Whampoa Military Academy (Huangpu Military Academy)


Free; boat to the island: RMB1.50-15


9am-5pm Tue-Sun

How to get there:

From Xinzhou Pier (Xīnzhōu Mǎtóu, 新洲码头), take a private boat (~RMB 15) or ferry (RMB 1.50), which run every 40 minutes between 6:40am and 8:40am.

With post-imperial China carved up among different powerful warlords reigning over independent areas of control, Sun Yat-sen and the young Republic of China government needed more than lofty ideas about national unity and a renewed country. With help from the Soviet Union, the Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy (Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng Lùjūn Jūnguān Xuéxiào, 中国国民党陆军军官学校) was built on Changzhou Island (Chángzhōu Dǎo, 长洲岛), downriver from the city of Guangzhou at that time.

Known more commonly as the Whampoa Military Academy (Huángpŭ Jūnxiào, 黄埔军校), Sun established the school in 1924 to train cadets that would go on to take part in the Northern Expedition, a military campaign to take parts of China under the control of various warlords and place them under the control of the Nationalist government. Chiang Kai-shek was made the school’s first commandant while future Premiere of the PRC Zhou Enlai was made the director of the political department.

The alliance of Nationalists and Communists was a fragile one, and not one without incident. In March 1926, the gunboat Zhongshan under the command of a Communist officer was spotted just before down off the coast of Changzhou Island. Interpreting the presence of the ship as a prelude to a kidnapping attempt, Chiang Kai-shek arrested the captain and put the city under martial law.

Just twelve years later, the Japanese destroyed the Whampoa Academy, but it was restored in 1965 and is now a museum on Chinese military history.

Bicycle rentals are also available on the island (they can be found near the pier) and make for a good way to explore.

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