Working Towards a Beautiful Beijing
Li Guodong has been making great contributions to Beijing’s public sanitation for over 20 years and has won many awards and honours. He will continue to work closely with his coworkers to improve the city’s environment and sanitation.
At a sharing session, an attendee stated: “I'm Li Guodong from the No. 1 Clearing Centre of the Beijing Solid Waste Logistics Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the Beijing Environment Sanitation Engineering Group. The theme of my speech today is remaining mobilised for brand new endeavours and making contributions to Beijing's sanitation cause under the guidance of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). As an ordinary sanitation worker, I'm honoured to have been elected as a representative of the 19th CPC National Congress, and I'm very happy to share my experience of attending the congress and study the congressional report with you.”
Li has worked tirelessly as a sanitation vehicle driver in the capital to remove waste and has been awarded many honours because of his painstaking effort. Over the past 20 years, Li has never spent the Spring Festival holiday with his family. He even failed to accompany his wife when she was in labour. He has made a lot of sacrifices but has never regretted it, because his hard work helps the capital city. Li has been awarded the Model Producer and Outstanding CPC Member of the Beijing Environment Sanitation Engineering Group titles several consecutive times. Li was made a Youth Expert and Beijing Model Worker in 2004 and 2010, respectively, as well. In 2017, he participated in the 19th CPC National Congress as a representative.
Li has carried out nearly 20 speech events since the congress, aiming to bring the spirit of the congress to the sanitation system, share it with other grassroots workers, spread positive energy and inspire the morale of sanitation workers. Li elaborated: “I am always committed and have the work ethic to provide quality service for the public with honesty, trustworthiness and hard work. I will continue to influence and motivate more people with my actions in my ordinary yet meaningful work position and highlight the dedication of sanitation workers in Beijing.”
A Glorious Job
Li graduated from the Chengde Agricultural Mechanisation Vocational School in 1996. The Beijing Environmental Sanitation Bureau was scheduled to come to his school to recruit workers, having signed a poverty alleviation agreement with Li's county. He immediately decided to seize the opportunity.
In this way, Li went from a poverty-stricken county to Beijing with automobile maintenance knowledge that he learned at school and motivation and desire to work in sanitation. Li has dedicated his youth to Beijing's sanitation cause.
The sanitation group organised a plan for the newly-recruited workers to visit Tian'anmen Square on their second day. Li climbed the Tian'anmen Gate Tower and was happy. He thought becoming a sanitation vehicle driver in Beijing would be a good path. He made up his mind to contribute to the city's sanitation work.
It did not take long for Li to realise that being a sanitation vehicle driver is far from an easy job though. It can be hard to put theoretical knowledge and textbook information into practice sometimes. Li found it difficult to drive in hutong (lanes and alleys) when doing his work. What worried him most was driving to the garbage collection site outside Yongdingmen. At that time, the road leading to it was very narrow. His driving had to be very precise.
Imperfect driving skills, maintenance skills and theoretical knowledge troubled Li a lot. To make matters worse, he did not understand the training courses organised by the sanitation group for the new employees very well. He felt frustrated and a little alienated. For a while, he would ask for leave from training to avoid meeting his colleagues. He thought they might look down on him due to his bad performance.
Li's odd behaviour soon attracted the attention of the department leaders. The captain of the vehicle team eventually talked to him in private. He mentioned the importance of learning new things and explained how to put theory into practice to encourage Li to continue his training. Li recalled: “The captain told me that Shi Chuanxiang (1915–1975) was a national model worker in our industry who was famous for his conscientious attitude towards work. Mao Zedong (1893–1976, the first chairman of the People's Republic of China) and Zhou Enlai (1898–1976, the first premier of the People's Republic of China) even received him in person. Shi could overcome difficulties and complete tasks under more difficult conditions. In a better environment and with better equipment, we should be able to be okay also.”
The captain's words enlightened Li. He participated in the training every day after that conversation. He studied on his own in order to catch up. He asked his teacher about some technical issues that puzzled him. Every time malfunctioning vehicles were sent to the repair centre, Li would stay and observe how his teacher repaired the vehicles. He would think about the process on his way back to his dormitory. With the help of his colleagues and his teacher, Li gradually made great progress in vehicle maintenance and driving. He soon became a top student in the training class. In his third year, he became squad leader of the hook arm garbage compactor truck team.
The warmth and care of the group helped make Li an excellent technician and driver, so he was grateful to them. He recounted: “When I came here for the first time, I felt that I was just a migrant worker who came to Beijing to earn a living. All I needed to do was finish my job, without having to care about business development and decision making. It didn't take long for me to love this group. The group is warm and united and gives me a sense of belonging. The leaders are especially concerned about migrant workers and eat dumplings with us every New Year's Eve.”
Li's ability has improved by leaps and bounds, and his team spirit has also been strengthened. He was highly