The Dong Cunrui Martyrs Park and Memorial Museum at Chengde City Longhua City

After the Communist troops prevailed over the GMD under its leader Chiang Kaishek 蒋介石 (1887-1975), the Communist Party started to honor several martyrs of the People’s Liberation Army 人民解放军, who had contributed in an outstanding way to the victory in 1949. One of these personalities was Dong Cunrui 董存瑞 (1929-1948), a young PLA soldier, who had died in combat. In Mai 1948, Dong was sent to Longhua City 隆化市 in Hebei Province 河北省 to burst a GMD bunker located on a bridge. After the device had detonated, Dong was killed in the explosion (Jin 1975: 129).

According to the website chineseposters.net, Dong was announced in 1963 as a PLA role model together with other outstanding personalities of the Chinese revolution like modern China’s most prominent martyr Lei Feng 雷锋 (1940-1962)  or the Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune 白求恩 (1890-1939). This announcement led to the publishing of several propaganda posters, which are showing Dong Cunrui as he fixed the explosive device to the bridge.  

Picture 1: Sacrificing oneself while blowing up a pillbox

Already in 1954, the Dong Cunrui Martyrs Park 董存瑞烈士陵园及纪念馆 had been built in Longhua dedicated to Dong and other PLA soldiers. As stated on the website sina.com, the park compound contains two pavilions, namely the “Dong Cunrui Martyrs Pavilion 董存瑞烈士碑亭” and the “Revolutionary Martyrs Pavilion 革命烈士碑亭”. Between both and the memorial hall, a statue of the martyr can be found, which portrays him in military uniform upholding the explosive device moments before his death (sina.com). 

The Dong Cunrui Memorial Hall was inaugurated in 1995 and shows several pictures of CCP martyrs, authentic documents and objects as well as 76 inscriptions of party leaders (People’s Daily 人民日报1995). Nearby the hall, a martyr monument dedicated to him can be found that is decorated with an inscription of PLA marshal Zhu De 朱德 (1886-1976) reading: “Sacrificing oneself for the country will never be forgotten 舍身为国, 永垂不朽” (sina.com). The tomb of Dong can be found in the back of the monument. 

Due to the setup of the Memorial Park, which includes both an informing memorial hall and several memorial steles, the site can be easily compared with other memorial sites dedicated to Chinese martyrs. The Lei Feng Memorial at Liaoning Province 辽宁, for instance, follows the same structure by using both information and buildings to convey the importance of the martyr for the Chinese nation. 

Bibliography: 

Jin Ge 金革 (1975): Dong Cunrui de Gushi 董存瑞的故事 (The tale of Dong Cunrui). Beijing 北京: People’s Liberation Army Literature and Arts Publishing House. 

N.N. (25.04.2002): „Tu wen: Hebei Chengde Longhuaxian Dong Cunrui lieshi lingyuan 图文:河北承德隆化县董存瑞烈士陵园 (Pictured: The Dong Cunrui Martyrs Park at Hebei Province, Chengde City, Longhua District)“. In: news.sina.com 新闻中心 http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2002-04-25/1751558581.html (called up on: 15.06.2021). 

Xin Detong 新德桐 (1995): “Dong Cunrui lieshi lingyuan xin guan kai guan 董存瑞烈士陵园新馆开馆 (The new Hall of Dong Cunrui has been opened)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报, 31.05.1995.

Website chineseposters.net: Chinese Propaganda Posters | Chinese Posters | Chineseposters.net 

List of Pictures: 

Featured Image/ Picture 1: “Sacrificing oneself while blowing up a pillbox” (source: https://chineseposters.net/posters/e13-971, author: Zhao Jian 赵坚and Fang Dong 方洞, Call number: BG E13/971 (Stefan R. Landsberger Collection)). 


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