These Chinese (Red Army) girls are "medical assistants"(Note Red Cross on breast pocket), who despite their "exempt" situation, did train with rifles for their own protection and that of their wounded.
The Rifles shown are a mix of Long Hanyang made Gew88s, and the similar Kar88 version,(but as a Longer barrel version) still with the barrel jacket. etc There is also one (I can see) M71 there as well.
( it could be an "M71/88" Single shot in 7,9mm).
Notice the Paper labels glued to the stocks...I have one "K88" with this label, but the characters are illegible ( water damage etc)...anybody have one with legible details?
Where did you find this photo? one of the old "Life" mags, or the National Geographic.
BTW, it was a Canadian Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Norman Bethune, who went to China after the Spanish Civil War, to Yenan, and set up mobile Field Hospitals for the 8th Route Army of Mao. He also trained the Chinese "medics" in up-to-date Battlefield First Aid and medivac procedures, and also trained a lot of sparsely trained Chinese medical graduates in Battlefield Surgery.
Bethune himself is held in high reverence in China, he died because he refused Sulfa drugs for his own Typhoid infection, saying the wounded needed it more...( 1941).
Doc: I don't remember where the photo came from? I've had it in a folder for years with a lot of other stuff and just never looked at it closely until the other day. I don't think it's a LIFE photo as the usually have "LIFE" in the right hand lower corner.
Could be a local Chinese development of the original "slipper" type footwear used in China for centuries...rope soled, cloth uppers....
On the other hand, they could be US-made "sneakers" (Basketball & Gym sports shoes) which were supplied in big quantities during the 30s and 40s to China; or a Local copy of the same. They wewre better on the feet than classic western style "Army Boots", especially in the unpaved terrain of China.