Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtse
Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtse
Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtse
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Source: Peking Review, No. 31, July 29, 1966
FROM CHAIRMAN MAO'S WORKS:
"We Communists ought to face the world and brave the storm, the great world of mass struggle and the mighty storm of mass struggle."
— Get Organized!
"CHAIRMAN Mao Tse-tung, our great leader, once again had a good swim in the Yangtse River, braving the wind and waves on July 16.
The sky over Wuhan that day was bright and clear. Tens of thousands of people, ebullient with joy, thronged both banks of the river.
Chairman Mao had swum across the Yangtse at Wuhan three times in June 1956. and had written his magnificent and powerful poem Swimming — to the melody Shui Tiao Keh Tou. Ten years later. Chairman Mao again swam in the great river, staying in the water for 65 minutes and covering a distance of nearly 15 kilometres. It was as Chairman Mao had said in his poem:
"I care not that the wind blows and the
waves beat; It is better than idly strolling in a courtyard,"
The happy news about Chairman Mao's latest swim in the Yangtse soon spread all over Wuhan. Filled with great joy, the people of this triple city, men and women and old and young, passed on the word: "Our respected and beloved leader Chairman Mao is so very healthy. This is the greatest happiness for the entire Chinese people and for the revolutionary people of the whole world!"
Acting in accordance with Chairman Mao's instruction to go and swim in the big rivers and seas to steel themselves, 5,000 swimmers in Wuhan, following the course charted by Chairman Mao, enthusiastically took part in the 11th Cross-Yangtse Swimming Competition on the morning of July 16. Our great leader arrived in a launch and reviewed the competitors. It was a tremendous inspiration to all the people of Wuhan.
The waters of the river seemed to be smiling that day. Cheering crowds lined both banks which were decorated with colourful banners and huge posters with slogans. It was a festive scene, with the people immersed in deep joy.
At 9:20 in the morning, the strains of The East Is Red, a song in praise of our beloved leader Chairman Mao, came through the loudspeakers on both banks, stirring the hearts of everyone on the spot. They thought to themselves: It was Chairman Mao who opened a broad, smooth path on the Yangtse for us. How fine it would be if he could come today and see us cross the river!
Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts and is with us for ever. Just as the competition started, a fast launch cut through the waves and sailed towards the swimmers from the east where the sun was rising. At that moment, one of the swimmers first caught sight of the great leader on the launch. Hardly able to contain his joy, he immediately shouted out: "Chairman Mao has arrived! Long live Chairman Mao!" Instantly, the swimmers, holding hundreds of red banners high above the water, swam towards Chairman Mao. The eyes of thousands upon thousands of people on the banks and in the river, which became red with the reflections of the banners, were turned on Chairman Mao! They all expressed the same wish: May our great Chairman Mao live ten thousand years! And they all shouted in one voice from their hearts: Long live Chairman Mao! Simultaneously with the cheers, all the ships at anchor sounded their whistles in honour of the great leader. Cheers intermingled with whistles to form a thunderous roar which shook the sky over Wuhan.
Radiant with vigour and in buoyant spirits, Chairman Mao stood on the deck and reviewed the large number of swimmers battling the waves. At that moment, the swimmers formed a Great Wall on the wide river, cleft the waves and valiantly forged ahead, some holding red banners high and others advancing with big boards inscribed with quotations from Chairman Mao's works which read: "Unity, alertness, earnestness and liveliness"; "The imperialists are bullying us in such a manner that we have to deal with them seriously"; "Be resolute and unafraid of sacrifice, surmount every difficulty to win victory." Chairman Mao was filled with great joy to sec that the swimmers were fired with such revolutionary spirit, so firm in their determination and so strong in their fighting will. Now walking to the starboard and now to the port side, he waved to the swimmers amid enthusiastic cheers and called out to them in a loud voice: 'Greetings, comrades! Long live you comrades!"
The children's swimming contingent made up of over 200 primary school pupils received particular attention from Chairman Mao. Most of them Young Pioneers from 8 to 14 years old, the children breasted the waves and swam vigorously onward with a board inscribed with Chairman Mao's words: "Study diligently and make progress every day," singing the song We Are Successors to the Cause of Communism as they advanced. They demonstrated the revolutionary spirit of red youngsters in the Mao Tse-tung era. As the children swam past, Chairman Mao requested that the launch be steered towards them. Seeing Chairman Mao, the Young Pioneers enthusiastically shouted: "Long live Chairman Mao!" Beaming with warm smiles, Chairman Mao waved to them and said in an affectionate tone: "Greetings, children!"
Chairman Mao's encouragement gave great strength to the children. Braving the rolling waves, they swam towards their destination.
