Wang Jinxi (Chinese: 王进喜)(1923-1970) was born to a poor peasant family in Gansu Province. In his own words, his "life in the old society was a nightmare." He took jobs as a shepherd and a coal carrier before starting work in the Yumen Oilfield in 1938 at the age of 15. In 1956, Wang Jinxi joined the Communist Party, and in1959 attended a National Conference of Heroes of Labor in Beijing.
In 1960, Chairman Mao decided to break China's dependence on foreign oil supplies by boosting domestic production. The Party Central Committee decided in February 1960 "to fight 'a massive battle' to open up Daqing," an oil field in Heilongjiang Province. Wang and his famous No. 1205 Drilling Team rushed to the bleak grasslands, worked through fatigue and injury in temperatures as low as -30°C before finally striking oil. In 1960, the nation was called upon to learn from the "Iron Man" Wang Jinxi. He became the poster-boy of the working class in Mao's new China.