Beijing didn't have so many tall buildings in 1949. These people can see further from tiananmen square. In front of them are 300,000 people and a vast country.
But they face a country ravaged by years of war: in 1949, the average life expectancy in China was 35, and the death rate among newborns was 200 per thousand. There are only 117,000 college students nationwide, and the net enrollment rate in primary schools is only 20%. The country produces only 120,000 tons of crude oil. Not a single car on the streets of Beijing is made in China.
Even in the parade of the founding ceremony, 17 aircraft were trophies. Nine flew over tiananmen square and then quietly flew back again for effect.
On that day, more than half of the country had not been liberated. The country has just risen from the ashes. In many physical and spiritual respects, the transition between the old and the new is still going on.
But one thing is clear: Beijing time has begun.
This article is about 12,170 words
The reading time is expected to be 31 minutes
Author | zhang guo
Video | wang ronghua lu chong yuan yifan
China's 1949 came in two New Year's greetings. One from MAO zedong, the other from Chiang kai-shek. This makes that New Year's day a day to bid farewell to the old and usher in the new, both in the calendar and in the wider sense.
"1949 is an extremely important year, and we should step up our efforts," MAO zedong said in his dedication to xibaipo village in hebei province.
His first words brimmed with confidence: "the Chinese people will win the final victory in the great war of liberation, which even our enemies no longer doubt." He vowed to march south of the Yangtze river.
South of the Yangtze river, in nanjing, where "the king of jinling degenerated", Chiang kai-shek read out his "New Year message" at the presidential palace. He has decided to step down from his military uniform and robes, blaming himself for the problems, saying that "as long as the communist party has the sincerity for peace and can make a definite statement, the government will be open to discussing concrete ways to stop the fighting and restore peace".
MAO zedong used the Greek fable Aesop's "the farmer and the snake" to encourage his countrymen to make a choice. He also announced that a "political consultative conference" would be convened this year to form a "democratic coalition government".
Seventy years later, only one person is still alive who voted to form the People's Republic of China at the 1949 political consultative conference. He lives in a quiet neighborhood in Beijing, and because he is blind, he can no longer see the country in its latest form.
In an interview with China youth daily, tian fuda struggled to recall the past. His memory is not quite complete. Speaking of excitement, he leaned forward and held out his hands to the air. He exercised his right to vote with both hands as a young man who had just turned 20, in the same room as MAO zedong, zhou enlai, soong ching ling and li ji-shen. What he remembers most is that the meeting decided "what path China would take".
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Tian fuda, representative of the first CPPCC session, was interviewed by reporters from China youth daily
Many things, including the creation of the regime, were decided here: whether the Yellow River, the axe and the sickle were necessary on the flag; Film episode "march of the volunteers" can be the national anthem; Is it the people's democratic republic of China or the People's Republic of China?
In MAO zedong's opening speech, "all matters concerning the establishment of the People's Republic of China will be decided".
Mr Tian himself, a member of Taiwan's less chinese-educated gaoshan ethnic group, made a stuttering speech at the fateful meeting, saying he wanted "to liberate the people of Taiwan as soon as possible". This wish has not yet been fulfilled.
In fact, the Taiwan question is one of the few outstanding issues left to future generations in 1949.
1949 was a year that solved many problems. "The Chinese people have stood up," MAO zedong said in one of his most popular sayings.
Contrary to the impression of many later generations, the origin of this sentence is not the founding ceremony on October 1, but the opening ceremony of the CPPCC session 10 days ago. "Fellow delegates, we have a common feeling that our work will be written in the history of mankind and that it will show that the Chinese people, a quarter of the human race, have stood up."
That year for this enthusiastic applause representative, only tian fidelity. Another representative, xie bangding, who died in May 2019, described the 98-year-old as "still etched in my mind today" in his last article of reminiscing.
Sun qimeng, deputy secretary-general of the preparatory committee of the CPPCC at the time, noticed that several elderly delegates sitting next to him were crying and "clapping their hands hard".
That meeting, the choice of the national flag is tian fidelity one of the most exciting links. Among other things, he chose the five-star red flag. "most people agree with this version," he said.
A few days later, at the founding ceremony, he stood by the railing of the tiananmen rostrum and watched its first rise with tears.
In China in 1949, the rise and fall happened at the same time.
