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Red Tourism

Yan’an

The Long March ended in northern Shaanxi Province, on a dry loess plateau that lacked rainfall and suffered from severe desertification. It was on this land that the Red Army created a new miracle.

American journalist Edgar Snow was one of the first Westerners to look for greater insight into the Red Army and the CPC in northern Shaanxi. Due to many years of assaults and blockades on the part of the Kuomintang government, the life the CPC and the Red Army really led remained unknown to the outside world. Snow explained: “The fact was that there had been perhaps no greater mystery among nations, no more confused an epic than the story of Red China.” To understand the true “Red China,” Snow came to northern Shaanxi.

 

Based on the trip, Snow wrote the famous book Red Star over China, in which he depicted the tremendous changes brought by the CPC to northern Shaanxi. Yan’an was a poor, inanimate township populated by only 10,000 residents when the Red Army arrived and made it the administrative capital of the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. The arrival of the CPC, however, injected the small town with warmth, happiness and passion, transforming it into a place admired by people around China. People here led a life of spiritual abundance although the area still suffered from material scarcity. At that time, subsistence was the primary consideration, and top CPC leaders personally led local people to open up the wasteland and weave cloth. According to Snow, due to arduous living conditions in northern Shaanxi, many high-ranking CPC leaders endured gastric ulcers and dental disease. The CPC leaders who lived a simple life were in strong contrast to the corrupt Kuo-mintang officers.

In northern Shaanxi, however, the CPC and its army faced an even more difficult situation. On the one hand, they continued the war against the Kuomintang troops; on the other hand, they battled against Japanese invaders. Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, the CPC mobilized peasants to consolidate the revolutionary base and overcame all difficulties along the road to final success. In 1945, Japan surrendered. Then, in 1949, the Kuomintang, headed by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan. After nearly three decades of arduous struggle, the CPC led the Chinese revolution to final victory.

From 1937 to 1947, Yan’an served as the capital of the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region, the seat of the CPC Central Committee, and the command center and home front of the Chinese revolution. Thus, it has long been reputed as a holy land of Chinese revolution. Here are preserved many historic sites, including Phoenix Hill, Yangjialing, Zaoyuan and Wangjiaping. Many tourists pilgrimage to Yan’an each year. The revolutionary sites – whether the Treasure Pagoda on Phoenix Hill or the cave dwellings in Yangjialing – remind visitors of the past hardship endured by the CPC.

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