Tomb of the Martyr Li Dazhao

Li Dazhao 李大钊 (1889-1927), a leading figure and co-founder of the Communist Party played an important role in importing Marxism to China. After studying political economics at Waseda University in Japan (1914-1916) he was recruited by Cai Yuanpei as head of the Peking University’s library. Among his students and assistants in the library was Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976). Being a key intellectual in the New Culture Movement he translated and wrote numerous texts on Marxism and Bolshevism.

Picture 1: Statue of Li Dazao at his cemetery

Li identified th peasant as an important member of the revolutionary movement (based on Kropotkin’s anarchism) and founded the Peking Socialist Youth Club in 1920, before the founding of the Communist Party one year later. Though unable to be present at that event on 1 July 1921 he is counted among the co-founders, together with Chen Duxiu 陈独秀 (1879-1842). Due to rising conflicts between the KMT, the Comintern and the Communist Party in the mid-1920s he became a victim of political intrigues, leading to his arrest in 1927 when the Fengtian clique raided the Soviet embassy in Beijing. On 28 April 1927 he was executed by hanging on the orders of the warlord Zhang Zuolin 张作霖 (1875-1928).

The Cemetary of the Martyr Li Dazhao was established after a decision of the Central Committee, opening to the public on 29 October 1983. Encompassing a terrain of 2200 square meters it houses a building imitating an old courtyard, his tomb, a stone stele donated by Deng Xiaoping and stone inscriptions by leading persons of the party and the state, as well as an exhibition hall dedicated to his revolutionary achievements. In 2005, it became a red site.

Li Dazhao can also be revered digitally as he is included in the List of Chinese Martyrs put together by the PRC’s Ministry of Veterans Affairs 中华人民共和国退役军人事务部.

CCTV-10 produced in 2016 a documentary of his memorial site in Laoting County in Hebei Province (《全国爱国主义教育示范基地巡礼》李大钊纪念馆).

List of Pictures

Picture 1: Statue of Li Dazao at his cemetery (Source, the original uploader was 用心阁 at Chinese Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0].


Li, Da-zhao (1969): Im Kampf für ein sozialistisches China. Berlin: Dietz-Verlag.

Meisner, Maurice (1967): Li Ta-chao and the origins of Chinese Marxism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Pringsheim, Klaus H. (1962): “The Functions of Chinese Communist Youth Leagues 1920–1949,” in: The China Quarterly, no. 12, pp. 75–91.

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