Inspiring Women with Hongsao

ByLi Wenjie and Zhang Jiamin September 6, 2022

Inspiring Women with Hongsao


Yimeng Mountains, in East China's Shandong Province, witnessed the heroic deeds of its residents during wartime before the founding of the People's Republic of China. Women in the region bore the responsibilities of taking care of their families and supporting the revolution. They selflessly devoted their youth — and even their lives — to the revolution, and for their efforts they were hailed as Yimeng hongsao (women supporting revolution).

Yimeng Hongsao Memorial Hall, in Changshanzhuang, a village, in Linyi, a city in Shandong, is where Party members and officials receive an education in revolutionary traditions, and where they improve their Party consciousness. It is also a national patriotism education base for women.

Jin Jing, deputy head of the memorial hall, became a tour guide in the venue in 2011. Since then, she has inspired herself with the spirit of Yimeng hongsao. She has offered guide-related services to nearly 100,000 people in the memorial hall. Of the hall's guides, she has always been selected to provide guide-related services to important visitors, and she has won many honors for her excellent performance. 

Inspiring Women with Hongsao


Making Each Sentence Convincing 

As a guide in the patriotic education base for women, Jin fully understands her responsibilities, and she knows what professional skills she must have. 

"We must seriously study the history of the Party, the country, and the revolutionary history of Shandong and Yimeng region. We must research the Yimeng spirit and deepen our understanding of the stories of hongsao, based on the background of the wars. We should study every detail of the story of each hongsao, and we should often consult experts and visit heroes and other 'red-education' bases. We should ensure each sentence we say … is convincing to the visitors," Jin says. 

She often gets to know some information, such as age and profession, about the visitors before she provides services. This can help her prepare for her work.

While guiding the visitors, Jin carefully selects her words, and adjusts her tone and posture, based on the visitors' reactions. Elderly visitors often have special feelings about some of the exhibits, so she chats with them during the tour. Sometimes she learns useful historical knowledge during her talks with the elderly visitors. 

Jin has prepared 12 guide scripts, each of which targets a different group of visitors. In 2013, Jin led her team in collecting materials about Yimeng hongsao. They conducted interviews with heroes and role models, some through telephone calls and others in person, including during trips to other cities. 

The team compiled teaching materials, based on the Party's history and stories of some hongsao, and they produced a video, based on their interviews with hongsao. They also helped compile a book about hongsao. 

To share the stories of hongsao, Jin designed an online audio-guide system for the memorial hall. Jin and her team have organized public lectures in schools, communities, military camps and tourist sites to promote the revolutionary spirit. Although being a tour guide requires much repetition, Jin is never bored. "I try to make my service richer … and more inspiring each time … I hope visitors will be touched, and they will feel nurtured by noble virtues and the wisdom contained in history after they listen to my (comments). 

"More importantly, I try to integrate the spirit of the latest instructions of the CPC Central Committee into my services. To set the stage for the 20th CPC National Congress, which will be held this year, we have decided to update the contents on the display boards in the hall," says Jin.

Inspiring Women with Hongsao


Spreading Stories of Hongsao 

During wartime, women in the Yimeng region didn't hide from the conflict; in fact, they bravely walked out of their houses to support the revolution, and they helped transfer provisions and ammunition, made shoes for soldiers and cared for the wounded. They sent their children to join the army, and they raised unattended children left behind by the soldiers. Their deeds reflected a great love for humanity, and their actions have continued to inspire Chinese women.

Jin and her colleagues have been deeply touched by the heroic deeds of Yimeng hongsao. "We notice women visitors are more easily moved than men by the stories of hongsao. I believe that is because of the empathy between women," Jin says. But she does not believe that is enough to affect visitors; instead, she believes the guides should use powerful language to tell the stories of Party members and heroines, so visitors will be impressed by the stories, and the strength of truth and ideals. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of passing down the "red gene," and he has called for continuous efforts to carry forward the revolutionary tradition of Yimeng, based on the situations of the new era. To become a qualified promoter of the revolutionary spirit, and the stories of hongsao, all of the guides have spared no effort in studying the Party's history, and they have made active efforts to improve their all-round ability. 

"Regardless of where you come from, we can tell some stories about the Party's history that are relevant to your hometown. Ma Qianqian, one of our guides, talked with the visitors in fluent English when a delegation of the South African Communist Party visited the hall. My colleague Wei Jingwen danced with the ballerinas when members of the National Ballet of China paid a visit. Each guide is unique, but in the education base, we share a common goal, and we make progress together," Jin says, with pride. 

Inspiring Women with Hongsao


The memorial hall's staff is happy the hall has become a vigorous spiritual home. Jin says she and her colleagues will work harder as they prepare for the convening of the 20th CPC National Congress, so they can help visitors better understand the Party's history of uniting and leading the Chinese people in its endeavors for a better future.

They will keep telling stories about the Chinese revolution and hongsao. Jin says they hope their work will help make the revolutionary spirit radiate, with a new glow in the new era. 


Photos Supplied by Guangzhou Women's Federation, Interviewees and VCG

(Women of China English Monthly August 2022 issue)


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