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Old 03 April 2008, 01:27 AM
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Icon07 A reality check on the Long March

Between 1934 and 1936, more than 300,000 men and women, divided into several armies, trudged inland through a brutal terrain of frigid mountain passes, freezing rivers and marshes in search of a sanctuary to continue their nascent Communist revolution. Only one in 10 survived. Now, seven decades later, fewer than 500 are still alive.

For generations, their sacrifices have been considered legend, a Chinese version of America's Valley Forge, where sheer grit and dedication drove a young revolutionary army to overcome unthinkable odds and help give birth to a nation.

An integral chapter of Mao's legacy, the plot line has rarely been questioned by older Chinese. Today, however, younger Chinese increasingly view march veterans as willing puppets of the Communist propaganda machine.
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