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Its prior annihilation campaigns beaten back by the Red Army, the Kuomintang troops launched an even fiercer attack on the Jinggang Mountain Revolutionary Base. In his book The Cambridge History of China, Professor Llord E. Eastman described: “But not until the fifth annihilation campaign of 1933-4 which Chiang employed about 800,000 troops, was advised by German and Japanese advisers, and augmented his military offensive with a stringent economic blockade of the Communist areas – did he gain a nearly decisive victory over the Communists. The Communists, defeated militarily and suffering incredibly from shortages of food, summoned their last reserves of strength and courage, broke out of the Nationalist encirclement, and in October 1934 commenced what was to become the Long March.”

The Long March was a milestone event in contemporary China. Professor John K. Fairbank, a leading scholar in modern and contemporary China studies, proclaimed the Long March as being almost a miracle, more documented than Moses leading his Chosen People through the Red Sea. The marchers covered 6,000 miles in a year, averaging 17 miles a day. However, this miracle was conceived under extremely harsh conditions. Southwestern China’s terrain is incredibly rugged, with precipitous mountains, deep valleys and rushing rivers. There are no plains.

Thanks to Mao’s military acumen, the Red Army finally routed the Kuomintang troops. From January 15 to 17, 1935, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held a conference in Zunyi, a small city in Guizhou Province. Here Mao’s military strategy was acknowledged as being correct and his leadership over the Party and the Red Army was formally acknowledged.

Under Mao’s leadership, in 1949 the CPC liberated the nation and founded the People’s Republic of China, one of the most important chapters in the nation’s history.

A gifted leader, Mao rescued the Chinese revolution from near-failure and defeated an enemy previously thought to be undefeatable. He thus became an everlasting legend in human history.

A city hidden deep in the mountains, Zunyi is a popular tourist destination. Today, at the site of the Zunyi Conference stands a memorial hall. The building remains original in appearance, and the streets and lanes in front of and behind the building are paved with stone planks. Also, in order to maintain harmony with the memorial hall, the surrounding buildings were all reconstructed into low structures with the architectural style of northern Guizhou of the early 20th Century. In addition, other memorials of the Long March, such as the Memorial Hall of Crossing the Chishui River Four Times and the Observatory in Loushan Pass Scenic Resort, have been restored and well preserved.

The areas around Zunyi have also long been renowned for liquor production. When passing by Maotai Town, near Zun-yi, during the Long March soldiers of the Red Army drank Moutai liquor and found that the potent elixir had curative properties. “Local residents presented homemade liquor to welcome us when we arrived at Maotai Town,” recalled Zhu De, then commander-in-chief of the Red Army. “Soldiers applied the liquor to their wounds and feet and found it could relieve pain and diminish inflammation. They also drank it to treat diarrhea. It was a great help for those of us who suffered an extreme shortage of medicine at that time. Thus, our success in the Long March was partly attributed to Moutai liquor.” After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Moutai liquor was designated as the alcoholic beverage for state banquets. During his 1972 visit to China, former US president Richard M. Nixon spoke highly of the beverage.

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