TV doc­u­men­tary show­cases early his­tory of PLA

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By XU FAN

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.

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