BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- When a devastating flood was on the brink of washing away the fish ponds of poor households in Zhongjiang County of southwest China's Sichuan Province in 2018, a man dove into the water.
Two minutes later, he rose to the surface to breathe and dove down again.
"Come out, Secretary Xu! It's dangerous!" the villagers screamed. But the man in the water was struggling to pry open the flagstone blocking the flood discharge tunnel and would not listen.
After making sure the discharge was successful, he emerged from the water with purple lips and wobbly legs, and became seriously ill soon.
That man was Xu Jiangjun, secretary of the Communist Party of China branch of Shuichi Village in Zhongjiang.
Zhongjiang is hometown of Huang Jiguang, a well-known Chinese war hero, as well as home to more than 87,000 impoverished people in 2014.
Xu is one of China's primary-level officials on the first front of the national fight against poverty, and has worshiped war hero Huang Jiguang since childhood. Jiangjun means "General" in Chinese, and villagers see Xu as a general in the battle against poverty.
The village had a road that had been under repair for four years and an unsafe bridge that cut off the village's only way to the town. "We will fix them right away," Xu said after he was elected Party chief of the village in 2012.
However, the village did not have a dime for the project. Xu looked everywhere for contractors willing to advance money for the village construction, and patiently persuaded villagers to donate money for the repair work.
The road repairs were finally completed, which reduced poverty in the village so that the number of impoverished villagers decreased from 158 to 12 within little more than a year.
Sadly, Xu died from a sudden cerebral haemorrhage on Dec. 21, 2018.