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Liu Zhidan

Liu Zhidan
Traditional Chinese 劉志丹
Simplified Chinese 刘志丹

Liu Zhidan (1903–1936) was a Chinese military commander and Communist leader, who founded the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Base Area in northwest China, which became the Yan'an Soviet.


  • Early life 1
  • Red Army 2
  • Legacy 3
  • References 4

Early life

Liu Zhidan was born in 1903 into a literati family in Bao'an, since renamed

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q (Chinese) 傅国涌 "刘志丹的悲壮人生" 炎黄春秋杂志 2000年第11期


Liu Zhidan was hailed as martyr at the time of his death and remembered as such until 1962 when a biographical novel about his life was criticized by Kang Sheng as an anti-party conspiracy. Xi Zhongxun, one of his former comrades was purged as a result (see 反黨小說《劉志丹》案). During the Cultural Revolution, Liu's grave was ransacked by Red Guards. After the Cultural Revolution, Liu's legacy was rehabilitated.


Liu himself was dispatched by Mao to lead the Eastern Expedition against Yan Xishan.[1] He was killed in battle in February 1936 and named a martyr.[1] His home county of Bao'an was later named after him.[1]

Chiang Kai-shek sent Zhang Xueliang to attack Liu's base in 1935 but Zhang's troops were soundly defeated by Liu in the Battle of Laoshan.[1] But shortly thereafter, Liu Zhidan fell victim to a vicious purge at the hands of commissars sent from Shanghai.[1] He and his comrades were jailed.[1] Many subordinates were executed. He himself was about to be executed when Mao Zedong and the Long Marchers arrived in the Northwest, halted the rectification campaign and had Liu and his comrades released.[1] Liu's base became a refuge for the other defeated Red Armies and grew to become the Yan'an Soviet, the primary base of the Chinese Communists until 1947.

In his native northern Shaanxi, Liu Zhidan founded the Shaanxi-Gansu Border Region and Northern Shaanxi Region base areas, and established the 26th and 27th Corps of the Chinese Red Army.[1] In the spring of 1934 and fall of 1935, he defeated two large suppression campaigns by Nationalist forces and managed to merge the two base areas, controlling 22 counties.[1]

Red Army

After the Song Zheyuan and Liu fled to northern Shaanxi.[1]


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