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A Long March battle to remember

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-22 10:12
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President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits a memorial hall in a memorial park dedicated to the Battle of the Xiangjiang River during the Long March in the 1930s, in Caiwan, a town in Quanzhou county in the city of Guilin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, April 25, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- During the Long March of the Red Army led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the 1930s, a major battle was fought along the Xiangjiang River in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

In 1934, the Kuomintang (KMT) army had blockaded stretches of the Xiangjiang River. The battle that ensued saw the Red Army successfully breach the KMT's massive deployment, but not without sacrifice. More than 50,000 of the Red Army's 86,000 troops died on the battlefield. This bloody confrontation would go down in the annals of history as the Battle of the Xiangjiang River.

Eighty-seven years on, President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, is encouraging the people of China to channel the courage and determination of those revolutionary soldiers on a new march, one toward national rejuvenation.

During an inspection in Guangxi in April this year, Xi visited the Battle of the Xiangjiang River memorial park in Quanzhou county. He described the clash as a "life-or-death event" for the Chinese revolution, and for this reason, he has singled it out as the one Long March battle that impressed him the most.

The Red Army soldiers stayed true to their ideals and convictions so that they could break the enemy's blockade with courageous sacrifice, he said during the inspection.

"Heroic! Chen Shuxiang is one of the heroes who sacrificed their lives," Xi explained when viewing a painting depicting the Red Army officer's death on the battlefield.

Chen was just 29 when he led his rearguard division battling against the KMT army. Chen was wounded during the fierce battle and seized by the enemy. Rather than surrender, he killed himself and died a heroic death.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the victory of the military maneuver of the Red Army -- the Long March. From October 1934 to October 1936, the Red Army trekked 12,500 km across the country, repelling more than 1 million enemy troops bent on pursuing and blocking it and eventually establishing a revolutionary base in northwest China.

"Every generation has its own long march, and every generation must see that march through," Xi said. "The long march of our generation is to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation."

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