Interview: China needs to hold fast to Long March spirit -- U.S. scholar

CHICAGO, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- "The Long March is a classic example of the ability of the Chinese people to defy the forces of evil and is ready to put up with huge sacrifices in treasure and blood in order to achieve their goals," a U.S. scholar on China has said.

Khairy Tourk, a professor of the Stuart School of Business of Illinois Institute of Technology, who is also a China expert, highly commended the formidable spirit of the Chinese people in their fight for freedom.

"The most heart-shaking part of China's Long March is that no one should underestimate the resolve of the Chinese people when they fight for a cause they believe in," Tourk told Xinhua in an interview.

The year 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the Long March of the Red Army led by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In Tourk's eyes, China faced huge challenges at that time -- local warlords controlled large parts of China and foreign powers were entrenched in the country.

The CPC, formed in 1921, was a relatively weak political force in the early 1930s.

However, the Long March succeeded, proving that the Kuomintang(KMT) army's superiority in numbers and modern weapons was not capable of defeating the patriotic forces that have a strong belief in the cause they were fighting for.

Tourk attributed the success to such factors as believing in and relying on the peasants and the vast number of laborers.

"As a leader with strong roots in the countryside, Mao Zedong understood the mentality of the Chinese peasants and had great confidence in their ability to overthrow the fascist forces," said Tourk.

Mao gained the support of the farmers in the provinces that his troops traversed during the Long March, where he introduced land reform to reduce income inequality.

The troops along the Long March were highly disciplined, as the leadership insisted on a high level of morale conduct such as not taking even a needle or a piece of thread from the people, not mistreating captives and paying for what the soldiers took from the people.

This kind of conduct won the CPC the respect of the farmers who had been unfairly treated for centuries under the feudal system, the professor said.

The new developments in the countryside also helped the CPC to gain support of the poorest people in the cities.

"The Long March represents one of the most heroic periods in the Chinese history. It was a very important step on the road of the CPC's march toward the victory over the fascist forces and the unification of the Chinese people," said Tourk.

The success of the Long March has set an example for other nations that were fighting for their independence after 1945, Tourk said, adding that it also gained the admiration of many developing nations that were rising against colonial powers.

The Long March took place at a time when China was facing domestic challenges and foreign invasion. Nowadays, the country is pursuing economic reform amid global economic weakness and under all forms of external pressures, the professor said.

"In today's environment, the Chinese people need to hold fast to the same values as sacrifice, patriotism, perseverance and firmness. These values are what made the Long March an epic in the modern Chinese history," he said.

[ Editor: Xueying ]
 

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