Marshal He Long Statue at Tianzishan
It is not well known that the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is dedicated to Marshal He Long, one of the early Communist leaders and one of the leaders on the Long March. Still loved in Hunan, He Long was a crusty peasant who believed in liberating the long-suffering peasants.
Born in 1896, he quickly became unhappy with the tax burden on the poor, and it was rather fitting that his first action was to attack a local salt tax office. His military abilities brought him recognition from the army and he quickly rose to become a leader. In 1926 he joined the Communists, to Chiang Kai-Shek's disappointment. After many atempts to woo him away from the Communists, Chiang Kai-Shek had more than a hundred close family relatives butchered.
He became a great speaker and was much loved by his men, but his ability to say the right thing at the right time brought him into conflict with Mao, who saw him, probably quite rightly, as a future threat. He never held any civilian post after 1949 other than as Sports Minister, but it appears he was happy to take a back seat.
But this was not enough to protect him durig the Cultural Revolution, when posters portrayed him as a monster and as a warlord. He was thrown into prison, and on June 8th 1969, he was murdered in hospital, and in the current government fashion it is blamed on Lin Biao and Jiang Qing so as not to cast any aspersions on the integrity of the Great Charioteer himself. One tour guide at Zhangjiajie muttered that there were "two great leaders from Hunan and only one of them has a statue at Zhangjiajie".
Zhangjiajie remembers the old warhorse and it seems that flowers are still occasionally found at the base of the huge statue, which stands with his back to the Emperor's Writing Brushes.