Nieh Chang-hsin, a swimmer from the militia of the Hankow Thermal Power Plant, became so excited when he saw Chairman Mao that he forgot he was in the water. Raising both hands, he shouted: "Long live Chairman Mao! Long live Chairman Mao!" He leapt into the air but soon sank into the river again. He gulped several mouthfuls, but the water tasted especially sweet to him. The 5,000 swimmers, as excited as this militiaman, swam past Chairman Mao in groups and, cheering "Long live Chairman Mao," triumphantly reached the destination.
As soon as they went ashore, they turned round and, together with the tens of thousands of people there, warmly cheered Chairman Mao who was on board the launch in mid stream. As the vessel moved towards the shore, Chairman Mao, who was standing at the bow, continuously waved his hand and shouted: "Long live the people!" The crowds on the shore were in exuberant spirits; they burst into thunderous cheers which drowned the roar of the Yangtse's tempestuous waters.
It was at this joyous moment that Chairman Mao's launch arrived near the mouth of the Wuchang dykes. With steady steps, Chairman Mao walked down the gangway and dipped himself in the water for a while before stretching out his arms and beginning to swim. It was exactly 11 o'clock.
The Yangtse was in spate; its current was swift and the rolling waves pounded the shores. Swimming in the vast river. Chairman Mao sometimes made his way through the turbulent waters by side-stroking and sometimes he floated on his back, looking at the azure sky. Close by his side in the water were Comrade Wang Jen-chung. Second Secretary of the Central-South China Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and First Secretary of the Hupeh Provincial Party Committee, and a group of robust youths.
As Chairman Mao swam through the waves, he talked animatedly with the comrades around him. A young woman told him: "This is the second time I’m swimming in the Yangtse." Smiling, Chairman Mao replied: "The Yangtse is wide and deep. It is a good place to swim in." When Chairman Mao discovered that another young woman accompanying him could only swim in one style, he amiably taught her the back-stroke. He said: "The Yangtse is deep and its current is swift. This can help you train your body and strengthen your will-power."
When Chairman Mao crossed the Yangtse for the fourth time in 1957, he pointed to a lesson: People say that the Yangtse is a very big river, actually there is nothing to be afraid of about its size. Isn't U.S. imperialism very big? It turned out to be nothing when we rebuffed it once. So, there are actually some big things in the world that are not to be feared.
While swimming, Chairman Mao also chatted with Comrade Wang Jen-chung at his side. "How is swimming being popularized among the young people in Wuhan?" he asked. "More and more of them are taking to the water," replied Wang Jen-chung. "They have distinguished themselves for being bold, brave and quick in learning. In general, they take only five or six clays to learn to swim." Then Chairman Mao asked: "Can one in every three swim?" Comrade Wang Jen-chung replied: "Yes." Very much pleased, Chairman Mao said: "That's very good!" Comrade Wang Jen-chung reported to Chairman Mao that men of the Chinese People's liberation Army and the militia swam across the Yangtse fully armed last year and that students of the Wuhan Institute of Water Conservancy and Electric Power swam across Tunghu Lake in Wuhan during the winter. He said that an increasing number of people had learnt to swim and that the number able to swim across the Yangtse was growing from year to year.
In 1956 when Chairman Mao swam across the Yangtse for the first time, the broad masses were inspired. Chairman Mao has said: "Swimming is a sport in which the swimmers battle against Nature; you should go into the big rivers and seas to temper yourselves." Following his instruction, tens of thousands of youth and the broad masses have taken part in swimming across the Yangtse on an increasingly extensive scale over the last few years. During the first across-the-Yangtse swim, among those who took part were only some two dozen girl swimmers. Now nearly 1.000 girls take part every year, among them armed militia-women. At first, only one boy took part. Today, however, the children are the vanguard in crossing the river. Many born after 1956, when Chairman Mao first swam across the river, now figure prominently in the cross-Yangtse swim.
When it was nearly noon, a 5-degree strong wind swept over the wide river, churning up big waves. The launch waiting in the middle of the river moved towards Chairman Mao to take him aboard. Comrade Wang Jen-chung asked him several times to go on board to take a rest. Chairman Mao asked how long they had been swimming. When the comrades around said that they had been swimming for 45 minutes, he replied in the best of spirits: "It's not even an hour yet!" With that, he continued swimming to the east. When they had swum 65 minutes. Comrade Wang Jen-chung again asked Chairman Mao to take a rest on the launch. Chairman Mao joked: "Since you are First Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee here, I have to obey your order!"
Starling from near the mouth of the Wuchang dykes, Chairman Mao swam downstream for nearly 15 kilometres to a place near the Wuhan Iron and Steel Company. When he boarded the launch, he was in high spirits and showed no signs of fatigue.
The news of Chairman Mao's swim in the Yangtse stirred all hearts and brought immense inspiration and strength to everybody.
