Whenever the melody of”forward, forward” sounded in the banana wind and coconut rain, people would think of the movie”Red Detachment of Women” released on July 1, 1960. In the film, the Red Detachment Commander Wu Qionghua was tenacious, The brave and simple image left a deep impression on people. In the film, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, working women such as Wu Qionghua broke through the feudal shackles and eventually grew into communist fighters. The revolutionary story inspired several generations. The prototype characters of the Red Detachment of Women in the film are the female soldiers of the “Second Independent Division Women’s Army Secret Service Company of the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army” established in 1931. They are Pang Qionghua, Feng Minzeng, Wang Shixiang, Wang Yunmei, Lu Yexiang, Lin Ailan, Chen Zhenmei, Wang Xianmei, Ou Hua , Pan Xianying, Liu Jinmei… The Red Detachment of Women has become the mark of an era. Today, let us follow the camera and tell their stories with images.
In 1934, the cadres of the women’s army company were detained to the”Guangzhou National Special Reformation Institute” (KMT prison) and were not released until the winter of 1937 after the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War. They maintained their revolutionary integrity in prison, and none of them surrendered themselves. From right:Pang Qionghua, Meng Hanqiang, Huang Dunying, Wang Shixiang, Feng Zengmin, Pang Xuelian, Wang Xuekui, Lin Youxin. (Picture of historical data)
A group photo of some soldiers of the Red Detachment of Women in Qiongya Column. (Picture of historical data)
Pang Qionghua (1911-1942), the first company commander of the Red Detachment of Women, was from Lingxia Village, Yangjiang Town, Qionghai City, Hainan Province. In 1927, he joined the Youth Pioneer and joined the Communist Youth League in 1928. Later worked in the county youth league committee. In March 1931, he served as the company commander of the Red Women’s Army in Lehui County. In May, he served as company commander of the Women’s Army Special Service Company of the Second Independent Division of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. Under the leadership of the Special Committee of Qiongya, she led all her company’s soldiers to actively cooperate with the main force in combat. She took the lead in ambushing Shamaoling, attacking Wenshi artillery, removing Yangjiang stronghold, and Ma’anling blocking battles, not afraid of sacrifice, and heroically killed the enemy. , Made an immortal feat for the Qiongya Revolution. Arrested and imprisoned in 1932, released home in 1937. Killed by the Japanese army in 1942. (Picture of historical data)
Feng Zengmin (1912-1971), an outstanding representative of the Red Detachment of Women, was the second company commander of female spies during the Qiongya Revolution. Born in Jiangnan Village, Yangjiang Town, Qionghai City, Hainan Province. Joined the Communist Youth League in 1929, and in 1930 served as a woman cadre of the County Committee of the Communist Youth League Music Club. In May 1931, he served as the first platoon leader of the Women’s Special Service Company of the Second Independent Division of the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army. In June of the same year, he served as company commander. Arrested and imprisoned in the autumn of 1932, withstood various trials and hardships. After being released from prison in the winter of 1937, he continued to participate in revolutionary activities and joined the Communist Party of China in 1945. In 1949, he served as the women’s committee and director of the three districts of the music club. In the army expansion work, the task was accomplished well. After liberation, he served as the vice president of Chaoyang, Boao People’s Commune, and director of Qionghai County Women’s Federation. He worked hard and in-depth, contacted the masses, and maintained the true qualities of the Red Detachment of Women. In 1960, he participated in the National Militia Conference and was received by Chairman Mao Zedong and gifted him a semi-automatic rifle. (Picture of historical data)
Pan Xianying (1914-2014), in 1931, Pan Xianying strongly urged to join the army. Together with 100 poor peasant women, he swore to become the “third regiment of the Second Independent Division of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants Red Army” A member of the Women’s Army Secret Service Company. Pan Xianying participated in the first battle of the Red Detachment of Women in the Sha Maoling ambush and the tragic Saddle Ridge blockade.
Wang Xianmei (1911-2008) joined the army at the age of sixteen or seven. She said that she had no food at the time and the status of girls was low. When a man joins the Red Army, I join the Detachment of Women. I have three sisters and four brothers in my family. The population is large, so my family also agrees to join the army. No one around me looks down on us and calls us”Brother Red Army.”
Ou Hua (1915-2006), a veteran of the Red Detachment of Women, from Bintan Village, Longjiang Town, Qionghai City.
Lu Yexiang (1914-2014), a native of Xiancun, Zhongyuan Town, Qionghai City, Hainan Province. In 1931, he joined the Red Detachment of Women. He served as the second squad leader of the second company and second platoon of the Red Detachment of Women.
Wang Yunmei (1910-2013), born in Yangjiang Town, Qionghai City, Hainan Province, a veteran of the Red Detachment of Women, joined the Communist Party of China at the age of 102, setting the record for the oldest new party member in the history of the Communist Party of China.
