- Museum number
Banknote. 1-yuan issue of People's Bank of China. Overall design in red. (whole)
Man on horseback herding sheep. (reverse)
Young woman driving tractor. (obverse)
- Production date
Height: 57 millimetres
Length: 127 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The woman on tractor was modelled on Liang Jun. (see article here: http://www.cctv.com/english/special/news/20090921/103685.shtml - accessed 27 August 2015)
"The 1 yuan denomination featured China's first female tractor driver – Liang Jun. In 1962, The People's Bank of China came out with the third set of Renminbi banknotes. The first female tractor driver has devoted her whole life to farm machinery, thus becoming an icon of agricultural modernization in New China. Meanwhile, news about Liang, who drove a tractor to explore the wilderness soon spread, and people started to know that New China had its first female tractor driver.
In 1962, The People's Bank of China came out with the third set of Renminbi banknotes. The 1 yuan denomination featured China's first female tractor driver – Liang Jun. The first female tractor driver has devoted her whole life to farm machinery, thus becoming an icon of agricultural modernization in New China. 80-year-old Liang lives in relatively obscurity nowadays, and as the 60th anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China approaches, she is filled with emotions. When she was asked about her biggest wish, "My biggest wish is to watch the upcoming 60th Anniversary parade commemorating the founding of People's Republic of China," the old lady answered full of hope.
New China gave her a chance to change her destiny
Born in 1930 into a poor peasant family in Mingshui County, Heilongjiang Province, Liang was sent to live and work at a nearby landlord's family as a child bride when she was 12 years old. When she was 15, Heilongjiang was one of the first places that were liberated from Japanese occupation. Rapid changes in the newly liberated area helped her get rid of her fate of becoming a child-bride. Within this good atmosphere, lucky Liang received her education by the CPC.
In 1947, Liang went to a teacher's school –Mengya, or Developmental School in Dedu County opened by the Heilongjiang provincial Communist Party Committee, where students followed a work-study program. In the school, the novels she read such as How Is Iron and Steel Made, and The Girl Guerrilla, Liu Hulan, made a profound impression upon her. And a Soviet movie titled Heroine was very influential in her life. The movie tells a story based on the heroin Barsha who fight against the Nazi army to protect her country. The image of Barsha was deeply imprinted on Liang's mind.
In 1948, when the Heilongjiang provincial Communist Party committee planned to open a training course to train tractor drivers, Mengya School, the one where Liang studied, received three spots in the course. Liang seized her chance and became one the first to sign up for the training. She didn't find out she was the only female in the class until after she had been admitted to the training. So, she told herself that she should perform as well as her male classmates.
Liang acted like a boy, never saying "no" to hard and dirty work, and thus she soon won others' respect. After she finished the course, when she was driving a tractor on the road, villagers raised their thumbs at her, saying, "Look, even girls can drive tractors." Hearing this, she felt very proud.
Liang devoted her whole life to farm machinery cause
In 1957, when the second exploration was launched in northeast China, General Wang Zhen led an army of ten thousand soldiers to go to the Great Northern Wilderness. That year, after graduation, all the graduates from the Beijing Agricultural Mechanization College were assigned to work along with General in the Mishan Mountains as technological instructors. They cultivated a total of 2,000 hectares of farmland, and Liang was one of these instructors.
In 1960, the third exploration was launched on the Xiangfang Farm in Harbin. Again, Liang and her colleagues helped the local villagers cultivate as much as 2,000 hectares of farmland. That was the last exploration that Liang participated in.
Meanwhile, news about this person Liang who drove a tractor to cultivate the wilderness soon spread, people started to know that New China had its first female tractor driver. In October 1949, amid the thundering sound of fireworks declaring the founding of the People's Republic of China, Liang officially joined the Communist Party of China. Later in December, she was elected as the delegate to attend the Asian Women's Conference.
Liang's story inspired many girls to come to the Great Northern Wilderness to learn to drive tractors, such as Chen Yaru, Xu Xia, Yuan Rufen, and all these women became her good friends. On June 3, 1950, the first Chinese female tractor drivers' team was set up, Liang was chosen as the team leader. Seeing their tractors running on the fertile soil, a strong sense of pride rose up in her: We are masters of New China, the major force in cultivating the Great Northern Wilderness.
As the first Chinese female tractor driver, Liang has never left farm machinery cause. In October 1951, in order to further train Liang, the local Party organization sent her to Beijing Agricultural Machinery Academy, opened by The Ministry of Agriculture, for advanced study. In the next year, she was lucky enough to join one of the first groups of students to study at the Beijing Agricultural Mechanization College (the predecessor of the Technological School of China Agricultural University).
After Liang finished her studies and returned to Heilongjiang, the Department of Agricultural Machinery assigned her to do the preparation work in setting up the provincial Agricultural Machinery Research Institute. In November, 1959, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Harbin to celebrate the first batch of DFH tractors produced by Luoyang Tractor Plant, the first tractor plant in China. Liang, as a female tractor driver, drove the tractor to plow the farmland, and witnessed the historic page of tractors made in China.
In 1960, Liang became deputy director general of the Agricultural Bureau in Xiangfang District in Harbin and station master of the Heping Tractor Station. In April of 1990, she retired from her position as general engineer of Harbin's Agricultural Machinery Department. We can say that Liang has devoted her whole life to agricultural machinery cause.
Her biggest wish: To watch the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China
Liang's story was written into primary school textbooks from 1949 to 1953 and she was elected as a member of the National People's Congress three consecutive times between 1954 and 1966. In 1962, the People's Bank of China came out with the third set of Renminbi banknotes. The 1 yuan note, based on a photograph of her, showed a female tractor driver driving a tractor. Thus, Liang walked into every family's life with the circulation of the Renminbi notes.
In 1950, on China's second National Day, Liang, while attending the National Heroes' and Model Workers' Meeting, ascended the Tiananmen Rostrum to watch the anniversary military parade. That was the most unforgettable experience of her life and that is the first time she has watched the parade on National Day. In 1994, on the 45th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Liang was again invited to watch the celebration from the Tiananmen Rostrum.
On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China, Liang just passed her 80th birthday, and her biggest wish is to watch the ceremony of the Anniversary. "Each anniversary is a new experience, as each of them shows the big changes that have occurred in our country." Liang said, "This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the founding of New China, and the changes over the recent years are especially big. My biggest wish now is to watch another anniversary parade and to see the changes in Beijing!"
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- 2005 (see notes)
- Acquisition notes
- Part of paper money acquisitions backlog, 2005. Note acquired prior to 2005, date unknown.
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- Banknote serial number
- V III 92018327