Langyashan Scenic Area in Yi County

The Langyashan Scenic Area 狼牙山风景区 in Yi County 易县 is an important part of the Anti-Japanese lore of the Communist Party. The mountain became famous for the heroic deeds of five soldiers in the fight against Japan who allegedly killed dozens of Japanese soldiers and decided to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff in order to avoid being captured.

Picture 1: Statues of Five Heroes on Mount Langya at the foot of Mount Langya

Three of the five soldiers died and reported that when jumping all shouted “Down with Japanese imperialism” 打倒日本帝国主义 and “Long live the Communist Party” 共产党万岁.Ma Baoyu 马宝玉 (1920-1941), Ge Zhenlin 葛振林 (1917-2005), Hu Delin 胡德林 (1917-1941), Hu Fucai 胡福才 (1913-1941) and Song Xueyi 宋学义 (1918-1971) became famous when their story was popularized in literature, film, comics and drama. At the Langyashan Scenic Area they are commemorated by a pavilion erected in 1959.

Picture 2: The commemorating pavilion at the top of Mount Langya

Popular historiography often depicts the revolutionary spirit and heroism of these soldiers, as depicted in many elementary school books (see e.g. Zhou Xian 2012). In 2016, however, the historian Hong Zhenkuai 洪振快 casted doubt on this myth by claiming that the five soldiers had simply slipped, instead of sacrificed themselves by jumping. He published his interpretation in November 2013 in the journal Yanhuang Chunqiu 炎黄春秋 (see issue 11) and was heavily criticized for defaming the heroes and for negating Communist Party’s history by indulging in historical nihilism 历史虚无主义, that is destroying historical truth by letting Western theories such as postmodernism and post-structuralism guide his analysis (for such a critique see Lishi yanjiu 3/2015). When being ordered by a Beijing court in June 2016 to withdraw his views and publish an apology on websites he refused to do so (even after a second verdict by the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court) by pointing to the values of academic freedom (see the report in the New York Times).



List of Pictures

Picture 1: Statues of Five Heroes on Mount Langya (source, author Huangdan 2060 [CC0]).

Picture 2: The commemorating pavilion at the top of Mount Langya (source, author Huangdan2060 [CC0]).



Li Nan 李楠 (2012): Hongse lüyou—Jin Lu Ji Yu lüxing shengdi daohang  红色旅游—晋、鲁、冀、豫旅行圣地导航. Changchun: Jilin shying chubanshe.

Lishi yanjiu 历史研究 (2015): Bitan — lishi xuwuzhuyi pingxi 笔谈 - 历史虚无主义评析, no. 3, pp. 4-21.

Zhou Xian 赵霰 (2012): Langyashan wu zhuangshi de gushi 狼牙山五壮士的故事. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui chubanshe.

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