Lin Ailan (1925-2015), after Japan invaded Hainan Island in February 1939, Lin Ailan joined the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Independent Team. Lin Ailan’s life is a capitalized”legend”. She was a brave soldier of the Red Detachment of Women and was later captured by the Japanese invaders. The unquenchable glory of the guerrilla fighters and the unresolved pain of being a comfort woman make Lin Ailan’s youth tantamount to ice and fire. The picture shows Lin Ailan displaying the anti-Japanese war commemorative medal.
Liu Jinmei (born 1917), who was a female soldier in the Qiongya Column, always had a smile on her face full of years.
Wang Xianmei (left), Wang Yunmei (middle), and Pan Xianying (right) together.
The revolutionary friendship of the veterans of the Red Detachment of Women will last forever.
Meeting each other is a happy time. From left to right:Chen Zhenmei, Wang Yunmei, Ou Hua, Pan Xianying.
Pan Xianying and Wang Xianmei are together.
The revolutionary friendship between Ou Hua (right) and Chen Zhenmei (left), a veteran of the Women’s Army, has lasted for decades, and they are brothers and sisters.
Elder Liu Jinmei had a puppy named Lulu with her when she was at home.
Liu Jinmei felt very fresh when she saw the video on the mobile phone WeChat.
Witness｜Red Detachment of Women
“The Story Companion of the Red Detachment of Women I grow up”
2020 is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Hainan Island.
Hainan Island is a place with stories. The story of the Red Detachment of Women in Qiongya Column takes place here. I grew up in Sri Lanka, and the”South Tyrant” mansion in Lingcheng Town, Lingshui County is only a few steps away from my home. A courtyard-style brick house, with red bricks on the floor, makes noise when walking. When I was young, I used to go there to pick fruit, fight sparrows, and catch chafers. The surrounding coconut trees, mango trees, crabapple trees, phoenix trees, and acacia trees rustled in the summer evening breeze.
The story of the Red Detachment of Women is fascinated by local children. Of course, we played a game of war in this house. There is a long stone road in front of the courtyard, winding from reality to the screen-female soldiers carrying guns and hanging dry food bags, stepping over the old stone slabs. I once dared not get close to those tiled houses, for fear that the dead”South Tyrant” was still making trouble in the house. It was a mysterious and happy time.
After I grew up a little bit, I lived with my parents in a village where the Li ethnic group lived, and watched”Red Detachment of Women” movies in the small stadium countless times, including feature films and revolutionary model dramas. The narration and music of the Red Detachment of Women always linger in my ears, running through my entire growth process. The big banyan tree that is said to have been sacrificed by”Hong Changqing” is a place where I often drive by after I started working. Whether it is under the dusty scorching sun or the rainy typhoon day, I don’t forget to take a look. It seems that I can still see it. The figure before the sacrifice of”Hong Changqing”. When I crossed the”Boundary Ridge” of Panshan Highway (collectively called the boundary mountain range of Lingshui County and Wanning County), the female soldiers of the Red Detachment of Women seemed to accompany me. They were still playing under the coconut trees and beside the betel nut forest. Li Village The smoke in the Miao Village also spread their news.
A group of heroic women warriors
May 1, 1931, the Revolutionary Base of the Fourth District of Lehui County—now Qionghai City, Hainan Province In a small mountain village surrounded by coconut groves on the banks of the Wanquan River, the”Female Secret Service Company of the Second Independent Division of the Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army” held an inaugural meeting. More than 100 poor Hainan rural girls, in order to resist feudal oppression and fight for equality between men and women, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, they bravely took up guns. Under the leadership of the Qiongya Special Committee of the Communist Party of China, they have accomplished tasks such as defending the leading organs, propagating and mobilizing the masses, and cooperating with the main force. In the ambush of Shamaoling, the fire attack on the Wenshi artillery, the removal of the Yangjiang stronghold, and the Maanling blockade battle, they were not afraid of sacrifice and heroically killed the enemy. Unfortunately, on Hainan Island where the enemy was strong and we were weak at the time, this Detachment Army unit was besieged by the Kuomintang, bloody Saddle Ridge. During the battle, the 8 sisters of the second squad stayed behind until they ran out of ammunition and food, and they all died. In the spring of 1933, the Hainan Red Army’s main force failed in combat and the situation was difficult. The Women’s Army was forced to disband and scattered among the civilian population. The special forces of the Women’s Army Special Agent Company only existed for less than 500 days, but participated in more than 50 battles and made immortal contributions to the Qiongya Revolution.
