Young Pioneers of China

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Flag of Young Pioneers of China
Young Pioneers of China standing honour guard at the Monument to the People's Heroes at Tianamen Square
A group of Young Pioneers in Tiananmen Square in October 2007

The Young Pioneers of China (simplified Chinese: 中国少年先锋队; traditional Chinese: 中國少年先鋒隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó shàonián xiānfēngduì; abbr. simplified Chinese: 少先队; traditional Chinese: 少先隊; pinyin: shàoxiānduì) is a mass youth organization for children aged six to fourteen in the People's Republic of China. The Young Pioneers of China is run by the Communist Youth League, an organization of older youth that comes under the Communist Party of China. The Young Pioneers of China is similar to Pioneer Movements that exist or existed in many Communist countries around the world.

History[edit]

The Youth and Children of China Movement (simplified Chinese: 中国少年儿童队; traditional Chinese: 中國少年兒童隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó shàonián értóng duì) was created on October 13, 1949 by the Communist Party of China, and given its present name in June 1953. Between its own founding in 1921 and the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party ran various other youth movements in communist-held areas.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1978), the Young Pioneers Movement was temporarily dismantled. It was replaced by the Little Red Guards, who were the younger counterparts of the Red Guards, the implementers of the Cultural Revolution. The Young Pioneers Movement was restarted in October 1978.

The retrocession of Hong Kong and Macau in 1997 and 1999 respectively has not seen the expansion of Communist Party organizations to those areas, including the Young Pioneers.

Membership[edit]

Young Pioneers consist of children between the ages of six and fourteen; upon reaching the age of fourteen, members automatically exit the Young Pioneers and may go on to join the Communist Youth League.

Most elementary school students are Young Pioneers by the time they graduate from grade school. Most of the schools require students of the right age to become Young Pioneers.[1] There were an estimated 130 million Young Pioneers in China, as of 2002.[2]

Organization[edit]

According to the Young Pioneers constitution, each school or village organizes a battalion (simplified Chinese: 大队; traditional Chinese: 大隊; pinyin: dàduì), which is divided into squadron (simplified Chinese: 中队; traditional Chinese: 中隊; pinyin: zhōngduì) each corresponding to a class, which is then further divided into Squad (simplified Chinese: 小队; traditional Chinese: 小隊; pinyin: xiǎoduì) each with a handful of members. Each small detachment has a leader and an assistant leader; each medium detachment is led by a committee of between three to seven members; and each large detachment is led by a committee of between seven and fifteen members. Adult leaders are chosen from either the Communist Youth League or from local teaching staff.

Constitution[edit]

The Constitution was officially passed on June 1, 1954, on international Children's Day. It has since been amended many times. The full text is available on Wikisource.

Symbols[edit]

Flag[edit]

According to the Young Pioneers Constitution, the flag is red, symbolizing the victory of the Revolution; the five-pointed star in the middle symbolizes the leadership of the Communist Party, while the torch symbolizes brightness down the path of communism.

The flag of each large detachment is 90 x 120 cm, while the flag of each medium detachment is 60 x 80 cm, with an isosceles triangle (60 x 20 cm) removed from the right side. The removed triangle corresponds to the red scarf worn by Young Pioneers.

Emblem[edit]

The emblem consists of the star, the torch, and a banner reading "The Young Pioneers of China".

Scarf[edit]

The red scarf (红领巾 hónglǐngjīn) is the only uniform item. Young Pioneers are often referred to simply as "Red Scarves"; the investiture ceremony often consists of new members having their scarves tied for them by existing members. Children wearing red scarves are a ubiquitous sight in China.

The red scarf is generally worn around the neck and tied, with no woggle. Some local groups also come up with other uniform items.

The Young Pioneers Constitution explains that the scarf corresponds to the missing triangle on the medium detachment flag. The Constitution also explains that the red of the scarf comes from the blood sacrificed by martyrs of the Revolution, and that all members should therefore wear the scarf with reverence.

Salute, Slogan, Conduct, Promise[edit]

The Young Pioneers Salute consists of bending the right arm and raising the right hand directly above the head, the palm flat and facing downwards, and the fingers together. It symbolizes that the interests of the People supersede all.

The Slogan is:

To which the reply is:

The stipulated conduct of Young Pioneers, according to the constitution, is:

The Young Pioneers pledge is:

Song[edit]

The Young Pioneers song is We are the heirs of communism (Chinese: 我们是共产主义接班人; pinyin: Wǒmen shì Gòngchǎnzhǔyì Jiēbānrén). It was originally the theme song of Heroic Little Eighth-Routers (Chinese: 英雄小八路; pinyin: Yīngxióng Xiǎo Bālù), a 1961 film about the 1958 Second Taiwan Strait Crisis and a real-life group of children who stayed on the frontlines of coastal Fujian in order to help the war effort against Kuomintang forces. Listen to the song here.

Dress uniform[edit]

Similar to other members of the Pioneer movement worldwide, the full dress uniform is white or blue shirt or polo with undershirt and pants with the red scarf and badges attached to the shirt, with an optional headdress such as a beret. Sometimes even school uniforms are used, the addition being the red scarf, headdress cap and the organizational and rank badges.

See also[edit]

References[edit]