers and men unite closely around the CPC Central Committee, hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, work with a down-to-earth attitude and unremitting efforts, and make greater contributions to the realization of the reunification of the motherland and the safeguarding of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Good Son of Huzhou People"

Wang was also awarded the title of "Good Son of Huzhou People" by the Huzhou City Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Huzhou city government Monday.

The CPC Huzhou Committee and the city government made a decision, calling on local people to learn from Wang Wei, who has been awarded the title of "guardian of territorial airspace and waters" by the Central Military Commission.

The decision recalls the growth course of Wang Wei from a good student to an excellent soldier and praises his bravery and resolution in fighting against hegemonism and safeguarding the nation's sovereignty and dignity.

The decision says Wang is the pride of the Chinese nation, a good son of the people of Huzhou, Wang Wei's hometown, and a good example for the Huzhou people to learn from.

At the request of Huzhou residents, the CPC Huzhou City Committee and the city government plan to build a bronze bust of Wang Wei to cherish the memory of the missing pilot, who presumed dead.

(People's Daily 04/17/2001)


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