Memorial Hall of Martyrs in Northeast China

When the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) was over, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started immediately to honor the personalities, who contributed in an outstanding way to China’s victory over the Japanese Imperial Army.

Manchuria, especially, was a “hot spot” of Communist resistance against the invasion of the Japanese Empire. According to the research of Kai Vogelsang, between 1932 and 1940, the Japanese Army killed 66.000 people related to the CCP, who rose against the puppet state Manchukuo 满洲国, controlled by the Japanese government (Vogelsang 2020: 379). It is therefore not surprising that a memorial hall was built to commemorate the Chinese struggle against Japan in the Northeast of China.

The Memorial Hall of Martyrs in Northeast China 东北烈士纪念馆 in Harbin 哈尔滨市 of Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省.

As stated in a guide published in 1958 by the memorial hall itself, it was opened to the public on 10. October 1948. The building that houses the memorial hall used to be the location of  the Manchukuo Police in Harbin 满洲国哈尔滨警察庁, which was in charge of the internal security of Manchukuo. The site is therefore seen as inextricably linked with the suppression of the Chinese people (Yi qi zhui ji).

The memorial hall commemorates the heroic deeds of several martyrs who fought against the Japanese Army, such as the CCP founding member Chen Tanqiu 陈潭秋 (1896-1943) and the female resistance fighter Zhao Yiman 趙一曼 (1905-1936).

Picture 1: 临时关押处,赵一曼1936年7月被关押在此 (The temporary prison site, where Zhao Yiman was imprisoned in July 1936)

Right after its inauguration, the memorial hall offered more than 12 exhibition rooms with more than 800 historical cultural relics, such as photos, rifles, and other objects related to the martyrs as well as their opponents (Dongbei lieshi jinianguan 1958: 2, 6).  According to the website bytravel.cn, after the site was renovated in 1998, it held more than 10 large-scale thematic exhibitions such as “The Exhibition of Chosen Inscriptions and Paintings from the Collection of the Memorial Hall of Martyrs in Northeast China  东北烈士纪念馆馆藏题词、绘画精品展”.  Since 2005 the memorial hall has held two permanent exhibitions: “Heroic Souls on the Black Soil – The Exhibition of Martyrs’ Deeds during the War of Resistance against Japan in the Northeast 黑土英魂—东北抗日战争时期烈士事迹陈列” shows 14 years of resistance against the Japanese by the people in Northeast China between 1931 and 1945; and “The Exhibition of the Reconstructed Site of the Police of the Puppet State Manchukuo in Harbin and its Crimes 伪满洲国哈尔滨警察厅遗址及罪恶展” intends to reveal the Manchukuo Police’s brutal suppression of the local people (Yi qi zhui ji).

As reported in an article published in the Guangming Daily 光明日报, the memorial hall also offers electronic reading sections and multifunctional activity rooms. In addition, a research center is planned to be added to the site, with relevant historical documents and materials available for visitors to download.

Like the Memorial Park and Hall of the Martyr Dong Cunrui 董存瑞烈士陵园及纪念馆 in Hebei Province 河北省 and the Liu Hulan Memorial 刘胡兰纪念馆 in Shanxi Province 山西省, the Memorial Hall of Martyrs in Northeast China was listed in the first batch of Bases for Patriotic Education 爱国主义教育基地 in 1997. Insofar, we may say that the worship of martyrs is a major dimension of political education in post-Maoist China.

Bibliography:

Dongbei lieshi jinianguan ed. 东北烈士纪念馆编 (1958): Dongbei lieshi jinianguan 东北烈士纪念馆 (The Northeast China Martyrs Memorial Hall). Harbin 黑龙江: Heilongjiang renmin chubanshe.

Vogelsang, Kai (2020): China und Japan – Zwei Reiche unter einem Himmel. Stuttgart: Körner Verlag.

Zhao Hongbo 赵洪波 and Zhang Shiying 张士英 (04.09.2017): “‘Dongbei kang lian yinglie song‘ zhuti huodong juxing 东北抗联英烈颂 主题活动举行 (The Theme Activity „Ode to the Northeast Anti-Japanese Heros was held)“. In: Guangming ribao 光明日报.

Zhu Weihua 朱伟华 and Zhang Shiying 张士英 (22.05.2017): “Dongbei lieshi jinianguan wenxian xinxi zhongxin xiang shehui kaifang 东北烈士纪念馆文献信息中心向社会开放 (The Document and Information Center of the Memorial of Martyrs in the Northeast was open to the public)“. In: Guangming ribao 光明日报.

Website bytravel.cn: http://www.bytravel.cn/landscape/14/dongbeilieshijinianguan.html

Website Yi qi zhui ji:

https://www.iwenbo.fun/museum/887.html

List of Pictures:

Featured Image : “东北烈士纪念馆2017夏。正面” (source: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%BC%AA%E6%BB%A1%E6%B4%B2%E5%9B%BD%E5%93%88%E5%B0%94%E6%BB%A8%E8%AD%A6%E5%AF%9F%E5%8E%85%E6%97%A7%E5%9D%80#/media/File:%E4%B8%9C%E5%8C%97%E7%83%88%E5%A3%AB%E7%BA%AA%E5%BF%B5%E9%A6%862017%E5%A4%8F.jpg , author: Amarespeco).

Picture 1: “临时关押处,赵一曼1936年7月被关押在此 (The temporary prison site, where Zhao Yiman was imprisoned in July 1936) (source: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%BC%AA%E6%BB%A1%E6%B4%B2%E5%9B%BD%E5%93%88%E5%B0%94%E6%BB%A8%E8%AD%A6%E5%AF%9F%E5%8E%85%E6%97%A7%E5%9D%80#/media/File:%E6%BB%A1%E6%B4%B2%E5%9B%BD%E5%93%88%E5%B0%94%E6%BB%A8%E8%AD%A6%E5%AF%9F%E5%8E%85_%E4%B8%B4%E6%97%B6%E5%85%B3%E6%8A%BC%E5%A4%84.jpg , author: Huanokinhejo).


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