In 1961, in the film”Red Detachment of Women” directed by Xie Jin, the prototype of company commander Wu Qionghua was the female company commander of the Red Army, Pang Qionghua. She was born in an ordinary rural family in Yangjiang Town, Qionghai, Hainan in 1911. At the age of 4, she was arranged for an arranged marriage by her family. With the advent of the Agrarian Revolution, Pang Qionghua received the party’s education. Although her family forced her to marry several times, she resisted and insisted on fighting for the revolution.
After Pang Qionghua joined the Red Army in 1930, he performed well in battle and received great attention from the leaders of the Red Army. With the continuous expansion of the women’s ranks in the Red Army, the superiors established the Red Women’s Army, with Pang Qionghua as the company commander. At the beginning of its establishment, the Red Women’s Army had only one platoon, but under the leadership of Pang Qionghua, the number gradually increased, and finally three platoons were fully organized. About 100 women broke through the fetters of the family and joined the Red Women’s Army. Subsequently, the Red Women’s Army was reorganized into the Women’s Army Special Service Company of the Third Regiment of the Second Independent Division of the Red Army. Pang Qionghua continued to serve as the company commander and repeatedly made military contributions in battle.
After the women’s army spy company was forced to disband, Pang Qionghua returned to his hometown and was arrested by the Kuomintang reactionary troops who came after him. He was tortured in prison, but remained loyal and unyielding. It was not until the second cooperation between the KMT and the Communist Party that Pang Qionghua was rescued. With the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan, her hometown fell. The Japanese army asked Pang Qionghua as an intellectual’s husband to be the chairman of the maintenance committee, but she was brutally killed by the Japanese army after she refused. Later, the Japanese army focused on Pang Qionghua again, but Pang Qionghua resisted angrily and kept hiding in the mountains. But in the end he was found and killed by the Japanese army, and he was only 31 years old when he was sacrificed.
Feng Zengmin, who was the second company commander of the Women’s Army Special Agent Company, continued to join the revolutionary ranks after being released from prison and joined the Communist Party of China in 1945. In 1949, Feng Zengmin served as the Women’s Committee and Director of Zhonghe Township in the third district of Lehui (now Qionghai City). After the liberation of Hainan Island, he served as the vice president of Chaoyang and Boao People’s Commune, and director of the Qionghai County Women’s Federation. Feng Zengmin is not afraid of hard work, in-depth contact with the masses, maintaining the true qualities of the Red Detachment of Women. In 1960, Feng Zengmin participated in the National Militia Assembly and was received by Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing and presented her with a semi-automatic rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition.
The most legendary is the old man Wang Yunmei. She is the prototype of the soldier of the Red Detachment of Women who marched and fought with the child on his back in the movie”Red Detachment of Women”. In 1910, Wang Yunmei was born in a poor peasant family in Yangjiang Town (now Qionghai City). My father is an underground traffic officer of the Communist Party, my brother is an underground worker of the Communist Party, and my uncle and uncle are both Red Army fighters. Wang Yunmei was influenced by her father and brothers since she was a child and actively participated in various revolutionary movements. In addition to doing farm work at home, Wang Yunmei participated in the Children’s League, Women’s Association, and Red Women’s Army when she was young. She also carried red tasseled guns with brothers and sisters in the village. On May 1, 1931, Wang Yunmei joined the Red Detachment of Women. In the autumn of 1932, after the Maanling blockade, Wang Yunmei, who was pregnant, gave birth suddenly during the march and gave birth to a boy. Unfortunately, the baby died after 3 months.
On May 1, 2000, the Qionghai Red Detachment of Women Memorial Park was officially opened to the public. Wang Yunmei moved into the Red Detachment of Women Memorial Park and became a volunteer in this national patriotic education demonstration base. Wang Yunmei joined the Chinese Communist Party at the age of 102, setting a record for the oldest new party member in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. She said,”Without the Communist Party, there would be no me today. We would have no food, no clothes to wear. The kindness of the Communist Party is greater than the sky, higher than the mountains, and deeper than the sea. I will always follow the party until the last breath.” 2013 On September 14, Wang Yunmei passed away at the age of 103 in Yangjiang Town, Qionghai City, her hometown.
In August 2019, I once again visited Wang Yunmei’s hometown of Yangjiang Town, Lingxia Village Committee, Xiangong Village. The house built by the government for the elderly is still intact. Some of the elderly’s relics are still there, and her portrait is quiet The floor is placed next to the gas stove. She will always sleep in this loving land.
Lu Yexiang was born in Xiancun, Zhongyuan Town, Qionghai City in 1914. In 1931, he joined the Red Detachment of Women and made a solemn oath under the banner of”The Third Regiment of the Third Regiment of the Second Independent Division of Qiongya Red Army of Chinese Workers and Peasants”. She used to be the squad leader of the second platoon and second squad of the Red Detachment of Women Company. After the liberation of Hainan Island, Lu Yexiang became the village head of women and was recognized by the villagers as warmhearted.
