The China Coin
Suggested answers to research activity
Source 1 Biography: Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Flamingo Publishers, 1992, Chapter 7 Wild Swans is a personal account of three generations of women in China. In this chapter Jung Chang records the experience of her mother on the Long March across China to spread the ideas of the communist leader, Mao Zedong. After traveling from Jinzhou to Tianjin by train they had to continue their journey on foot. The route was fraught with danger as there were bandits and units of retreating Kuomintang soldiers ready to attack the marchers. They ‘had to walk long distances every day, often on rough paths, carrying their bedrolls and other belongings on their backs.’ Jung Chang’s mother’s feet were covered in blisters and she stumbled often in the slippery mud when it rained. They had to climb a steep mountain and she nearly toppled over the cliffs a number of times. She nearly drowned crossing a fast-flowing river. Her husband was allowed to travel in a jeep, with his bodyguards and he was not very sympathetic to his wife’s misery. Later she suffered a miscarriage as a result of this hardship and trauma. Language features are used to create a picture in the responder’s mind about the experiences of the marchers. Adjectives describe the journey in vivid detail: ‘The endless, magnificent, precipitous mountains were a stunning novelty after the flat plains around Jinzhou.’ To Jung Chang’s mother the local peasants were ‘horribly dark, bony and tiny, with much sharper features and much bigger and rounder eyes than the people she was used to.’ Similes are used to help the responder imagine the hardships Jung Chang’s mother endured. After trudging miles in heavy rain and hot temperatures her bedroll weighed on her ‘like a huge stone’. Later, sick and exhausted, she struggles on, ‘her legs like lead’. A record of a conversation with her husband is also used to highlight the fear and intimidation used by the communist regime. ‘I might as well leave’, she said. ‘You mustn’t!’ my father said, anxiously. ‘That will be interpreted as meaning you are afraid of hardship. You will be regarded as a deserter and you will have no future.’ Source 2 Internet Website: www.tsquare.tv/chronology/ 20th Century China: A Partial Chronology This source is divided into two parts.
Part One: Pre-1989 gives a brief overview of China’s history from 1919 to 1988. It begins with the 1919 ‘May 4th Movement’ in which college students staged a series of demonstrations to protest the terms of the Versailles Treaty at the end of World War One which gave German territories in China to Japan. The timeline notes other important events such as Mao Zedong’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949, the political persecutions during the ‘Cultural Revolution’ and the harsh economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor. It also notes the forced resignation of Hu Yaobang as Party General Secretary because of his ‘soft’ stance on student protests. Part Two: 1989 focuses on the events leading up to the massacre in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang which sparks a gathering of people in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu and express their discontent with government repression and corruption. On 27th April students from more than 40 universities march to Tiananmen in protest of the editorial in the Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily which criticises the demonstrators. The timeline records the hunger strikes and break down in talks between the students and the government. This leads to the declaration of martial law on 20th May and eventually to the shooting of fire on students, other protesters and by-standers in and around Tiananmen Square on the night of 3rd June. The information contained in this source is presented in the form of a timeline in two parts. The focus is on the immediate events leading to the Tiananmen Square...
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