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Story about revisiting 'the Long March'

Reporter: Xia Ruixue 丨 CCTV.com

06-06-2016 13:16 BJT

Full coverage: 95 years of glory

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Long March by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China. Most of the troops had died or were reported missing during the 12,000,500 kilometer trek. In 1984, a book recounting the stories from the Long March was published.

"Someday, someone will write the full epic of this exciting expedition" were the words American journalist Edgar Snow wrote about the Long March in his book "Red Star over China."

And that "someone" is 86-year-old Zheng Guangjin. Inspired by Snow's words, Zheng wrote the book "A History of China’s Long March." It was literally a long march for him to finish it.

Zheng said, "That was a big challenge for me. I was born in a poor family, so I didn't get much chance to study in the school when I was young. But I'm never too old to learn. I prepared for it for a long time."

After retiring from the People's Liberation Army in 1975, Zheng started his long and winding journey to uncover stories about the Long March. And that took him nine years.

Zheng first went to provinces and regions where the Red Army troops traveled, and interviewed hundreds of people. He visited 22 archives and libraries, and collected materials of more than four million words.

"Travelling was really difficult that time. It took too much time on the way. And there was no printer or photocopier at all. So I had to transcribe the materials all by my hands. Those nine years were really tough," Zheng also said.

He began writing in February 1984. In a span of 18 months, he finished more than 800,000 words.

And finally, in June 1987, "A History of China’s Long March" was published. By writing the book, the author said he had told a complete story of that famous expedition.

Zheng said, "Thanks to the Communist Party, all the Chinese people have experienced big changes in their lives. And my life as well is getting better every single day. As a member of the Communist Party, I have a responsibility to do something. I chose to let people know what the real Long March is and how it changed our life."

The Long March is a forced expedition that eventually laid an important foundation for the Communist victory in the Civil War. Zheng Guangjin paid a tribute to the history in his own way. And we also have the same responsibility to learn the spirit and pass it from generation to generation.

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