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Mao Zedong and He Zizhen on the road of the Long March


In the Red Army period, Mao Zedong's wife He Zizhen was a legendary woman. In 1925, 16-year-old He Zizhen became the first female party member and the first woman minister in Yongxin County, Jiangxi Province, and also led the Yongxin riots when she was 17 years old. After the failure of the Revolution, she fought in Jinggangshan, and become the first female soldier in Jinggangshan. There, the 18-year-old He Zizhen met the 34-year-old Mao Zedong and they fell in love and married in 1928. In October 1934, she and Mao took part in the famous Long March.

He Zizhen was given the Central Red Army cadres rest band, and when she embarked on the journey, she found herself pregnant again. That was her the fourth pregnancy and due to her poor health, coupled with the pregnancy, He Zizhen had very pale face, was walking with more difficulty, but was determined not to get the special care. Along the way, she insisted, like other comrades, to keep a close watch on thirty-four stretchers. When they arrived at the camp, she was busy and arranged accommodation for others. It was not until everyone had settled down that she finally dragged her exhausted body to rest .

In January 1935, Zunyi Conference re-established the leadership of Mao Zedong. On February 20, the Red Army crossed through the Red River for the second time, returned to Guizhou, overcame Loushanguan in triumph, and captured Zunyi again, defeating the enemy’s two divisions and eight regiments. This was the biggest victory since the Long March. In that time, He Zizhen was about to give birth .

That afternoon, troops were marching through a village in Guizhou. Suddenly He Zizhen’s face became purple, she bit her lips, and had unbearable pain. "To be born, to be born!" health workers could not help but tense up. Because of the horrible conditions ,they could only create a shanty as the delivery room. And at the same time, the enemy were chasing behind them. A baby girl born as a bomb sounded in the distance.

When they fled to the station, Mao Zedong came and expressed his sympathy for her .During childbirth, the enemy captured and bombed the location, but luckily the child was able to be saved unscathed. Mao Zedong listened, smiled and said "because she is the descendant of the Red Army, she is invincible. "

He Zizhen had not been taken care of well after giving birth because of the hard living conditions in.the Long March. Mao Zedong gave nine silver dollars to his guard Chen Changfeng and told him to buy something full of nutrients for He Zizhen, so that she could recover. But after He Zizhen found out, she took back those 9 silver dollars from the guard Chen Fengchang because she thought that they still had a long way to success of the Long March. Mao was more essential for HongJun and also for the revolution of China. His health was more important than hers. When Mao heard of this, he talked with He Zizhen and said that they could buy a carp and eat together. HeZizhen agreed to his suggestion reluctantly. After she got the 9 silver dollars, where ever she went, she always bought something nutritious for Mao Zedong. But according to the price levels of that time, no one could buy anything with so little money. Mao Zedong confronted her about the prices of what she was buying. He Zizhen realized that she couldn't hide the truth any longer and told him that she had sold two gold bracelets from her mother. Mao was deeply moved by her behavior. He paused a moment, and said ”it doesn't matter. We will repack a new China to your mom." "I'm looking forward to that day," she said as she smiled. 

One day in mid-March when the sun was in the West and people were preparing camp, heads turned upwards towards the sound of an aircraft. Trumpets sounded to inform people to immediately hide, but it was too late. Three enemy aircrafts dropped bombs.

When the enemy aircrafts flew away, bodyguard Wu Jiqing ran in search of He Zizhen and found her lying in a pool of blood and unconscious.Wu Jiqing Zizhen quickly put her on a stretcher, and got the doctor Li Zhi. He found her body full of shrapnel; a piece of shrapnel had also cut open a long and deep hole from her right arm to her back.

After she woke from a coma, He Zizhen refused to continue with the force because she claimed she would slow them down. She argued that she be left behing, but Mao Zedong said “we must carry her to the destination!”

Zizhen lied on a stretcher for three months under her husband's care, with friendship of his comrades and the doctor's careful treatment, she miraculously recovered. Three months later, she was able to walk leaning on a stick. Then He Zizhen moved forward step by step.

In August 1935, Mao Zedong and He Zizhen walked in northwest Sichuan. The path was muddy, so He Zizhen’s feet were never dry. Her injuries were were painful, but she did not complain, though sometimes her weak legs fell into the mud. With her comrades’ help, she got up and moved on.

On December 13, 1935, Mao Zedong and He Zizhen arrived in Northern Wayaobao safely.