Wei Yueh-an, political instructor of the 205th group of the Wuhan Port Administration and one of those in the Yangtse navigational departments who have distinguished themselves for having studied Chairman Mao's works well, after he returned to his group, described to his comrades the memorable scene of how Chairman Mao reviewed the swimmers and how the great leader had a good swim in the Yangtse. With deep emotion, he said: "A docker who spent dozens of years on the water front. I had my full share of the bitterness and agony of the old society. Since liberation, the people have become the masters of their country. That I was able to swim in the Yangtse together with Chairman Mao today is an event I'll never forget for the rest of my life. From now on I'll follow Chairman Mao's teachings still better. While working on the Yangtse, I'll keep the interests of the country and those of the world at heart, study and apply Chairman Mao's works creatively, do my part to carry out the great proletarian cultural revolution thoroughly, do a good job at work, and make my contribution to the building of our great motherland and to supporting the anti-imperialist, revolutionary struggles. of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is how 1 shall repay the solicitude shown me by the Party and Chairman Mao."
July 16 was an unforgettable day for the more than 300 workers and staff members and their families at the repair section of the shipping department of the Yangtse River Navigation Administration. That was the day they saw how healthy and full of spirit their beloved leader Chairman Mao was, and this made them immensely happy. The same afternoon the workers wrote stacks of pledges In their workshops, proclaiming their resolve to raise the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought still higher, carry the great proletarian cultural revolution through to the end, and repair vessels in a way which would give greater, faster, better and more economical results, support national construction and the Vietnamese people in their struggle to defeat U.S. imperialism.
When worker-swimmer Liu Wu-ching of the Hankow Thermal Power Plant saw Chairman Mao in mid stream, he pledged: "Chairman Mao. I'll study your writings still better and, emulating Comrade Liu Yingchun, assiduously study the supreme guide (meaning Chairman Mao's works— TV.), faithfully carry it out, enthusiastically propagate it and courageously defend it." On his way back to the power plant, Liu sang The East Is Red together with the others with deep feeling. A Young Pioneer, tremendously happy and filled with emotion after the swim, took out his pocket diary and with great care recorded the most unforgettable event in his life: "I saw Chairman Mao at 10:35 on the morning of July 16, 1966."
On that day, friends from various countries who were visiting Wuhan after attending the Afro-Asian Writers' Emergency Meeting watched from on board boats the spectacular cross-Yangtse competition of the people of Wuhan. They met the Chinese people's great leader Chairman Mao whom they had long wished to see. The foreign friends cheered Chairman Mao enthusiastically and the excursion boats resounded with their plaudits. Delegates from Niger, while attending the writers' meeting in Peking, collectively wrote a poem expressing their great love for Chairman Mao. It read:
Mao Tse-tung, you are our leader,
Mao Tse-tung, you are our beacon,
Which illuminates, illuminates, illuminates
The darkest, the farthest horizons. . . .
They could not contain their excitement when they saw Chairman Mao that day. Some friends repeatedly called out: "Chairman Mao! Chairman Mao!" Others shouted in Chinese: "Long live Chairman Mao!" Still others on the boats kept clapping. Friends from Indonesia became so excited at seeing Chairman Mao that they cheered on and on and then broke into revolutionary songs in powerful voices.
Chairman Mao warmly clapped and waved to the friends from various countries. They were very glad to see him so healthy. Some exclaimed: "Chairman Mao is in excellent health!" A friend from Africa remarked: "Chairman Mao has crossed the Yangtse at such an advanced age. Chairman Mao's good health and long life is the happiness of the world's oppressed people and of the people of the whole world."
Foreign friends very highly praised Chairman Mao's call to swim across the Yangtse and the fact that he personally took part in it. They considered it of great significance. They declared that it was a great, unprecedented event for Chairman Mao to have taken the lead in crossing the Yangtse and for the Chinese people to follow this with nationwide swimming activities. It showed the courage of the Chinese people and their defiance of all hardships and dangers. Jaoudat al-Rikabi, a delegate from Syria, commented: "All the swimmers taking part in crossing the Yangtse today looked strong, enthusiastic and courageous. Chairman Mao's splendid initiative enables the young people to develop their physique and foster a sound ideology so that they are able to make a breakthrough however enormous the difficulties and however wide the river may be." These friends remarked that, from the conquest of the natural barrier of the Yangtse and the fearlessness of the people in face of any difficulty, they saw the splendour of Mao Tse-tung's thought.
Chairman Mao has once again braved the waves of the Yangtse and had a good swim for nearly 15 kilometres. This is a great event which has stirred the hearts of all the people. The cheers of "Long live Chairman Mao" on both banks that day lasted for more than four hours. These moving scenes have shown the boundless love and respect of the Chinese people for their great leader Chairman Mao. Guided by the brilliant thought of Mao Tse-tung, China's 700 million people are setting their sights on the future and riding on the wind and waves as they advance.
Posted: 2009-02-09 12:01 |
Posted: 2009-02-09 12:07 |
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