The Memorial Sites of the Autumn Harvest Uprising in Jiangxi Province

In 1927, the CCP launched several uprisings against the GMD government, which all had a significant impact on the progress of the Communist revolution in the 1930s. One of these insurrections led by Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976) was the Autumn Harvest Uprising. Initiated on 7 September 1927, it was directed against his opponent and leader of the GMD, Chiang Kaishek 蒋介石 (1887-1975). It started in Jiangxi Province and expanded to Hunan Province 湖南省, where Mao planned to take over control of the provincial capital Changsha City 长沙市 (Chang 2007: 64). 

Although Mao had to abandon his plan of taking Changsha, the Autumn Harvest Uprising fostered the establishment of Soviet areas and contributed to the integration of peasants as a supporter of the Communist revolution (Saich 1996: 346).  

There are three specific sites in Jiangxi Province dedicated to the Autumn Harvest Uprising. One of them is the Autumn Harvest Memorial Hall in Xiushui County 修水县秋收起义纪念馆, which is situated in the west of the Jiangxi bordering Hunan Province. Before the uprising, Communist forces were based in this region, and on 9 September 1927, the troops left the county to take Changsha (Lai 1993: 187). According to the official website of the memorial, Xiushui County was the place, where the first banner of the new founded Workers and Farmers Revolutionary Army 工农革命军 was raised. Therefore, Xiushui County also functions as a central locus of ideology and propaganda for the Communist movement. In 1977, the Memorial Hall was opened to the public, it includes three exhibition halls that are divided into eight thematic sections portraying the revolutionary history of the uprising at the border of Hunan and Jiangxi (official website). 

 The second site can be found in Tonggu County 铜鼓县, located in the south of Xiushui, where Mao Zedong personally led the insurrection before commanding his troops to take Wenjia City 文家市 in Hunan (People’s Daily 人民日报1977). Built in 1977, the Tonggu County Autumn Harvest Uprising Memorial Hall 铜鼓县秋收起义纪念馆 recalls this short stay of Mao in this region and portrays his leadership of the Autumn Harvest Uprising before he started his assault to take Changsha. According to the People’s Daily, the memorial is kept in a solemn, simple, and majestic design and displays many revolutionary cultural relics in its exhibition (People’s Daily 人民日报1977).  

In Pingxiang City 萍乡市, a third site dedicated to the Autumn Harvest Uprising can be found. The “Autumn Harvest Uprising Square 秋收起义广场” with its memorial monument was erected in 1998 and opened to the public in 2000. The centered memorial stele has a height of 30. 9 meter and is decorated with a huge inscription at the front side, reading “Autumn Harvest Uprising Memorial Stele 秋收起义纪念碑” (Qi 2005: 196). Besides the monument, the square also offers a computer-controlled water fountain area, where water shows take place (Jiangxi Hongse Lüyou).

Though all the sites are dedicated to the same historical event, each side seemingly has its own way to portray the Autumn Harvest Uprising. While at the Xiushui memorial, exhibition halls and showrooms are used, the site at Pingxiang offers a stele without exhibitions or explanations to recall the uprising. Here a discrepancy regarding the practice of commemorating can be observed. 

Bibliography:

Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon (2007): Mao – The Unknown Story. London: Vintage Books.

Hofheinz, Roy (1967): “The Autumn Harvest Insurrection”. In: The China Quarterly, No. 32 (1967), pp. 37-87.

Lai Yi 赖毅 (1993): “Qiushou Qiyi zai Xiushui 秋收起义在修水 (The Autumn Harvest Uprising in Xiushui)”. In: Jiangxi Sheng Wenhua Ting Wenwu Chu deng 江西省文化厅文物处等 (ed.): Qiushou Qiyi zai Jiangxi 秋收起义在江西 (The Autumn Harvest Uprising in Jiangxi Province). Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, pp. 185-189.

N.N. (1977): “Gesong Mao Zhuxi lingdao Qiushou Qiyi de weida geming shijian – Qiushou Qiyi Tonggu jinianguan luocheng kaifeng 歌颂毛主席领导秋收起义的伟大革命实践 – 秋收起义铜鼓纪念馆落成开放 (Praising the great revolutionary deed of the Autumn Harvest Uprising led by Chairman Mao – The Autumn Harvest Memorial at Tonggu was completed and opened to the public.)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报, September 17, 1977.

Qi Xuan 启瑄 (2005): Hongse Lüyou 红色旅游 (Red Tourism). Beijing: Jiefangjun chubanshe.

Saich, Tony (1996): The rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. Armonk: An East Gate Book.

Website Jiangxi Hongse Lüyou: 秋收起义广场—江西红色旅游

Official Website of the Autumn Harvest Memorial in Xiushui County: 秋收起义修水纪念馆

Featured Image: 1967年秋收起义木刻图 (People’s Pictorial, No. 10, 1967) (source, author: 《人民画报》 / Public domain).


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