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Walking a hero's path

By Wang Ru | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-01 09:32
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New Zealand explorer Josh James and actor Wallace Chung visit the home of a local woman in the foothills of the Jiajin Mountain to learn about the Red Army's experience crossing the area, and taste a bowl of "pepper water" in preparation for their journey. [Photo provided to China Daily]

New documentary puts Chinese stars through their paces as they attempt to experience the herculean journeys of lauded revolutionaries and endure the same arduous challenges, Wang Ru reports.

Chinese Canadian actor Shawn Dou has discovered through filming adventure documentary Journey of Warriors that birch bark tastes "worse than medicine", while some insect eggs, which he thought might be slimy, actually have a surprisingly sweet taste.

Surviving in the wilderness may be a fanciful experience for many adventurers, but for those who had to survive, subsisting mainly on tree bark, traveling through snowstorms in the mountains and hiding from the pursuing enemy with a small amount of equipment for many months during winter, it was not a hobby, but a life-or-death battle.

This is what the soldiers of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, led by General Yang Jingyu, who established secret camps in the Changbai Mountain, Northeast China's Jilin province, had to endure as they fought with the enemy during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Some modern Chinese stars try to relive the experience of their predecessors from Chinese revolutionary history for the documentary, which began airing on streaming site Tencent Video on Nov 9 and on Discovery Channel on Sunday.

Coproduced by Tencent Video, China Intercontinental Communication Center and Discovery Channel, among others, the six-episode documentary features the adventures of Chinese stars Wallace Chung, Dou, Zhang Xinyu and Yan Xujia, with New Zealand explorer Josh James, who is also a host of several Discovery Channel adventure programs, and is set in dangerous places related to the history of the Chinese revolution.

"Since ancient times, legends about heroes exist wherever human beings congregate. Respecting heroes is the common spiritual gene of people across the world, regardless of differences in time, race and beliefs," says Wang Ao, general director of the production. "The Chinese revolution, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, has many immortal moments, and each of them has heroes who struggled or sacrificed for the nation's liberation and freedom. We want to pay tribute to them."

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