Zhang Family Group Photo – the year 1919
We already have the answer: 1919. But which month of the year?
The Genealogy tells us the birth date of the old lady Gui: the thirtieth day of the second moon. So her birth day most likely fell in March ( we can find out). And a day in March 1919 was when the photo was taken.
This means that Zhang Hong in early spring 1919 was in Changshu. He witnessed from 1300 km away the big events in Beijing in April and May that year. But three years ago, he, being in the foreign service and a consul in Japan, must have been involved in the early events that eventually led to the student demonstrations in Tiananmen on the fourth day of May, the mostly significant date in the modern history of China.
The First World War and its aftermath had a profound impact on the course of Chinese history. Before the war, the Chinese intellectual elite looked upon Europe as a model. Then they saw those countries tearing up each other- millions were killed. Then, when UK, US, and France sat down to run and re-organize the world in Paris , these same people were totally disillusioned. China was supposed to be on the winner’s side, but was robbed of her rights. How could these countries be the model for China? There were fierce debates and many school of thoughts on how to save China. Shanghai was a hotbed of new ideas.
Two years later, on July 1, 1921, a small group of such people met in an old lane house in Shanghai and formed the Chinese Communist Party. At about the same time, the Xiaoyou School under Zhang Hong made a giant step forward – the Junior High School was launched.