'Red Tourism' draws Chinese on centennial of Communist Party
JINGGANGSHAN, China (AP) — On the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, tourists are flocking to historic sites and making pilgrimages to party landmarks.
On a street where the Red Army once roamed, a group of retirees in historic pastel-blue army uniforms belt out tunes made famous through countless movies, television shows and other forms of propaganda. Historic locations in Jiangxi and Guizhou provinces — the sites of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s early battles, his escape from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces in the Long March and the cementing of his leadership in Zunyi — are experiencing an influx of tourists this year as post-pandemic travel returns to China.
In Guizhou, tourism in the first quarter of 2021 has already recovered to 2019 levels, local official Lu Yongzheng said. The province, among China’s top tourist destinations, received millions of tourists who brought in billions of dollars in revenue.
On a recent government-organized tour, descendants of the Red Army told stories of their forefathers at the Zunyi Memorial Museum, which houses artifacts from the period and hologram recreations of a key meeting at which Mao established his dominance.
Kong Xia grew up listening to stories of hardships and toil and the arduous Long March, a military retreat in which her grandfather, Kong Xianquan, participated. In the epic journey, the Communists traveled over treacherous terrain to eventually establish their World War II capital in the dry northern province of Shaanxi, from which they would expand and eventually triumph over their Nationalist rivals in 1949.
Kong Xia describes her grandfather’s life to pass down stories of the Communist Party’s humble beginnings, especially to younger generations who she worries may be losing interest in...