Army Day in China

August 7, 2019

China and the United States both honor their military. The United States does this on Veterans Day (Monday, November 11) and Memorial Day (Monday, May 25). China celebrates its annual Army Day on August 1st.

Veterans Day in the United States is a federal holiday to honor military veterans that have served in the United States Armed Forces.

History.com says, “Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.”

In the United States, federal employees get the day off for Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

China celebrates Army Day August 1st, and according to China HIGHLIGHTS.com, the men and women that are active-duty troops have half a day off. Although Army Day in China is a holiday, it is a working holiday and not an official day off.

Army Techology.com says, China Military Online estimated in 2015, that 53,000 women (less than 5 percent of the total number of troops) also serve in China’s Army. In the United States, according to the Defense Department, women now make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps.

The Basics explained by Chinese American Family.com: The People’s Liberation Army was founded on August 1, 1927, in Nanchang during a rebellion against nationalist Kuomintang forces. They were known simply as the Red Army during the Chinese Civil War (April 1927 – May 1, 1950). The People’s Liberation Army assumed its role as the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Today, the People’s Liberation Army counts more than two million troops.

I think it is important to note that China’s Civil War started days after the Shanghai massacre of April 12, 1927 when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had his troops slaughter thousands of Communist Party members and union workers without warning followed by a full-scale purge (executions without trials) of Communists in all areas under the KMT’s military control. Before April 12, 1927, the Communist Party was one of the political parties that made up the fledgling Republic of China started by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

“You’re unlikely to see any public celebration of Army Day outside of China, except for perhaps a joint ceremony with a host country at a foreign embassy. Otherwise, this is a domestic state occasion marked by speeches and military demonstrations.”

AnydayGuide reports, “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China established Red Army Day in 1933.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Mao Zedong’s Legacy: Part 2 of 2

July 4, 2018

Before I get to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, I want to point out a few of Mao’s achievements. In the “Land of Famines”, China’s last famine was in 1958-62. For the first time in China’s long history, there hasn’t been a famine since 1962, fourteen years to Mao’s death in 1976 and another forty-two years since then.

The Mao era started in October 1949.  Mao said the People’s Republic of China would be free of inequality, poverty and foreign domination. The population of China was 541,670,000. Women were given new rights at work and in marriage, and foot binding was abolished. To deal with disease, Mao launched programs to improve health care that never existed before, and most of the people were inoculated against the most common diseases. When Mao died, the average life expectancy had increased from 35 to 55, and it is now 76.

When Mao died, the population had increased to more than 700,000. Extreme poverty had been reduced by about 14 percent. Since his death, poverty was reduced to where it is today at 6.5 percent of the population.

With a poverty rate of about 95-percent, Mao had promised land reforms to divide the land more equally. In 1950, with Mao’s blessing, rural property owners were judged enemies of the people by the rest of the rural people and hundreds of thousands were executed for their alleged abuses and crimes against the people that denounced them.

Soon after discovering that the famine was real, Mao ended the Great Leap Forward and publicly admitted he had been wrong and stepped aside to let someone else run the country. The large communes were abandoned, and the peasants returned to their villages and were given land again.  At the time, Mao was popular with the people but he still resigned as the head of state.

Then Mao wrote his infamous “Little Red Book” and used it to start the Cultural Revolution.

Zhang Baoqing, an early Red Guard member in Beijing, said, “Chairman Mao started the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) to keep up the momentum for change. We thought if we followed Mao, we could not go wrong.”

Millions, mostly teenagers, willingly followed Mao’s advice.

The Cultural Revolutions stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology within the Party.

Britannica.com says, “Mao pursued his goals through the Red Guards, groups of the country’s urban youths that were created through mass mobilization efforts. They were directed to root out those among the country’s population who weren’t ‘sufficiently revolutionary’ and those suspected of being ‘bourgeois.’ The Red Guards had little oversight, and their actions led to anarchy and terror, as ‘suspect’ individuals—traditionalists, educators, and intellectuals, for example—were persecuted and killed. The Red Guards were soon reined in by officials, although the brutality of the revolution continued. The revolution also saw high-ranking CCP officials falling in and out of favor, such as Deng Xiaoping and Lin Biao.

“The revolution ended in the fall of 1976, after the death of Mao … The revolution left many people dead (estimates range from 500,000 to 2,000,000), displaced millions of people, and completely disrupted the country’s economy.”

Return to or Start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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