More than a month ago, Chiang kai-shek had just lost the "first pen of the kuomintang", Chen bulei. Many of his writings were written by Chen, including "every inch of blood, every inch of blood, every inch of youth, every inch of soldiers", a famous sentence in China's war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
But Chen bulei refused to see 1949. One night, he took two bottles of sleeping pills. In his last letter to Chiang kai-shek, he said that he was "a useless scholar who bears the responsibility of the state and the public." His children have joined the communist party.
On the last day of 1948, scholars hu shi and fu sinian were in nanjing, drinking, chanting poems and weeping over the "rolling waters of the Yangtze river". Two days later, hu shi copied in his diary the poem they were chanting from tao yuanming: "planting mulberry beside the Yangtze river, I hope it will be harvested in three years. Branches beginning to MAO, suddenly value mountain river change...... "
In that New Year's address, MAO zedong created a popular sentence pattern for later generations -- "carry on XX to the end". "XX" can be "reform", "price war", "low carbon" or even "love", but in 1949, MAO zedong said "carry the revolution to the end".
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By march, li xiangdong, a pottery factory worker in tangshan, hebei province, said they were no longer painting goldfish, beauties or orchids on their teapots, but "carrying the revolution through" and "going to Taiwan."
Taiwan is the home of tian fuda and the largest island in China that Chiang kai-shek is about to retreat to. He had made arrangements for the way forward, including the delivery of valuable and priceless goods to the island: tons of gold, boxes and boxes of treasures from the imperial palace, a piece of tortoise shell for a moment.
On the cold night before this New Year's eve, a huge ship called the taiping ship collided with another ship and sank. It was called the Titanic of China. With it sank the machinery of the mill, the papers of the bank, and nearly a thousand men.
This is the China of 1948 and 1949: some submerged, some surfaced.
"The year 1948 finally passed, which declared the end of a political system and a period of history." Stuart, then U.S. ambassador to China and former President of yenching university, said in his memoir. As he watched Chiang kai-shek's "surroundings crumble", he thought of his predecessor's remark that when Japan first invaded China, the ambassador had said that China was putting on a historical play, and that we, sitting in the front row, could only watch it without affecting the plot.
"At the time, I was wondering if I could only be a spectator as a representative of the United States. Until now, that audience has been replaced by me, sitting in a luxurious box, watching a more tragic performance."
But when tian fuda, 20, read MAO zedong's New Year's message on the campus of north China military and political university, he thought, "China's liberation will not be far away."
It was earlier than expected. The Chinese communist party's plan was to overthrow the kuomintang in five years, beginning in June 1946.
On the New Year's day of 1949, the civil war entered its third year. The decisive "three major battles", the battle of liaoshen in northeast China has been over, and the battle of huai hai in east China, the kuomintang general du yuoming received a direct "urging surrender" from the people's liberation army.
"Think! If you think it's good, do it. If you want to do it again, do it again. You'll be taken care of."
Two weeks after the battle of huaihai, 55 leaders of democratic parties and non-party Democrats, including li ji-shen, shen jun-ru, ma xue-lun, tan pingshan, zhu xue-fan, CAI ting-kai, zhang bo-jun, guo moro-ruo and MAO dun, jointly published their opinions on the current situation in support of the PLA's march into jiangnan: "the revolution must be carried out to the end."
Only two days later, luo shijie, a soldier of the people's liberation army who had won victory in tianjin, wrote home that "one more year and this bright day for the whole country will come".
Around 1949, a lot of people are counting the hours. Li zongren, the acting President of the nanjing government, miscalculated. He thought, "with the communist party across the river confrontation for three or five years or so can be."
Mou mingliang, tian fuda's peer, a soldier from shandong province, was even more eager. "Your excellency," he wrote in March 1948, "be at ease at home. Chiang kai-shek died this year... "
Unfortunately, he died on the eve of victory in the decisive battle of the PLA to cross the Yangtze river.
At 6:30 on the morning of April 25, 1949, Stuart, who was in nanjing, was suddenly awakened by someone who found several soldiers in his bedroom -- the PLA men had crossed the Yangtze river.
"One of them told my servants that everything belonged to the Chinese people and that they would soon get it all back." He wrote.
Two nights later, the PLA commanders deng xiaoping and Chen yi entered the presidential palace. In Chiang kai-shek's former office, deng xiaoping told a joke: chairman Chiang had offered a reward for our arrest for many years.
