China : The New Long March

An intimate look at China’s past and present

The history of the world is marked by great moments of human achievement, moments of epic triumph against all odds. The Long March in China was such an event – of the 86,000 men and women who went on the 10,000-kilometre journey across the length and breadth of the country, only 4,000 survived.

For over 75 years the Chinese people have looked to the story of the Long March for inspiration. As China’s rapid growth continues, we take a look at the route of the Long March today through the lens of China’s best photographers, chosen by the Chinese Photographers Association, and a group of renowned international photographers.

CHINA: The New Long March is an historic co-publishing project between China’s Qingdao Publishing Group and Weldon International. It reveals the dramatic development and rapid change sweeping across China’s western regions and shows how the spirit of the Long March is alive today as the feelings of pride, determination and perseverance of the local people fill the pages of the book.

This lavish, well-researched, large-format photographic book includes:

• A short history of the Long March illustrated with many photographs and paintings from Chinese archives rarely seen internationally.

• China Today, Over 200 amazing photographs selected from nearly 60,000 images showing the diverse and dramatic scenery along the route and intimate portraits of daily life .

• 3D Digital Augmented Reality feature that transforms the printed page into a living book. Using a free app, readers can unlock the following exclusive digital content:

• music – 10 traditional songs of the Long March
• moving footage – a behind the scenes look at the making of the book
• photographs – a special gallery of additional images

Anthony Paul is a foreign correspondent who has reported from all over Asia for three decades. His posts have included Roving Editor for the US Reader’s Digest, Editor-at-Large/Asia for Fortune magazine and columnist for The Straits Times, Singapore.
Brodie Paul is a Mandarin-speaking China trade specialist who has spent most of his life in living and working in China.

Harold Weldon, project director and co-author (available for author interviews) first travelled to China as a 19-year-old photographer’s assistant on a survey team re-tracing the route of the Long March for an earlier book China: The Long March. On this epic journey, he forged a strong connection with China that continues in the form of a consulting business Weldon Global (Beijing/Hong Kong).

Catherine Croll – Australia, Feng Jianguo − China, Hei Ming – China, Hui Huaijie – China, Li Fan – China, Liang Daming – China, Liu Shaoning – China, Liu Yingyi – China, Richard Mclaren – United Kingdom/USA, Leo Meier – Switzerland/Australia, Sebastien Micke − France/USA, Shi Yongting – China, Song Gangming – China, Wang Wenlan – China

MEDIA COVERAGE Catherine Croll Sept 12 2011 (1)

An Australian retraces route of Long March
By Yang Guang (China Daily)

In 2005, grief-stricken Australian photographer Catherine Croll traveled to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on the invitation of a friend, in a bid to come to terms with the loss of two family members.

That was the start of the first of her series of tours by hard sleeper across China, researching and documenting the country’s traditional cultural heritage.

Australian photographer Catherine Croll embarks on her journey of discovery in Guizhou province. [Feng Jianguo / For China Daily]

The 54-year-old says the more than 40,000-kilometer-long China tours once again kindled in her a passion for living and led to the photo album, China Portrait, in 2007.

The next year, she helped found a cultural organization to facilitate cultural exchanges between China and Australia.

Croll says her interest in China was triggered in the 1970s, when she was studying poster arts in college. At campus art exhibitions, she saw the image of Chairman Mao Zedong on T-shirts, posters and badges. She was especially interested in such traditional crafts as paper cutting, mask and fabric making.

She is still proud of how she managed to get by during her trips, when she was alone and not able to speak a word of Chinese. “I was good at playing charades,” she says.

“Within the first six months after I returned to Australia, I was always wondering how I could get paid to come back,” she jokes.

In late September, Croll was invited to join China: The New Long March, a large media project organized by Qingdao Publishing Group and Australian Media Group Weldon International to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Long March, the massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army from Jiangxi to Shaanxi provinces to evade being pursued by the Kuomintang in 1934 and 1935.

A select group of photographers from China and abroad were dispatched to sections along the route of the original Long March to put together a portrait of China today.

A photo album, a related documentary and other multimedia materials will be released in multiple languages in early 2012.

A photo exhibition is also to be held at the 2012 London Book Fair, as one of China’s country-of-honor events.

Croll was assigned to Guizhou province. Before embarking on her journey of discovery, she made every effort to read everything she could find on China. “I tried to gather information from authors who give conflicting points of view about a historical event, for instance The Long March: The Untold Story by Harrison Salisbury, and The Long March by Sun Shuyun, before forming my own opinion,” she says.

Together with an assistant (Australian Chinese artist, Guo Jian), she traveled from Guiyang, the provincial capital, along the G75 Lanhai Expressway northward to Zunyi, where she visited the historic Zunyi Conference site and the military fortifications at Loushanguan. Then she followed the Red Army route northwest, away from the more developed areas and into the mountains.

She says each evening she would eat delicious local dishes of fresh bamboo shoots, mountain mushrooms and fern noodles. During the week, she would sample at least a dozen different versions of double cooked pork and little bottles of the local liquor.

“People were friendly, welcoming and inquisitive as foreign visitors are rare,” she says.

“Each day, as I looked out over the tranquil farming villages I found it hard to reconcile the fierce battles and the thousands of young men and women who had died while crossing this land.”

Copyright By All rights reserved

“An Australian retraces route of the Long March”

Media Coverage

“China Welcomes Print and Online Media Publishing Partnership”
by Sally Jackson for The Australian 2012

China welcomes print and online publishing partnership _ The Australian

China Calls for Brave Artist by Helen Gregory for the Newcastle Herald May 27 2016

Newcastle Photographer to feature in Chinese Documentary about Long March by Robert Virtue for ABC Newcastle May 25 2016

Catherine Croll Doco

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers for the Newcastle Herald May 27 2016


  1. […] “The New Long March” which was the reason why I was attending the lunch. My friend Catherine Croll (Kate) is one of four Western photographers (and the only Australian) whose work features in the […]

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