The Red Army Long March Red Tourism Scenic Areas at Sichuan
In 1932, Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek 蒋介石 (1887-1975) decided to intensify his ambition to reduce the influence of the Communist Party, which had become an increasing threat to the supremacy of the Guomindang. After several assaults were launched against the Jiangxi-Soviet, later Premier Minister Zhou Enlai 周恩来 (1898-1976) and the Comintern agent Otto Braun (1900-1974) decided by the summer of 1934, to abandon their base at Jiangxi Province (Karl 2010: 46) and in October 1934, the so-called Long March 长征 began. According to Tony Saich, the CCP leadership failed to figure out a clear destination of the march (Saich 1996: 523).
The constant persecution by hostile troops, combined with the problem of securing sufficient nutrition and medical care, was the most probable reason why only 8500 people remained from the initial 90.000 participants (Karl 2010: 48). In late 1935, the Red Army 红军 troops finally reached the mountains of Yan’an 延安, Shaanxi Province 陕西省, where a new base was established for the coming 14 years. Before reaching Yan’an, the Red Army had to pass Sichuan Province 四川省, where three museums related to the Long March had been established.
The first one can be found at Qionglai 邛崃, in the west of Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu 成都. The Red Army Long March Museum at Qionglai City 邛崃市红军长征纪念馆 was opened to the public in 1998 to commemorate both the foundation of the Soviet government and the creation of the revolutionary armed forces between November 1935 and February 1936 (Guan 2019). According to the website “Yi qi dui ji”, the site is composed of four parts: The Red Army Sone Slogan Pavilion 红军石刻标语碑亭, the Stone Tower of the Shita Temple 石塔寺石塔, the Old Site of the Soviet Government headquarter 石塔区苏维埃政权府旧址 and the exhibition hall. The latest may represent the main part of the museum, due to the huge number of authentic objects like weapons, coins, and other historical documents that are presented here.
The second site is the Yihai Alliance Old Site at Mianning County 冕宁县彝海结盟遗址, which is located in the autonomous region of the ethnic group Yi 彝. In May 1935, Chairman Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976) and later PLA marshal Liu Bocheng 刘伯承 (1892-1986) allied with the people of the Yi, who escorted the Red Army troops to pass their territory safe and quickly (People’s Daily 人民日报1985). The Yihai Alliance Memorial Hall was built on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the alliance in 2005 and welcomes the visitor with a calligraphy of the later supreme commander of the Navy Liu Huaqing 刘华清 (1916-1911), reading the label of the museum. In addition, the site offers a lot of authentic exhibits, such as gun replicas or gear of everyday use like books or pens (Yi qi dui ji). Furthermore, the museum not only conveys the history of the Long March but also emphasizes the contribution of the ethnic minority Yi to the Chinese Revolution.
The third museum dedicated to the Long March is the Luding Bridge Revolutionary Relics Memorial Hall at Ganzizhou, Luding County 甘孜州泸定县泸定桥革命文物纪念馆. In Mai 1935, the Red Army crossed the Dadu River 大度 to escape the troops of Chiang Kaishek. For that purpose, the Communist forces captured the bridge at Luding and continued their way northwards (People’s Daily 1957).
In his poem “The Long March”, Mao described the Luding Bridge over the Dadu River by emphasizing its cold and rough nature: “Cold the iron chains spanning the Dadu River 大渡桥横铁索寒” (can be found in: “The 37 poems of Chairman Mao “1964: 15).
The capture of the Luding Bridge seemingly represents an essential milestone concerning the history of the Long March with an important impact on the symbolic reprocessing of the same. The Luding Bridge Revolutionary Memorial Hall was built in 1980 and portrays the history of the battle at the Dadu River and the conquest of the Luding Bridge. In 1985, a memorial stele with calligraphy of PRC president Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 (1904-1997) was inaugurated, reading: “The Red Army Conquering the Luding Bridge Memorial Stele 红军飞夺泸定桥纪念碑” (Website China Daily). Due to the outstanding relevance of the Luding Bridge, it is not surprising that the museum was added to the second batch of Patriotic Education Bases 爱国主义教育基地 in 2001.
Guan Rong 关 荣 (15.08.2019): “Hongjun Changzheng Qionlai jinianguan 红军长征邛崃纪念馆 (The Red Army Long March Museum at Qionglai)”. In: cd.wenming.cn. http://cd.wenming.cn/zt2019/jyjd/201908/t20190815_6005552.shtml (latest access 10.08.2021).
Karl, Rebecca E. (2010): Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World. London and Durham: Duke University Press.
Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1964): Mao Zhuxi shici sanshi qi shou 毛主席诗词三十七首 (The 37 poems of Chairman Mao). Beijing 北京: Cultural Relics Printing House.
N.N. (1985): Ludingqiao 泸定桥 (The Luding Bridge). Chengdu 成都: Sichuan People Publishing House.
Saich, Tony (1996): The rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. Armonk: An East Gate Book.
Xiao Jianqing 肖健卿 and Zhang Deyun 张德云 (13.08.1985): “Miannningxian Yi Han junming juxing gezhong huodong – jinian Hongjun Changzheng “Yihai jieming“ wushi zhounian 冕宁县彝汉军民举行各种活动 纪念红军长征“彝海结盟”五十周年 (Several kinds of activities of soldiers and the common people of both Han and Yi ethnicity were held in Mianning County -Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Red Army Long March “Yihai Alliance”)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报: Beijing 北京.
Yang Chengwu 杨成武 (27.07.1957): “Fei duo Ludingqiao 飞夺泸定桥 (Capturing the Luding Bridge)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报: Beijing 北京.
Website China Daily: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/dfpd/jiandang90nian/2011-05/05/content_12480949_2.htm
Website Yi qi dui ji:
(Red Army Long March Museum at Qionglai City)
https://www.iwenbo.fun/museum/4413.html (Yihai Alliance Old Site at Mianning County)
List of Pictures:
Featured Image/Picture 1: “The Long March in China, 1934-1935.” (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_March#/media/File:Map_of_the_Long_March_1934-1935-en.svg, author: Chinese_civil_war_map_03.jpg: User:Guimard.derivative work: Rowanwindwhistler (talk).
Picture 2: “The Luding Bridge” (source: Luding bridge – Long March – Wikipedia, author: Rolf Müller (User:Rolfmueller).
Picture 3: “Swiftly taking Luding Bridge” (source: Swiftly taking Luding Bridge | Chinese Posters | Chineseposters.net, designer: Lei Tan (雷坦). Call number BG E15/467 (Stefan R. Landsberger Private Collection)).