The Red Army Martyrs Cemetery of the Sichuan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base
After the Sichuan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base 川陕革命根据地 was established in December 1932, Sichuan Province 四川省 was an area where the Red Fourth Front Army Army 红四方面军 encountered the troops of the Guomindang government in many battles, especially in 1934, when the Communists tried to strengthen the combat ability of the Red Army 红军 in order to gain control of several provinces in the northwest (Saich 1996: 567). During the Long March 长征 (1934-1935), 48.000 members of the Red Fourth Front Army died when they tried to leave the Revolutionary Base at Sichuan (N.N. 2020).
As a result of these and other bloody incidents, several military cemeteries in Sichuan were dedicated to the communist forces. The most famous of them might be the Red Army Martyrs Cemetery of the Sichuan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base 川陕革命根据地红军烈士陵园, located in Wangping Village 王坪村 in the east of Bazhong City 巴中市.
Founded in 1934, it is considered to be the largest collection of tombs belonging to former Red Army soldiers. In 1985, the cemetery expanded into the “Wangping Martyrs Cemetery of the Red Fourth Front Army 红四方面军王坪烈士陵园” (People’s Daily 人民日报 2012). In 2012, several repairs and renovations were accomplished, and the cemetery was reopened to the public a half year later. During the restoration the cemetery again grew larger by moving an additional number of 17,225 graves of Red Army Martyrs to the site (People’s Daily 民日报 2012).
Furthermore, the cemetery welcomes the visitor with a 12-meter-high archway with 6 pillars, which recalls the establishment of the Sichuan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base. On the top of the archway, an inscription can be found, reading the title of the cemetery (N.N. 2020). Besides its role as a place of memory dedicated to the victims of the struggle against the GMD, the site was added to the fourth batch of Patriotic Education Bases 爱国主义教育基地 in 2009.
Due to this, the cemetery not only serves as a memorial site for members of the first communist combat force but also as a place for the political education of the present and future generations.
Karl, Rebecca E. (2010): Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World. London and Durham: Duke University Press.
Liu Yuguo 刘裕国 and Zhao Binfeng 赵彬丰 (10.05.2012): “Chuan shaan geming genjudi hongjun lieshi lingyuan kai yuan – lingyuan changmian liang mo wu qian duo ming lieshi 川陕革命根据地红军烈士陵园开园 陵园长眠两万五千多名烈士 (The Opening of the The Red Army Martyrs Cemetery in the Sichuan-Shanxi Revolutionary Base – More than 25.000 famous martyrs were buried at the cemetery)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报.
N.N. (11.10.2020): “Chuan Shaan geming genjudi hongjun lieshi lingyuan 川陕革命根据地红军烈士陵园 (The Red Army Martyrs Cemetery of the Sichuan-Shaanxi Revolutionary Base 川陕革命根据地红军烈士陵园). In: www.tjxzf. gov.cn. http://www.tjxzf.gov.cn/tjly/lyzx/13008741.html (last access: 24.08.2021).
Saich, Tony (1996): The rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. Armonk: An East Gate Book.
List of Pictures:
Featured Image: “red army flag with Hammer and sickle on a white star over a red background” (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Red_Army#/media/File:%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%B7%A5%E8%BE%B2%E7%B4%85%E8%BB%8D%E8%BB%8D%E6%97%97.svg, author: PhiLiP).