At the Tiger's Mouth Cliff, the Red Flag Canal is built on the side of a cliff
A diagram of the Red Flag Canal carved on the rockface near the Canal Visitor Centre

The Red Flag Canal (Chinese: 红旗渠; pinyin: Hóngqí qú) is an irrigation canal located 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Anyang in the northern extremity of Henan, China.

Geographic location

The canal begins close to the border of Henan and Shanxi. It diverts water from the Zhang River (漳河). The Zhang River flows from Shanxi and becomes the border between Hebei and Henan near to Handan. The dam is located near the corner of the three provinces. The canal winds around the side of a cliff, through 42 tunnels and along the side of the Taihang Mountains. The main canal is 71 km (44 mi) long with many branches to distribute the water.


The canal was initiated during the Great Leap Forward and was built in the 1960s, with the main channel being completed in 1965. It was dug entirely by hand labour. The main canal is 71 kilometers long. Including the distribution branches, the irrigation system is claimed to have a total length of 1,500 km (930 mi).[1]

It irrigates the fields of the Linzhou district.[2][3]

The Red Flag Canal was considered to be a great achievement of the Chinese workers in the 1960s and was the subject of several movies.[4][5] The Red Flag Canal was featured in propaganda both internal and external to China, as an exemplar of what workers could achieve and local mass initiative.[6][7][8][9]

Linzhou (then called Linxian) and the Red Flag Canal were visited by the Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni when he made his documentary film Chung Kuo, Cina about China during the Cultural Revolution in 1972.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "The Grand Taihang Canyon - a must-see tourist attraction in China". China Pictorial. 2009-06-11. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20.
  2. ^ "Hongqi Canal". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  3. ^ "Tourism". Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  4. ^ "Red Flag Canal". International Institute of Social History. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  5. ^ ""The Hundred Family Name" is in order What is the meaning of the surname culture?". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  6. ^ "Senior Party official visits "red flag canal spirit" display". People's Daily Online. October 2, 2004. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ "Large-scale music and dance epic Red Flag Canal Song". Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  8. ^ "Red Flag Canal". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  9. ^ "09/01/09 1960 , The Year of Gengzi (I)". China Central Television. 2009-01-09. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23.
  10. ^ Yang Kuei."Repudiating Antonioni's Anti-China Film". Marxists Internet Archive. Feb 22, 1974. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08.

36°21′12″N 113°45′34″E / 36.35333°N 113.75944°E / 36.35333; 113.75944