Red tourism as China’s ruling party celebrates centenary

By Jesús Centeno

Jinggangshan, China, Apr 11 (EFE).- In 1927, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong unleashed the Cultural Revolution from the southeastern province of Jiangxi, where people on Sunday traveled to commemorate the centennial founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“I was raised in the ‘Red Gene’ and now that I am retired, I can finally come to this place,” a man visiting Jinggangshan Revolution Museum, located near a CPC-themed amusement park, tells Efe.

Upon receiving a group of Chinese and foreign journalists visiting the region where the Red Army soldiers attacked the nationalist army, Jinggangshan’s mayor Jiao Xuejun says people come here to “consolidate their convictions.”

Jiao adds that back in October 1927, pro-Mao troops marched to Jinggangshan to establish their first countryside base.

“Sacrifice and don’t give in,” says Wu Ping, another man visiting the area from Hunan province, the birthplace of the famous leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China, established in 1949.

Local officials are strictly following official orders to boost ‘patriotic education’ and develop ‘red tourism’ to celebrate the CPC centenary.

Visitors, most of whom are retirees, make stops at the residence where Mao commanded his troops and visit towns such as Mayuan to get a feel of the “the fervor” of those revolutionary days.

The occasion doubles up as a local business opportunity with merchants setting up stalls to sell flags, keychains and portraits and statues of Mao, which are interspersed with depictions of the current president Xi Jinping.

According to local authorities, so far this year the city has generated 565 million yuan ($96.22M) from to so-called red tourism thanks to some 791,700 visitors who made the political pilgrimage between January and March, an increase of 6.52% compared to last year, which was marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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