Chiang kai-shek, in exile, had hoped to avoid such a situation. Three months before 1949, the kuomintang tried to form the "southern and northern dynasties" in China through peaceful negotiations.
The nanjing government also approached leighton Stuart, hoping that the United States would negotiate with other great powers. "I knew it was useless, but I tried it anyway." But other countries politely refused, saying it was an internal affair and should be resolved by themselves."
On April 1, a delegation headed by general zhang zhizhong went to beiping for negotiations. In Stuart's mind, it was like an April fool's joke. The negotiations did not succeed, and they played a trick on the kuomintang. The negotiators, zhang zhizhong, shao lizi and zhang shizhao, all agreed to stay in Peiping.
In the decades that followed, Chen baoshan, a kuomintang officer, reflected on his failures. He "never dreamed" that he would be defeated to this extent. In his view, the PLA's training is not as good as theirs and the supply is not good. "The reason I can tell is that the morale of the army has changed. How could it have been so badly broken?"
According to gao rui, a division commander of the people's liberation army, when attacking jinan, the way to attack jinan was to "capture and capture while making up for it" -- to lay down a stronghold and immediately check the prisoners. The prisoners turned and took part in the siege, changing their hats, or simply removing their cockade.
Tian fuda was a prisoner. When he was 17 years old, he joined the Chinese army and unwittingly moved from his hometown of Taiwan to the mainland. The first time on the battlefield, his rifle butt was shot through by the PLA bullets, he asked how to do, the platoon leader said: "throw away!
"And 200 rounds?"
"It was great," he waved, recalling conversations on the battlefield and his first capture.
He remembered that the road to war took nine days -- nine days "to liberation."
"We were liberated very quickly, at 10 in the morning, and at noon we were asked, do you want to go back or do you want to stay?" "He told China youth daily.
Go back, the troops will give three oceans. He thought for a long time and joined the PLA.
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Tian fuda in his youth
As a boy, tian fuda was known as "futian tatsuo" -- Taiwan was a Japanese colony from the sino-japanese war of 1895 until Japan's surrender in 1945. On the day of Japan's surrender, he "knew he was Chinese."
Chen yi once described the victory of the huai hai campaign as being "pushed out" by people using carts to support the front line. Kuomintang senior general Yang botao captured after seeing, partly confirmed this point.
On the way to the rear, he saw the village filled with smoke and voices. "the communist army and the people were together like a family," he said. He had clearly led his army through the same place, and all he could see were doors and Windows closed.
Yang botao regrets: "we these kuomintang generals, only when a prisoner, have the opportunity to see such a scene."
"It was in an atmosphere of frustration with the kuomintang's economic and political policies and loss of popular support that the communists won their crucial military victory." The American historian David schengen points out that.
Stuart admitted that although he had many close friends in the kuomintang, it "had almost all the vices of the corrupt government it had overthrown".
On July 31, 1949, secretary of state acheson wrote to President Truman: "they were not defeated from the outside, but from the self-collapse of the internal system."
When the kuomintang withdrew to Taiwan, only nine of the 81 academicians of academia sinica went to Taiwan. Zhang boling, the President of nankai university, had been the dean of the national government examination. He was invited by Chiang kai-shek to fly to Taiwan with him. "Feifei" is zhou enlai's pen name when he was at school. Zhang boling refused Chiang kai-shek, break up, Chiang kai-shek because of disappointment, not too careful, will hit the head on the door frame, "dong".
In fuzhou, a 92-year-old man also refused Chiang's invitation and signed a letter welcoming the people's liberation army into the city. His name was sa zhenbing. In his early years, he devoted himself to the westernization movement in the late qing dynasty.
Soon, sa zhenbing's name appeared on the list of 662 people who participated in the 1949 political negotiations.
This was not the first time that China had engaged in political consultation during the civil war.
Three years ago, there was a "political consultative conference" in chongqing, attended by parties such as the kuomintang, the communist party and the China democratic league. But in the end, the KMT tore up the resolution and convened a national assembly to draft the constitution in the absence of democratic procedures. As historian shi jingqian put it, "the scene recalls yuan shikai's manipulation of the constitution and parliament in 1914 and 1915."
On April 30, 1948, the central committee of the communist party of China issued a slogan to commemorate the May Day holiday. Different from the