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Whampoa Military Academy Centennial: Special events held in Guangzhou to mark anniversary


UPDATED :2024-06-18

June 16 marks the centenary of the founding of the Whampoa Military Academy, the first in China dedicated to building a truly modern and revolutionary army. At the old site of the academy in Guangzhou, new exhibitions and a series of events have been organized to mark the special occasion. 

More than 100 people gathered at the Academy's Memorial Hall in Guangzhou, a museum built on the site of the original building damaged in World War 2. They celebrated the institution's centennial, with certificates issued to donors of artifacts on display, commemorative stamps released, and new exhibits opened.

Founded by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of China's 1911 Revolution that overthrew China's last dynasty, the academy played a crucial role in training military leaders who would later become key figures in both the Nationalist and Communist movements in China.

Among the new exhibits for the academy's one-hundred year anniversary, multimedia displays highlight its once revolutionary ideology. 

Du Suihong, Senior Docent at the Whampoa Military Academy Memorial Hall, said, "This is one of our brand-new multimedia exhibits. It's set up to resemble a dock. Back in the day, countless passionate young people arrived at the Whampoa Military Academy by boat and saw this couplet from afar. The first line reads: 'If you seek promotion and wealth, go elsewhere.' The second line says: 'If you fear death and seek safety, do not enter this gate.' The horizontal inscription reads: 'Revolutionaries, come.'"

In total, over 170 new artifacts, more than 300 new historical photographs, and over 30 new multimedia exhibits will be showcased. Staff at the memorial hall say they're well-prepared for the launch.

Bai Ningning, Docent at the Whampoa Military Academy Memorial Hall, said, "When we first learned about these new exhibitions, we felt a great deal of pressure. The explanatory texts alone amounted to over 20,000 words. The museum brought in experts and senior docents to help us improve our skills. Additionally, we read many books related to the history of Whampoa."

The clubhouse of the academy is also open to the public for the first time since it was restored. Inside, it's possible to get a glimpse of how cadets and teachers once held gatherings and celebrations here. The director of the memorial hall explains why, after a century, commemorating the academy is so important.

Ouyang Danni, Director of the Whampoa Military Academy Memorial Hall, said, "The spirit of Whampoa has different connotations in different eras. In its early days, it represented unity, striving, sacrifice, and dedication. Today, it's evolved into a spirit of patriotism and revolution. This spirit continues to possess strong vitality and practical significance in modern times."

CGTN's Cao Chufeng in Guangzhou, said, "Many graduates and teachers from the Whampoa Military Academy made huge contributions in shaping the China we see today. Commemorating the academy is about commemorating a patriotic spirit that's determined to build a strong and modern China."

Cover image: Guangzhou Daily

Editor: Pauline