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The Hero behind the Iron Hook - CRCC

Updated: June 25, 2021


It is a simple and unadorned iron hook used for climbing about 70 years ago, but its owner was a legend, recognized as a "special contributor" on the battlefield during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53).

Yang Liandi's regiment, the railway engineering troop - the predecessor of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) - received an urgent order in July 1951 to repair the railway bridge over the Chongchon River at Kujang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The work had to be completed within eight days.

Located between Pyongyang in the DPRK and Tonghua in Northeast China's Jilin Province, the bridge was an artery linking the front and the rear of the voluntary army and playing a key role in the transportation of supplies.

Led by Yang, a platoon set out to do the repair work. They waded through the water, inspected the condition of the structure, and build a temporary floating bridge in a day and two nights. On the fourth day, they had completed the erection of a buttress, with 7,000 sleepers on the piers.

However, a sudden storm destroyed all their efforts. It was so heavy that the water level in the river rose by six meters in a day. Even the 30-ton steel beam sunk into the river was swept a kilometer downstream.

Despite the bad weather, Yang came up with an idea to stabilize the floating bridge by crossing the steel rails.

Yang and his team tied the steel rails one by one over the river rapids. Thanks to the dignity and determination of Yang and his platoon, the bridge was rebuilt ahead of schedule, guaranteeing the transportation of war supplies.

A tragedy struck in 1952. Yang was shot and killed on the Chongchon River railway bridge. On March 15, 1953, his body was transported back home, together with the iron hook he always carried.

During the war, about 110,000 army railway engineering volunteers were dispatched to the battlefield in DPRK and 1,136 of them sacrificed their lives.

CRCC has evolved into one of the best and largest comprehensive construction enterprises in the world and has carved a place on the Global 500 list.

It is like the iron hook, simple and plain, but always playing a crucial role in Chinese construction projects.

(Executive editor: Wang Ruoting)