Expo before self, his motto

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Zhang Shaofeng (middle) discusses patrol plans with his colleagues in front of a model of the Expo Garden.

For Zhang Shaofeng, an officer in the Shanghai Armed Police Corps, safety at the Expo 2010 Shanghai comes before his own health, or even life.

The 34-year-old's enthusiasm for his job and consistent dedication toward the six-month fair - even when he was lying on a hospital bed, shivering with fever - has forced many to sit up and take notice.

As an officer who was asked to train some 5,000 soldiers to ensure the Expo goes off without any security glitches, Zhang has been working 15 hours a day, seven days a week for more than a year.

Naturally, it has taken a toll on his health. He has been hospitalized thrice this year. And each time, he has bounced back with even more vigor.

Zhang said he does not regret even a minute of the hard work he has put in to ensure a safe Expo.

He has drafted seven training manuals, totaling 1 million words, in three months; and revised some 20 Expo patrol plans.

"To host the World Expo is a hard-won opportunity. It is an honor for a soldier to be involved in it," Zhang was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Shanghai Armed Police Corps.

Many believe the fair faces tougher security challenges compared to the Beijing Olympics due to the six-month duration and huge number of visitors, estimated at 70 million.

The Shanghai Armed Police Corps have been preparing for the Expo security for the past year, with an aim to turn 5,000 young soldiers into an army with proper knowledge of the extravagant fair, diplomatic etiquette and easy oral English.

Zhang's health started deteriorating barely a few months after the long working hours kicked off. He looked emaciated and his throat was constantly sore.

But it was not until April 19 that Zhang broke down and had to be hospitalized. His body temperature had shot to 39.4 C and he was suffering from a serious infection of the lungs.

Despite being advised complete bed rest, Zhang continued working from the hospital bed and reported back at work within a couple of days, much to the doctor's horror.

But on May 5, Zhang returned to the hospital with high fever, and again, went back to work after feeling a "little better".

But when Zhang was hospitalized for the third time on May 21, doctors sent a message to his family, saying he was in a critical condition.

Besides the lung infection getting worse, Zhang showed symptoms of organ failure.

Following three days of emergency treatment, Zhang regained consciousness, and asked the doctor: "How long have I slept? Where is my cell phone? Can I know the duty services of my army?"

Zhang remained in the hospital for the next three months. He is now hale and hearty, and back at work doing what he does best.

Xu Nanchang, director at the military staff section of the corps, seemed hard-pressed for words to describe Zhang. "He works too hard he is an excellent soldier, who never lets you down."


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