TV documentary showcases early history of PLA
When 10-year-old Liu Jian was studying at a Beijing primary school in the early 1960s, his teacher read a famous poem written by Chairman Mao Zedong to the class.
But when the students were confused about the battle depicted in the poem, the teacher asked Liu if he could get details from his grandfather.
Liu is the grandson of Zhu De, one of the founding fathers of New China and the People’s Liberation Army.
“My grandfather rarely talked about his feats at home, as he believed the victories belonged to the people,” says Liu.
But the late army marshal made an exception for the teacher, inviting her home and speaking about the battle, which was a key one.
This story is featured in the upcoming TV documentary Ni Cong Jinggangshan Zoulai (You Come from Jinggang Mountain), which is based on the early history of the PLA.
Liu and 22 other descendants of the armed forces pioneers, such as the late premier Zhou Enlai’s niece Zhou Bingde and the late army marshal Luo Ronghuan’s son Luo Dongjin, recently attended an event to promote the series in Beijing.
To mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, the six-episode series will air on Beijing Satellite TV from Aug 1, with two episodes every night.
The series, set between 1924 and 1930, chronicles events that shaped the army and Mao’s military theories.
The events include the 1927 Nanchang Uprising, the Communist Party of China’s first fight against Kuomintang rule, the founding of the Party-led army and the Sanwan Reorganization, which set up a new system to consolidate the Party’s leadership of the army in Jiangxi province in 1927.
Another event highlighted is the joining forces at Jinggang Mountain, which saw the forces led by Zhu and Chen Yi retreating from the Nanchang Uprising to join Mao’s army that had retreated from another battle — known as Autumn Harvest Uprising in Hunan province — in the Jinggang Mountain
It was impressive and moving. ...They made us see the power of faith.” Huang Wei, director of the series
that borders Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.
Huang Wei, director of the series, says the crew took more than eight months to produce the series, 55 minutes for each episode.
“The average age of our team is 26. But when we were doing research, we discovered that most of the soldiers were younger than 26,” says Huang.
“It was impressive and moving. These warriors risked their lives, tolerating extremely harsh conditions to fight for the people. They made us see the power of faith,” he adds.
Inspired by the stories, Huang says that seven members of the crew applied to join the Party after the filming.
The documentary uses the 22 relatives of the veterans as narrators as well as wartime letters, diaries and memoirs to relive history in an interesting way.
Huang, who has worked on documentaries about the PLA history with regard to the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), the War of Liberation (1946-1949) and the Korean War (1950-1953), says the series also taught him about the early history of the armed forces.
Zhou Bingde, daughter of Zhou Enlai’s younger brother, says the series will inspire the younger generations.
She recalls the words penned by Zhou Enlai in 1919, which show his wish to see China rise in the world.
“Now we are seeing his dream come true,” she says.
Yao Youzhi, a scholar with the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army, says the series is narrated in an audiencefriendly way.
Top: The site of the Fifth National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in Wuhan, Hubei province, in 1927. Above: Zhou Bingde, niece of the late premier Zhou Enlai, plays a narrator in the series.