The Guangzhou Uprising Memorial and Martyrs Cemetery

In 1927, several uprisings were initiated by the Communist Party against its national opponent, the GMD. After the Nanchang Uprising 南昌起义 and the Autumn Harvest Uprising 秋收起义 had failed, another insurrection was launched by the CCP at Guangzhou 广州 Guangdong Province 广东省. According to the People’s Daily 人民日报, a conflict between the warlords Zhang Fakui 张发奎 (1896-1980) and Li Jishen 李济深 (1885-1959) was the responsible factor for the uprising. Many workers and peasants refused to fight against each other and instead initiated a riot (People´s Daily 人民日报 2006). After Guangzhou was captured by Zhang Fakui in November 1927, the CCP started to mobilize its forces in December and gained control over the city. Although the uprising initially was a great success, it ended quickly in a total failure, because the Communists were unable to defend the city against the GMD that regained control shortly afterwards (Saich 1996: 280).

The Guangzhou Uprising Memorial 广州起义纪念馆 was opened in 1956 at the former venue of the Soviet government, which was established by CCP to coordinate the uprising. Here, the office of the Soviet government, the dormitory of the guard company, and the uprising headquarters were located (huaxia.com). In 1987, the site was renovated and turned into a museum. As stated on the website huaxia.com, the memorial of today can be separated into three buildings. At the southern building, the history of the uprising and its impact on the Chinese communist movement is portrayed, whereas the northern building is used as the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau. The middle building represents the former bureau of Zhang Tailei 张太雷 (1898-1927), who was the leader of the Chinese Communist Youth League and died in combat during the uprising. Today the bureau and other historical sites of the former Soviet government site are opened to the public, such as the conference room and the office of the Soviet committee. Near the Memorial, the Guangzhou Uprising Martyrs Cemetery 广州起义烈士陵园 can be found. Beside the graveyard, which is dedicated to the victims of the uprising, a pavilion is located at the park compound. The “Sino-Soviet Blood Friendship Pavilion 中苏血谊亭” commemorates the death of Soviet consuls, who were murdered shortly after the uprising (Xinhuashe jizhe 新华社记者 1957). 

Similar to the museums related to the Nanchang Uprising and the Autumn Harvest Uprising, the Guangzhou Uprising Memorial Hall represents a site that emphasizes the struggle and the difficult conditions under which the CCP had to fight during its way to power. 

Bibliography: 

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

N.N (2006): “Guangzhou Qiyi 广州起义 (The Guangzhou Uprising)“. In: People’s Daily 人民日报, 04.08.2006). 

N.N. (01.07. 2011): „Guangzhou Qiyi jinianguan he lieshi lingyuan 广州起义纪念馆和烈士陵园 (The Guangzhou Uprising Memorial Hall and Martyrs Cemetry)“. In: huaxia.com http://www.huaxia.com/zt/tbgz/11-019/2476521.html (last access 03.07.2021). 

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

Xinhua jizhe 新华社记者  (1957): “Guangzhou Qiyi 30 zhounian jinian dahui longzhong juxing (fu tupian) – Dong Biwu he Guangdong gejierenshi Sulian lingshi deng san wan ren canjia tao zhu zai hui shang jianghua yao dajia zhenxi geming guoshi jianjue weihu shehuizhuyi zhidu 广州起义30周年纪念大会隆重举行(附图片 董必武和广东各界人士、苏联领事等三万人参加 陶铸在会上讲话,要大家珍惜革命果实坚决维护社会主义制度 (The 30th anniversary of the Guangzhou Uprising was held solemnly (text includes pictures) – Dong Biwu, people from all walks of life of Guangdong, the Soviet consul and 30.000 people joined the meeting, Tao Zhu held a speech, asking everyone to cherish the fruits of the revolution and resolutely protect the socialist system)”. In: Guangming Ribao 光明日报, 12.12.1957. 

List of Pictures: 

Featured Image: “广州起义纪念馆“ (source: Gzqiyi – 广州起义纪念馆 – 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (wikipedia.org), author: Chintunglee. 


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