HARBIN, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iconic tractor Liang Jun died Tuesday in northeast China. She was 90 years old.
Liang died of illness at around 1 p.m. in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province.
Liang was the first female tractor driver of New China. Her image was featured on the one-yuan note of the third set of the Chinese currency renminbi.
Liang was born into an impoverished family in Heilongjiang's Mingshui County in 1930. At age 17, she was admitted to a teachers' college. In 1948, Liang became the only female student of a training class for tractor drivers. After graduation, she joined a national campaign to develop the "great northern wilderness", where she worked with a sense of perseverance and dedication.
Liang joined the Communist Party of China in October 1949, the month when Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People's Republic of China. In June 1950, authorities set up the country's first female tractor team named in honor of her.
Liang's whole life was connected with agriculture and machinery. Textbooks included her stories, and filmmakers shot movies about her. In 1962, her image was printed on the one-yuan note of the renminbi, which featured a smiling Liang holding a steering wheel with her hair flowing in the wind.
Liang was among the first group of China's national model workers and has been hailed as one of the most influential model workers in China since 1949. She was elected a national lawmaker for four times.
She retired in 1990 from the position of chief engineer of the Harbin municipal bureau of agricultural machines.
"The tractor driver on the one-yuan note was created based on my image," she said. "It's a symbol of the women of New China."