Drinks 6.30 pm (cash bar) Lecture starts 7.30pm
RGS HK Members HK$100, Non Members HK$150
Barney Loehnis lectures on "The Long March Revisited", the extraordinary tale of his 9,000 km walk across China, as the first person to retrace Mao's "Long March" on foot.
At the age of 22, Barney Loehnis walked 9,000km across China retracing the route of the Red Army's 1935 Long March entirely on foot. He travelled alone, with a 3 month visa for a 9-month journey, speaking only a few words of Mandarin. He was the first person to have followed the route since 1936. During his journey Mr Loehnis fractured his foot, was arrested nearly 50 times, climbed four 5,000m snow capped peaks and travelled across the infamously treacherous Tibetan grasslands.
Mr. Loehnis speaks on preparations for the trip, including how it came about, how he was able to complete it and what he found along the way. He also reflects on how to reconcile the history and propaganda that surrounds the legend of the March with the reality of the legacy that still remains with the average peasant in China. He offers his perspective, as a "Long Marcher", of the impact of the Long March.
The original Long March, the military retreat of the Red Army of the Communist Party of China to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army, began in October 1934 from Jiangxi province. The "Chinese Soviet Republic", led by an inexperienced military commission, was near to defeat by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's troops. The Communists, under the eventual command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, escaped in a circling retreat to the west and north, which traversed some 9,000 kilometres over 370 days. The route passed through some of the most difficult terrain of western China by traveling west, then north, to Shaanxi. While the subject of legend and government-inspired propagand in China, it had never beeen repeated until Mr Loehnis's feat.
Barney Loehnis left school at the age of 17 and set out to walk 6,000kms from Istanbul to London just a few months after the collapse of the Eastern Block. He followed this with his epic 9,000km walk across China. He has worked in pioneering new and innovative digital communications and services for the past 16 years. He started his career at WHSmith, moved to Waterstones before becoming head of Warner Bros digital division in Europe. He has been in Asia for 5 years where he is the Head of Digital for Ogilvy, the global marketing and communications agency.