On this day: a Communist Ballet in China

ScenefromtheChineseChinaTheRedDetachmentofWomenballetwitnessedbyPresidentandMrsNixonintheGreatHallofthePeople ballet

US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972 resulted in significant changes in relations between the two countries.

During the visit, Nixon and his wife attended a performance of the communist ballet Red Detachment of Women. The ballet, based on a 1961 film of the same name, which itself was based on a book, was staged on the 22nd of February, 1972.

Red Detachment of Women, one of only a few ballets permitted in China during the Cultural Revolution, is still in the repertoire of the National Ballet of China.

On this day: Chinese retreat in Nanking

Chinese_clean_up_mess_in_NankingChinese people clean up the mess which was made at the time of the retreat of Chinese soldiers.(December 22, 1937) Japanese Rape of Nanking Massacre

22nd December 1937: Locals in Nanking, China clean up after the retreat of the Chinese army. The image appeared in a January 1938 edition of Japanese news picture magazine Asahi Graph. Japan had defeated China in the Battle of Nanking earlier in the month.

Despite promises that civilians wouldn’t be harmed, by the time the image was published Japanese soldiers had killed between 40 000 and 300 000 people in what would become known as the Rape of Nanking, or the Nanking Massacre.

On this day: Japanese troops in China

9th December 1937: Japanese troops march on Nanking, China, carrying guns and wheels.

Days later, the soldiers would begin a spree of mass rape and mass murder that claimed the lives of between 40 000 and 300 000 people. The crime would come to be known as the Rape of Nanking, or the Nanking Massacre.

Carrying_guns_and_wheels01The Japanese military unit gradually closes up to Nanking Castle for all-out attack, carrying guns and wheels on their shoulders and backs.(Dec. 9, 1937) Rapae

A Chinese suicide bomber prepares.

Chinese_infantry_soldier_preparing_a_suicide_vest_of_Model_24_hand_grenades_at_the_Battle_of_Taierzhuang_against_Japanese_TanksThe Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese

The Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese War between China and Japan, ran from the 24th of March to the 7th of April, 1938. The first major Chinese victory of the conflict, it was won in part because of the lengths the Chinese soldiers were willing to go to for victory.

This image shows one of China’s suicide bombers putting on a vest made of hand grenades. Some soldiers threw themselves under Japanese tanks and blew themselves – and the vehicles – up.

The Japanese were humiliated by the defeat and denied it in media reports for days after the battle concluded. Chinese victory gave the morale of their people a big boost.

This war ran up until the conclusion of the Second World War, and is considered part of the Pacific Theatre of the worldwide conflict, ending with Japan’s surrender in 1945.

On this day: a Communist takeover in China

The Chinese city of Guangzhou fell to the Communists on the 14th of October, 1949. In the image below, the so-called People’s Liberation Army can be seen entering the streets.

PLA_Troops_entered_to_Guangzhou Communist People's Liberation Army troops entered to Guangzhou on October 14, 1949. China 14th October 1949.

Prior to the takeover, for a few months the city served as the capital of the Republic of China as other parts of the country fell to communism.

Street_view_of_Canton_(Guangzhou) Canton (Guangzhou), China in the 1860s.

Guangzhou (Canton) in the 1860s.

After the Communist occupation, much of the city’s heritage and cultural icons were destroyed.

Christmas Propaganda

As the Korean War entered its second year, and the second Christmas of the conflict came close, the Chinese government produced Christmas-themed propaganda leaflets to be spread amongst United Nations forces.

This leaflet is from 1951. It would be another year and a half before the war ended.

Whatever the colour, race or creed,

All plain folks are brothers indeed.

Both you and we want life and peace,

If you go home, the war will cease.

Demand Peace!

Stop the War!

X

china_christmas_card_korean_warleaflet-christmas-card-from-the-chinese-peoples-army-u-s-air-force-photo-1951

On this day: the Port Arthur Massacre

On the 21st of November, 1894 Japanese soldiers massacred at least a thousand Chinese servicemen and civilians in Port Arthur (now Lüshunkou), China.

Port_Arthur_MassacreA Western newspaper's depiction of Japanese soldiers mutilating bodies. 21st November 1894

A Western media illustration of Japanese soldiers mutilating the bodies. X

The Japanese left only thirty-six people alive to bury the bodies. However, the number of people killed is highly disputed, with estimates ranging from a thousand to twenty-thousand.

The massacre was part of the First Sino-Japanese War, which was largely fought over the control of Korea.

On this day: the First Battle of Maryang San

primarily-fought-by-british-and-australian-troops-against-chinese-forces-the-first-battle-of-maryang-san-began-in-korea-on-the-3rd-of-october-1951-it-is-considered-to-be-one-of-australias

Australian soldiers participating in the battle. X

Primarily fought by British and Australian troops against Chinese forces, the First Battle of Maryang San began in Korea on the 3rd of October, 1951. It is considered to be one of Australia’s greatest achievements in the Korean War.

korea-october-1951-in-the-un-forces-october-offensive-australian-troops-were-prominent-among-the-commonwealth-division-troops-un-advance-chinese-casualties-were-heavy-and-these-three-pows-walking

Australian troops lead captured Chinese soldiers away. X

The victorious United Nations forces also included soldiers from Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The battle concluded on the 8th of October.

On this day: the bombing of the Kashmir Princess

The Kashmir Princess was a chartered Lockheed L-749A Constellation aircraft owned by Air India. On 11 April 1955, it was damaged in midair by a bomb explosion and crashed into the South China Sea.

The Kashmir Princess, an aircraft operated by Air India, was bombed and sank into the South China Sea on the 11th of April, 1955.

Of the nineteen people on board, sixteen died.

Zhou_Enlai_MeiyuanXincun17_Nanjing_1946Zhou Enlai (Chinese 周恩来; Wade–Giles Chou En-lai 5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China

Zhou Enlai in 1946

It emerged that the target of the bombing was China’s first Premier, Zhou Enlai, though he was not on the flight. More recently it has emerged that he might have known about the assassination attempt and so did not board the plane, even though he claimed to have been delayed due to surgery.

The aeroplane was supposed to have travelled from Bombay, India to Hong Kong and then on to Jakarta, Indonesia.

While China accused the United States’ CIA for the bombing, America has always denied the claims. Evidence points to Kremlin-backed Chinese nationalist party Kuomintang as the likely bombers.