Xi re­vives Long March myths to rally party

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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 lead­ers – Mao Ze­dong among them – broke through en­cir­cling forces and em­barked on a gru­elling 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 kilo­me­tres (7750 miles) 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 ex­tolling their hero­ism.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has put his stamp on the oc­ca­sion, vis­it­ing mu­se­ums in the north­ern re­gion of Ningxia and Bei­jing.

Mr 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.

“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 Mr Xi may de­lay ap­point­ing a suc­ces­sor and seek to stay in power be­yond the tra­di­tional 10-year term.

Mr Xi’s em­brace of the Long March re­flects his de­sire to gather the party’s pas­sion around him and chan­nel Mao’s author­ity, said Liu Tong, his­to­rian at Shang­hai Jiao­tong Univer­sity.

Photo: AFP

Xi Jin­ping has put his stamp on the an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.