Wang Quanyuan: Brave Female Soldier in the Long March

May 16, 2017  Editor: Sherry Song
Wang Quanyuan: Brave Female Soldier in the Long March  

Wang Quanyuan poses for a photo in the Red Army uniform. []



Without an eminent title and numerous awards, Wang Quanyuan was an ordinary woman in the public's eyes. However, having taken part in the Long March, Wang also experienced a glorious history in her life and she was the head of the Women's Pioneers Regiment of the West Road Army of the Red Army.

Joining the revolution

Born into an impoverished family in Ji'an, east China's Jiangxi Province, she was sent to a family as a daughter-in-law-to-be at a young age.

Later, having been influenced by the revolution movement, she made a bold decision to join the Red Army when she was only 16 years old.

In 1934, Wang became a member of the Communist Party of China and was soon appointed to work at the provincial women's presidium. In the same year, the second National Representative Assembly of Soviets was held in Ruijin, Jiangxi Province. After the conference, Wang was selected to study at the Marxism-Leninism Party School.

On the route of the Long March

Due to the failure of the Fifth Anti-Encircling and Suppression, the Red Army made a strategic shift to start the Long March. As an officer dealing with teenager and women's affairs at the central committee after graduation, Wang came back to Ruijin and joined the women's working group, following the leadership of Dong Biwu, one of the founders of the Party.

In 1935, the Red Army arrived at Zunyi, southwest China's Guizhou Province. In order to prepare for the Zunyi Meeting (a meeting of the Communist Party of China in January 1935 during the Long March) and carry out mass works, Wang was transferred to work elsewhere.

At that time, the death of Wang's husband and her worries of being homeless led her to become depressed at work. After hearing of Wang's miserable experiences, Wang's comrades encouraged her to pursue her own happiness and matched her with the head of the local work team, Wang Shoudao.

However, living in such turbulent times, the couple had to face separation during the journey and didn't see each other for several decades since then.

Suffering torture from losing the battle

In 1936, Wang was appointed as the director of the Women's Pioneers Regiment of the West Road Army, which included more than 1,300 members and was the first well-armed female soldiers' team.

Unfortunately, when the Red Army marched on to the west, they confronted encirclement and suppression from the Kuomintang (KMT) government, which led the West Road Army to suffer great losses after over 40 days of battle.

Wang once recalled that there were fewer than 5,000 soldiers alive among 20,000 in total and they ran out of bullets and shells.

In addition, in order to cover the troops, Wang and many other female soldiers were captured by the KMT troop after they entered the Liyuankou battle field. Many of them were killed or sent to KMT officers to be their wives and concubines as trophies.

In 1939, Wang seized a chance to escape from the dangerous situation and experienced a hard time finding the Eighth Route Army's Office in Lanzhou, northwest China's Gansu Province.

Nevertheless, based on the rules of managing the captured soldiers of the West Road Army, the office refused to accept Wang.

Wang stated that she was pained by the distrust of the army, "I didn't cry when the West Road Army lost the battle but I burst into tears when I failed to be trusted by the Party," said Wang.

Holding the money the Party gave to her; Wang walked along the route of the Long March and returned to her home in Jiangxi by begging.

The time of reunion

Around five decades have passed; Wang came to Beijing after the reform and opening up policy. Thanks to the wife of Zhu De, Chinese general, politician and one of the pioneers of the Communist Party of China, Wang was readmitted to the Party and the Red Army.

In 1982, Wang finally met Wang Shoudao in Jiangxi. Later, she also came to Beijing again to visit Wang Shoudao and bring him a pair of shoes, which she promised to give him several decades ago. Until then, Wang had taken the first and the last photos with Wang Shoudao.

Moreover, although Wang has neither sons nor daughters of her own, she has adopted six orphans.

On the April 5, 2009, the female veteran passed away in a county of Jiangxi Province at the age of 96.

(Source: and edited by Women of China)

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