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Stories of statesmen in Beidaihe

( Updated: 2014-09-01 13:03

1. Zhu De blazes a trail

Due to his poor health, Zhu De, former commander in chief of the People's Liberation Army, came to recuperate in Beidaihe in June 1949, becoming the first senior leader to stay there. After that visit, Zhu De insisted on coming to the resort to rest and recuperate until the year before his death in 1976.

Zhu De's family were known to spend summers in Beidaihe almost every year. Zhu once forbid his grandson from visiting Beidaihe after he failed examinations.

Zhu loved Beidaihe so much that he once told his wife Kang Keqing, "I can't be more appreciative than if my body can be buried in this ideal mountain after death."

In the end, however, he chose cremation instead of burial.

2. Mao Zedong's passion

Mao Zedong first visited Beidaihe in April 1954.

He enjoyed the area so much that he returned in July and stayed until September, when the rest of the central government officials had already gone back to Beijing.

During the second stay in Beidaihe, Mao had a good time swimming and even held competitions with youngsters.

Mao even wrote a poem in praise of Beidaihe after a heavy rain swamped the area. His Beidaihe verses are still widely read among Chinese poetry lovers.

3. Love story of Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao

Former premier Zhou Enlai and his wife Deng Yingchao also spent their leisure time in Beidaihe.

Due to her frail health, Deng spent a period of time there to recuperate in summer during the 1950s.

In a summer in 1958, Deng was in Beidaihe for a long period while Zhou was preoccupied with work in Beijing. She made telephone calls to Zhou every day and only by his voice she was able to figure out the condition of his health.

4. Deng Xiaoping's homemade health check

Deng Xiaoping, credited with spearheading China's reform, always spent his summers at Beidaihe during the 1980s, including his birthdays with his family.

Deng liked to swim at Beidaihe and considered the sport the most important activity there. Deng once said: "I prefer swimming in the sea than indoor swimming, which is more free and full of vigor."

He once allowed tourists to have a group photo taken with him in Beidaihe after swimming.

During a meeting with high-level Japanese officials in August1986, he said "There are two things I use to gauge my condition. One is if I am still able to swim in the sea which indicates my physical condition. The other one is if I can still play bridge, which shows if I still have a sharp mind."

During his last summer in Beidaihe in July 1992, the 88-year-old still wanted to go swimming despite his doctors' advice. He managed to swim eight times in sea that summer, with his longest dip lasting an hour.

5. Defection of Lin Biao

Lin Biao, once one of the most powerful marshals that helped found the People's Republic of China, planned his escape at his villa in Beidaihe in the summer of 1971.

Earlier, Lin had been deposed after in a failed coup.

His plan was to use his daughter's engagement ceremony to make his getaway. He never thought his own daughter would foil his escape by leaking the information to authorities.

This unexpected episode quickened Lin's defection. He indiscreetly fled his villa with his wife and a son and boarded a plane for the Soviet Union. The flight ended in death for all passengers on board on Sept 13, 1971.

6. Bush family vacation

Former US president George H W Bush took his family to Beidaihe for vacations several times when he served as chief of the US Liaison Office in China.

His son and also a former US president George W Bush spoke highly of the area, saying the air quality in Beidaihe was excellent and relieved a cough he said he got in Beijing.

The younger Bush also expressed his fondness for the beach in Beidaihe.

Stories of statesmen in Beidaihe


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