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Stories about epic Long March most accessible via TV & film screens

Reporter: Li Qiong 丨 CCTV.com

10-08-2016 00:59 BJT

Full coverage: 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Red Army's Long March

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Red Army's epic Long March - a 12,500 kilometer manouver led by the Communist Party of China.

Over the past fifty years, people have learned a lot about how the Long March has laid down an important foundation for the Communist Victory in China's civil war. 

Losses in wars, debates during meetings, and transfers in harsh conditions.

The 12,500-kilometer trek has witnessed countless stories of the Red Army. And many of them have been adapted into films and TV shows so that people can learn about its history, and remember.

As soon as the historical Long March came to a successful end in 1936, the army's soldiers were encouraged to put down their experiences along the route.

Since then, stories about the epic trek have been released to the world through different art forms, but those on the TV or movies screens are believed to be the most widely accessible.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the strategic maneuver, this crew plans to produce a TV series about the eight major force unions during the march.

They went over the Red Army's route, like many other crews did during the past few decades, to dig into the details of the journey.

The low oxygen density on the climbs across snowy mountains makes it hard for many actors today -- just as it did for the Red Army's soldiers back then.

"I couldn't forget the day of March 10 when we were shooting on the snowy Maerkang mountain at an altitute of more than 4,000 meters. It was windy and snowy that day, and I saw 12 crew members collapse in front of me. The harshness of the route suprised us," said Wan Shenghua, director of TV Series 'Long March Force Unions'.

And it was never easy along the route.

The Red Army set out from Ruijin, Jiangxi Province, in October 1934. Trekking over waters and mountains amid ongoing battles, the army finally arrived at Wuqi Town in Shaanxi Province in October, 1935. This is the place where the Long March would officially end a year later.

5,000 out of the 8,000 soldiers died in the first two months of battles, alone. But there is a silver lining: the march has made a great contribution to China today -- by giving it a new central leadership.

Wan said, "We tried to tell the audience how Mao Zedong was chosen as the undisputed leader when the army was encountering its most difficult time. After the Zunyi meeting, Mao Zedong led the Communist Party and the Red Army to the success of the revolution."

There have been different opinions about which way the major forces should have gone, but in the end, Mao Zedong's decision proved to be a defining one that has made China what it is today.

"The composition of the army's forces were quite complicated. People from all walks of life, like farmers to market vendors. How were these people going to become qualified soldiers? I think Chairman Mao Zedong and other party officials must have worked very hard on this. It's really a challenging task," said Lei Xianhe, playwright of TV Series 'Long March Force Unions'.

The other two major forces of the Red Army – the Second Front Army and the Fourth Front Army – started their expeditions in 1935. They joined forces in Sichuan Province in July 1936 and travelled north together.

In October, 1936, the three major forces of the Red Army reunited in Gansu Province and the long march of the Red Army finally came to an end.

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