The Starting Place in Hunan
In the morning, several students walked around in small huddles to Xinmin Primary School across the Xinmin Road in Changsha City. They ate steamed stuffed buns and had fun, while the Xinmin lnstitute looked a little lonely around the heavy traffic.
However, as far as we know, it was a busy place more than nine decades ago. Mao Zedong, Cai Hesen and a group of passionate youthes got together here, and they discussed how to save China in new ways. Among them, some Hunan young people had overcome various difficulties to arrive in France and study there.
“They studied and searched the truth of salvaging the country here, sometimes they slept next to the cemetery or at Aiwan Paviliono in Yuelu Mountain, by talking and discussing it all night.”Tang Deqiang introduced that the students from Xinmin Institute who wanted to revive the China.“No hypocrisies, no laziness, no wasting, no gambling and no whoring”were five disciplines in Xinmin lnstitute.
Influenced by the October Revolution of Russia and the May 4th Movement in 1919, the members of Xinmin Institute had a strong desire to search for the right way to save the nation from the thoughts of the West. On March 17 of 1919 , the first batch of students,89 persons, set off from China to study in France. Among them, there were 43 Hunan students, three of them came from Xinmin Institute.
Xiangjiang River in Hunan Province was an important starting point in the history of Work-Study program in France. A lot of work-study students started their journey from Xiangjiang River by ship to Beijing or Shanghai. Moreover, Mao Zedong and He Shuheng also started their trip by ship in Xiangjiang River for attending the 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
According to the statistics,from 1919 to the end of 1920, more than 1600 students took part in the work-study program in France, and Hunan,the second large province having 346 youthes for the project, was less than 378 persons of Sichuan Province. During this period, 19 youthes went to France including Cai hesen，Xiao Zisheng, Zhang Kundi, Li Weihan, Xiao San, Ouyang Ze, Xiang Jingyu，Caichang, et al.from the complete 78 members of Xinmin Institute.
In those years,they took boats from the Xiangjiang River to Shanghai Huangpu Port, and then they took the French cruise across the East China Sea, South China Sea, through the Strait of Malacca into theIndian Ocean. They reached the Mediterranean Sea and finally arrived in France.
Today we started in Changsha City by airlines and high-speed rails due to the faster and more convenient transportation development of China and the world.
From Hunan to France: The Starting Place in Hunan
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