The Fang Zhimin Memorial Museum
Born in Yingyang County 弋阳县 in Jiangxi Province 江西, Fang Zhimin 方志敏 (1899-1935) joined the Communist Party in 1922 and rose to one of the most important Marxist peasant leaders of modern China (Sheel 1989: 159).
According to the former CCP chairman Hu Jintao 胡锦涛 (born 1942), Fang led a peasant uprising from 1928 to 1933 during which peasants were educated in guerrilla warfare while creating revolutionary bases in northeast Fujian Province 福建省 (People’s Daily 1999).
In his 1930 essay “A Single Spark Can Start A Prairie Fire 星星之火, 可以燎原,” Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976) advocates Fang Zhimin for his policy of establishing base areas and his efforts in deepening the agrarian revolution. (Mao Tse-tung 1967: 118). The achievements of Fang—a key figure of the Jiangxi Soviet in the 1930s—seemingly had an important impact on the revolutionary doctrine of the CCP. After the Jiangxi Soviet collapsed in 1934, Fang was arrested and executed by GMD troops one year later.
In October 1978, a memorial museum dedicated to Fang Zhimin was opened in the town Yijiang 弋江 in Yiyang County 弋阳县, followed by a new memorial hall built on the museum compound in 2009. A lifelike statue of Fang surrounded by pines and cypresses can be found in front of the museum. Furthermore, according to the official homepage, the site is divided into three parts, that is a prologue hall and two thematic sections after entering the memorial.
The first section “Fang Zhimin Martyrs‘ Life Hall 志敏烈士生平展厅” presents his vita and achievements as a peasant leader and fighter against the Japanese Army. The following section named “Yiyang County Revolutionary Martyrs‘ Life Hall 弋阳县革命烈士生平展厅” mainly deals with other revolutionary martyrs of Yiyang County and their contributions for the Communist movement.
In 2001, the Memorial of Fang Zhimin was announced as a National Patriotic Education Base 全国爱国主义教育示范基地. Due to the leading role of Fang Zhimin as a fighter of the agrarian revolution, the site indirectly lines out the importance of peasants for the Communist revolution during the 1930s. Therefore, the outstanding role of Fang Zhimin as a communist leader is not the only topic, which is portrayed by the site. In addition, the significant impact of Chinese peasants for the revolution is emphasized as well.
Hu Jintao 胡锦涛 (1999): “Zai jinian Fang Zhimin tongzhi danchen 100 zhounian zuotanhui shang de jianghua 在纪念方志敏同志诞辰100周年座谈会上的讲话 (The Speech at a symposium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Comrade Fang Zhimin’s birth)”. In: People’s Daily, August 20, 1999.
Mao Zedong (1967): Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. Vol. 1. Peking: Foreign Languages Press.
Saich, Tony (1996): The rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. Armonk: An East Gate Book.
Sheel, Kamal (1989): Peasant Society and Marxist Intellectuals in China – Fang Zhimin and the Origin of a Revolutionary Movement in the Xinjiang Region. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Official Website of the site: 方志敏纪念馆
List of Pictures:
Featured Image: „Inspiring awe by upholding justice“ (source: Inspiring awe by upholding justice | Chinese Posters | Chineseposters.net, designer: Cai Chao 蔡超, Call number: BG E15/9 (Stefan R. Landsberger Private Collection)).
Picture 1: „Martyr Fang Zhimin, 1959“ (source: Martyr Fang Zhimin | Chinese Posters | Chineseposters.net, designer: unknown, Call number: BG E17/88 (Stefan R. Landsberger Collection)).