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A bronze sculpture of a female paramedic giving medication to a child.  

Lao journalists get firsthand experience of Zunyi city, China 

China and Laos have a longstanding and good relationship, but Lao people’s knowledge of China remains limited. Recently, Lao media representatives visited Guizhou province to explore this landlocked province of the Republic of China so they could share their experiences with people back home. 
Journalists from the Vientiane Times and Pasaxon newspapers, Lao National Television and the Department of Cinema under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism visited China from July 14-19 at the invitation of the Zunyi Red Tourism Company Group.
The programme was designed to enable the journalists to broaden their ideas about China and to expand bilateral economic exchange. The visit also strengthened China-Laos friendship, deepened mutual trust, and raised the profile of Visit Laos-China Year 2019.
During their week’s visit to Zunyi City in Guizhou province, the Lao journalists learnt in depth about Guizhou province and Zunyi in particular through visits to historical sites and other important landmarks.
On the first day, the group was warmly welcomed by the board of directors of the Zunyi Red Tourism Company Group at the Zuuyi Guesthouse - a four-star hotel popular with Lao tourists. The hotel is located in the city centre and is surround by important historical sites such as the Red Soldiers Monument and the historic place where the Chinese Communist Party held its most critical meeting in January 1935.
The following day, the Lao media team walked to the Red Army Soldiers Memorial, which is located in the city centre. It was built for the 50th anniversary of the Long March.
At the foot of a hill, pointing due north a broad long staircase leads to the memorial. If you ascend it and walk a little to the left and into the interior of the memorial complex, you’ll come to the most interesting feature and one that is highly revered by the Chinese people - a bronze sculpture of a female paramedic giving medication to a child. Her name is Long Siquan and during the Long March she came to Zunyi with the Red Army, where she also helped and treated villagers during the civil war. Returning after visits to farmers in a nearby village who were ill with typhoid, she was killed by the opposing party. Chinese devotees call her the Bodhisattva of the Red Army. 
Chinese friends told me that visitors like to touch the foot of the sculpture as the Chinese people believe that doing so will bring them good health.
At the memorial we saw a lot of people, both young and old, doing exercises and other activities. Some people were dressed as Red Army soldiers to recall days gone by.
We then walked to another memorial known as the Zunyi Conference, which is considered to be the most critical meeting place for the Chinese Communist Party as it is where the Party held a crucial meeting from January 15 to 17, 1935. At this session, the Party’s wrong strategy was corrected and Mao Zedong solidified his leadership in the Party as well as in the army, which became a turning point in the revolutionary history of China.
After Mao’s policies, which more closely matched the current situation in China, were accepted at this meeting, the fortune of the Chinese revolution was guided onto the right path, which finally led to victory. As a witness to history, the site of the Zunyi Conference draws millions of visitors.
On the third day we went to the National Geological Park of Shuanghe  - River Cave. When we arrived at the Shuanghe cave, we were welcomed by a tour guide who told us that Shuanghe is the world’s longest dolomite cave and also the world’s biggest celestine cave.
Following a 30-year joint scientific expedition by cave experts from China and France, it was determined that the total length of the cave network was more than 200 km. We immediately noticed a change as we walked inside as it was quite cool and a river flowed through the interior. We were able to walk easily and safely as there was a substantial walkway, while the colourful lighting added to the beauty of the scene. We felt like we were in another world, especially as we could constantly hear the sound of the river running through the cave. We didn’t feel tired, even after walking for more than an hour.
In the following days our group toured numerous other places in Zunyi, including a tea plantation, a Maotai liquor processing plant, and the rural and urban development planning office.
The weather was very pleasant. In July, people in Laos sweltered in the heat but in Zunyi we enjoyed a subtropical humid monsoon climate.
Zunyi does not suffer from chilly winters and torrid summers. The annual average temperature is between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius. The rainy season coincides with the hot season. Zunyi is an all-year-round tourist destination. Although it is hotter in the summer, there are many summer resorts that provide a relatively cool environment.  
We certainly visited Zunyi at the right time. We enjoyed some lovely weather and some spectacular sights and the Lao journalists were very impressed with what they saw and experienced.
The programme was well planned and the journalists were able to gain a deep insight into Guizhou province, its culture, and China’s plans for rural development.

By Phonekeo Vorakhoun
(Latest Update August 12, 2019)

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