Foreigners asked to retrace Long March

By Liu Sha Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-11 0:35:06

Some 40 experts proposed over the weekend that foreign experts and leaders be invited to retrace the historic Long March, in an effort to promote the 12,500-kilometer-long route's listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Foreign experts and leaders can help reevaluate the route according to international standards, Li Houqiang, professor with the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, said during a seminar, the Chengdu-based reported Monday.

Yang Xiannong, a professor from the academy, argued that letting foreigners walk the route is the best way to make them know how hard the Communist Party and its leadership worked to survive and develop.

Yang used this argument to counter charges that the plan is impractical and meaningless.

After the Long March between 1934 and 1936, the Party's Red Army escaped from Kuomintang forces.

It was when Mao's leadership in the Party was consolidated.

"Its history is significant, and Mao's thoughts that emerged from the march are still a treasure worth learning," Yang told the Global Times.

However, Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology from the Renmin University of China, said the promotion of the Long March route as a World Heritage site is an extremely conservative action by Maoists.

"They're hyping the significance of the route," Zhou told the Global Times.

Yang admitted that ideology is the biggest obstacle to the Long March route becoming a World Cultural Heritage Site.

"That's why we should let more foreigners get to know it first, to get rid of their prejudice," Yang added.

Wang Xiaoyu, a professor of Chinese culture at the Shanghai-based Tongji University, said the route is a sign of a political achievement, rather than related to culture.

"A World Heritage site should be something that contributed to a development that benefits a large number of people, rather than just a political organization," Wang told the Global Times Monday.

In February 2012, the academies of social sciences of 14 Chinese regions first proposed putting forward a bid to make the Long March route a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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