How to calculate the distance the Long March covered?

Updated: 2016-08-04 13:13

By Jin Dan(

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How to calculate the distance the Long March covered?


Just like words have meaning, sometimes numbers have cultural significance. Whenever Chinese people hear the number 25,000, they automatically think of the Long March undertaken by the Red Army from 1934 to 1936.

Curious ones may be interested in how such a long distance could be measured. Historical accounts show that the length of 25,000 li (12,500 km) is a summation based on military documents and survivors' diaries rather than actual distance based on maps.

In fact, the number refers to the longest distance part of the Central Red Army covered.

It completed its Long March on Oct 19, 1935, when its Shaaxi-Gansu detachment arrived in Wuqi county in northern Shaanxi. "Mao Zedong told me, according to data collected by the regiment headquarters of the First Corps, that the unit covered the longest distance, 25,000 li," Xiao Feng, the party leader of the detachment, wrote in his dairy.

From then on, the term "Long March of 25,000 li" began to be recorded in the formal document of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

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