China president revives Long March myths to rally party
BEIJING: As China marks 80 years since the Red Army ended its epic Long March, the Communist Party is attacking revisionist history in an effort to compel reverence for its founding legend. Facing annihilation at the hands of Nationalists during China’s civil war in 1934, some 80,000 Communist soldiers and leadersMao Zedong among them-broke through encircling forces and embarked on a grueling escape. Nine out of 10 had deserted or died by the time the last units reached Yanan in the northern province of Shaanxi as much as two years later, where Mao and his cohorts founded a base from which they went on to take over the country.
According to Communist Party lore the marchers travelled at least 12,500 kilometers through some of the country’s most remote and hazardous terrain. The anniversary is being marked this week, with a daily drumbeat of newspaper articles and op-eds-plus dozens of TV dramas, documentaries, trivia contests, radio broadcast sand special exhibitions extolling their heroism. President Xi Jinping has put his stamp on the occasion, visiting museums in the northern region of Ningxia and Beijing. Xi has declared the party must emulate the march’s spirit in pursuit of his “Chinese Dream”, a vaguely defined promise of national rejuvenation, and the party’s centenary goal to build a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021.
“We, the new generation, should accomplish our new Long March,” he said. The drive comes just ahead of a top party meeting in the capital this month, with speculation mounting that Xi may delay appointing a successor and seek to stay in power beyond the traditional 10-year term. Evoking the legend is “a good reminder to everybody that the party actually did, and does, stand for something” despite the Communist Party’s loss of “purpose and legitimacy”, Trey McArver, a London-based China politics analyst at Trusted Sources research firm said. — AFP
BEIJING: Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. — AFP