The cherished city

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-28 09:27
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The campus of the East China University of Political Science and Law, with heritage-listed buildings, is a major historical and cultural site. [PHOTO BY GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

While many people flock to the Suzhou Creek area to enjoy a leisurely stroll and take in the views of these charming old buildings over the weekends, few know that these structures would not still be around today if not for the sacrifices made by the People's Liberation Army more than 70 years ago.

The late PLA general, Su Yu, was, at the time, the deputy commander-in-chief of the army that fought against the Kuomintang in Shanghai in May 1949.

In his memoir, Su said the primary goal of the people's army was to take Shanghai with minimal damage to the city and minimal civilian casualties.

"To avoid widespread destruction of the city, we ordered the troops to minimize the use of heavy artillery, especially when the battle entered the downtown area," Su wrote.

In his account, the PLA troops launched the main attack on Wusongkou, the port in the northern suburb where the Kuomintang was defending the entry point to the Yangtze River.

"It was a hard war, and we made great sacrifices. But we are the people's army, and to keep the people's city intact, to protect people's lives and fortunes was our price to pay and it was worth it," he wrote.

The fierce battle in the suburbs lasted 12 days, from May 12 to 24, and the battle in the downtown area only took three days. The battle for Shanghai ended on May 27.

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