In 2000 and 2004, I interviewed and filmed Lu Yexiang. At that time, the old people were optimistic and talkative, often telling stories about killing the enemy handily and expressing gratitude for the good life in New China. When asked why he joined the Detachment of Women, Lu Yexiang said:”For the liberation of women and not to be bullied!”
After 2004, Lu Yexiang moved out of the Red Detachment of Women Memorial Park due to illness. In 2014, Lu Yexiang died at the home of Paitian Village, Xiancun Village Committee, Zhongyuan Town, Qionghai City, at the age of 100.
The spirit of the Red Detachment of Women is everlasting
After I was a reporter for many years, I met the sisters of the Red Detachment of Women Company Wu Qionghua:Wang Yunmei, Lu Yexiang, Chen Zhenmei, Wang Xianmei, Ou Hua, Pan Xianying, etc., they entered my lens, and I used photography to tell their stories.
In fact, in the Hainan Qiongya Column, there are many Hainanese women like the Red Detachment of Women who also participated in the organization of the Red Army. They rushed to the front line in the army and war, rescue the wounded, cook and cook. Many female fighters were tortured by the Kuomintang and the Japanese invading army after being arrested during the war. They would rather die than surrender. Some sacrifices did not leave a name. The people who survived, even after the liberation of Hainan, did not ask for the organization to take care of them. They lived the lives of ordinary people and participated in the development and construction of Hainan. They were the real”Red Detachment of Women.”
Lin Ailan was born in 1925 in a Chinese medicine family in Songmei Village, Nanbao Town, Lingao County, Hainan Island. In February 1939, after Japan invaded Hainan Island, Lin Ailan, who was only 15 years old, joined the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Independent Corps and became a”Red Detachment of Women.” At first she was just a medical staff member of the Qiongya guerrilla. It didn’t take long for Lin Ailan to become a female Qiongya guerrilla fighter with live ammunition and charging. At the age of 18, Lin Ailan was unfortunately captured by the Japanese army on her way home from an operation. Later she was forced to become a”comfort woman” and was tortured for half a year. Lin Ailan has never married because of that unspeakable brand.
In 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the victory of the War of Resistance against Japan, Lin Ailan received a commemorative medal for her from the government. In August 2015, the author and his party visited Elder Lin Ailan again. The nursing home where she is located is comfortable and sunny. She showed us the Commemorative Medal of the War of Resistance against Japan, and she cherished this hard-won honor in her speech. Unexpectedly, this is our last meeting with the elderly. In December 2015, Lin Ailan completed her legendary life.
The old man Liu Jinmei, who lives in Xinghui Village, Yanfeng Town, Haikou City, used to be a female soldier in Qiongya Column, responsible for logistical food and rescue of the wounded. The old man Liu Jinmei once served as a soldier in the Qiongya Column is a rare memory. She tells us many stories of hard fighting during the Anti-Japanese War and the Liberation War, and the tragic scenes of the Japanese invaders and the Kuomintang reactionaries killing the Communists and the Qiongya column soldiers. Emotional places often weep and choke.
After Liu Jinmei’s husband died of illness in 1953, she took her son to live by herself. After the liberation of Hainan Island, Liu Jinmei’s son failed to register the elderly as a member of the Qiongya Column, so she has not received relevant subsidies. This is something the elderly regrets very much. But every time he talked about it, the old man always smiled happily. Today, Liu Jinmei is 103 years old, but he is still very strong and living a self-reliant life. Raising chickens, cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the yard, and living a very fulfilling daily life. The elderly like to chat, but only speak the local Hainanese. Sometimes, there are many visitors. Although it is lively, the most annoying for the elderly is that they can’t understand what they are saying and can only be anxious.
Back then, it was the officers and men of the Qiongya Column represented by the Red Detachment of Women who insisted on a long-term struggle with the Japanese invading army and the Kuomintang reactionaries. On April 16, 1950, the People’s Liberation Army forced the Qiongzhou Strait on a simple wooden sailboat. , And broke through the”Boling Line of Defense” the next day, successfully completing the enemy landing in the northern part of Qiong Island. Subsequently, the People’s Liberation Army and the commanders of the Qiongya Column stationed on Hainan Island advanced together in depth and liberated important cities such as Haikou and Sanya on April 30. On May 1, 1950, the whole island of Hainan was liberated.
The Red Detachment of Women of Qiongya Column has become the brand of an era, a symbol of positive spirit and positive energy. Although the history of their existence on the battlefield is short, the spiritual wealth they leave behind for future generations is everlasting. Remembering this history, remembering their images, and inheriting their spirits is our inescapable responsibility.
Source of text:
The Witness·Red Detachment of Women by Huang Yiming
The pictures are all taken by Huang Yiming except for the annotations
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