Guo Fenglian (Chinese: 郭凤莲), Dazhai Party chief, is a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). When mentioning her name, many Chinese recall a farmer girl who earned the title of “Iron Girl” for her strong leadership, or the “rags to riches leader” responsible for the transformation of Dazhai Village. The career Guo has carved out in politics is way beyond the expectations of the average Chinese farmer.
At the age of 16, Guo was leader of the "team of sisters,” a group of teen girls in her village who worked to develop and change the village. They coincided their efforts with the boys and were so successful that in 1964 Chairman Mao urged the whole nation to learn from the village. Guo became a national celebrity for her hard work. Over the next ten years, Guo continued to produce one miracle after another. As an award for her achievements, she was later received by state leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.
Dazhai Village entered a new era in 1991, when Guo was elected Village Party Secretary. She also became director of the Dazhai Economic Development Corp. that year, helping to bring the total output value of the village to 130 million yuan (US$19 million). The village’s economy has continued to flourish since then. Under Guo’s leadership, Dazhai is known for both its political and economic success.