YANG Pei Yan is one lucky farmer. He was digging a well in 1974 near Xi'an, in eastern central China, when he found some broken pottery and old bronze weapons. He showed them to his friends, someone told the government and it changed his life.
Long since raised from the obscurity of illiteracy and peasant farming, he sits behind a desk now and signs books with three of the eight Chinese characters they taught him when he became famous.
So is the city of Xi'an, capital of the province of Shaanxi, ancient stronghold of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, and, thanks to Yang Pei Yan, one of the most important archeological sites in the world. About three million tourists a year visit Xi'an and most of them end up at the Terracotta Army Museum. But it might have been a different story.
"We are lucky we found the warriors in 1974, near the end of the Cultural Revolution," Laura says. "If they were found at the beginning or in the middle, I think they would have been destroyed by the Red Guards."
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