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China marks Long March anniversary


Reverses of the People’s Bank of China gold ¥100 and silver ¥10 commemorating the Long March. (Image courtesy China Gold)

This past October saw the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s Long March. This is one of the most significant events in modern Chinese history. It foreshadowed the subsequent rise of the country’s Communist Party with Chairman Mao at the helm.

The People’s Bank of China has celebrated the occasion with an issue of one gold and one silver proof struck by Shenzhen Guobao Mint and distributed by China Gold Coin.

Of critical historical importance, the Long March was a strategic military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of today’s People’s Liberation Army. It took place from October 1934 to October 1935. The intention was to avoid complete annihilation by Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) forces.

There was not a single Long March. There were several involving various, ill-led and poorly equipped Communist units in south China withdrawing to the north and west to avoid further clashes with the KMT.

The best known such withdrawal is that of the First Front Army of the Chinese Soviet Republic from Jiangxi province. Under the eventual command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the First Front escaped by a circling retreat to the west and north. In 370 days they traversed some over 5,600 miles of extremely difficult terrain. Only about 10,000, a tenth of the original force, made it to Shaanxi.

The upshot of the Long March was the emergence of Mao Zedong and his supporters as the unopposed leaders of the Communist Party of China at the expense of the Soviet-trained “28 Bolsheviks”.

A 22mm, 8 gram, .999 fine gold ¥100 depicts the historic Zunyi meeting hall where a major strategic meeting of the Politburo was called by Zhou Enlai in January 1935. It saw a major overhaul of the Communist leadership with Mao leaving the conference in a position to take over the army and determine how the remainder of the Long March would proceed. Mintage is 10,000.

A 40 mm, 30 gram, .999 fine silver ¥10 proof shows Red Army soldiers descending from a high mountain pass on to grass-filled plains. Mintage is 20,000.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.

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