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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:34, February 17, 2006
A British who two times embarks on Long March
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From October 2002 to November 2003, British scholars EdJocelyn and Andrew McEwen set out from Jiangxi's Yudu, walked for 384 days along the Long March course of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (CWPRA), and finally arrived at the end point of the Long March at northern Shaanxi's Wuqi. Then again on November 19, 2005 EdJocelyn, together with a new companion, left Hunan's Sangzhi and began his second "long march" journey --

EdJocelyn, now 37 with a doctoral degree in history, is a British scholar working in Beijing. To truly feel the history of the Long March he and his countryman Andrew McEwen took 384 days to accomplish their first "long march", crossing ten provinces and regions such as Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou before finally arriving at Wuqi �C the end of the Long March.

On November 19, 2005 EdJocelyn, with his new companion, began his second "long march" from Hunan's Sangzhi and along the Long March course of the Second Front Army of CWPRA 70 years ago. After three months they arrived at Sanjiang Village of Guizhou, a village the Red Army once passed by.

Early at 7am on Feb.14 when the village was still fast asleep a golden tent stood alone by the bank of a small river in Sanjiang Village, surrounded by quietness.

It had just rained at night and the air in the wildness was chilling. Walking in the dim light of the night the reporter held a flashlight and knocked open the "door" of the tent to visit the two hosts �C British scholar EdJocelyn and his companion Yang Xiao.

EdJocelyn, who had been sleeping, was surprised by the early visit. He said in fluent Chinese: "I was going over my notes last night and stayed up very late. It was raining, so cold and so damp, I just couldn't get up early."

Then, the two got up and took less than five minutes to wash up at the river. Yang Xiao began to make a fire while EdJocelyn was tidying up the bed. EdJocelyn told the reporter that people in Britain, him in particular, were very interested in that part of history. He admired very much the fact that the staunch army surmounted so many unimaginable hardships and dangers, "walking from one victory to another". The purpose of this journey was to collect more materials.

His companion Yang Xiao, a 37-year-old Chinese is EdJocelyn's equipment advisor and pedestrian coach. He said: "Many young people have forgotten that part of history. I gave up my job and followed the Long March course with EdJocelyn, just to remind people of the struggle history of the Red Army with my actual action."

The gasoline stove was out of work and they had to borrow rice straws and corn stalks from the villagers to boil water. The two made Guizhou tea with the water half an hour later and began to eat as they discussed schedule for the day. They decided to arrive before dusk at Babaqing where the Second Front Army and Sixth Front Army met. It was over 30 kilometers away.

After breakfast they started to dismantle the tent and pack up everything into two heavy backpacks and four sticks. Yang Xiao said: "each backpack weighs about 20 kilograms." With some rubbish such as plastics the two re-embarked on the journey.

Though with the heavy bags EdJocelyn appeared at ease, walking with big strides. EdJocelyn said humorously to the reporter: "I am scared of one thing, that is, the dog which always barks fiercely. But Chinese farmers are selfless and friendly. Every time I feel tired and lonely I won't feel bored and bad if happen to meet these honest and lovable people."

Nearing the Anzhuang Group of Guwang Town the reporter's companion Yi Shenggang told EdJocelyn that there was an old man there called Dai Deyuan who once met the Red Army. Taking out camera and notebook EdJocelyn made his way to Dai Deyuan's home where he began interviewing and taking note.

At the end of the interview the reporter was about to bid farewell to the "foreign Red Army". EdJocelyn hoped to publicize his website (www.newlongmarch2.com) on the newspaper to let more Chinese friends know them and root for them through the Internet.

The article carried on the fourth page of People's Daily Overseas Edition on Feb.17 is translated by People's Daily Online


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