Chinese National Day
Today is Chinese National Day. Most of the country is on the move, thanks to Golden Week, one of two national week-long holidays launched in 1999 to boost the economy by encouraging people to travel (and spend money).
On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, stood atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace, a.k.a.Tiananmen, and proclaimed the foundation of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
It signalled the end of a nearly 30 year struggle to overthrow the Nationalist regime headed by Chiang Kai-shek and replace it with a “dictatorship of the proliteriate”.
The term Red Tourism was coined a few years back. It refers to visiting sites of historical significance in the Communist struggle to “liberate” China. It has become popular with both domestic and international tourists.
On line tour operator China Highlights has come up with a list of the five most popular travel destinations in the People’s Republic for Red Tourism.
There’s one for each star on the Chinese flag!
Yan’an, Shanxi – This was the Red Army’s revolutionary base following the legendary Long March. There are 140 revolutionary sites, many of them caves carved out of the loess plateau of Yan’an.
Shaoshan, Hunan – The hometown of Mao Zedong. There are tourist attractions situated within seven tourism zones. The top attraction for many pilgrims is the house in which Chairman Mao was born.
Nanchang, Jiangxi – The site of the Nanchang Uprising. In 1927, Zhou Enlai and He Long led a counter attack against Nationalist forces, who were trying to wipe out the Communist Party. There are several historic sites in the city.
4. Jinggang Mountain
Jinggang Mountain, Jiangxi – The launch pad of the Communist Revolution in October 1927, following an unsuccessful uprising in Changsha. There are 29 historical red sites in the district.
Zunyi, Guizhou – The site of the Zunyi Conference, which was held in 1935. This is when Mao Zedong was first elected Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. There are dozens of historic red sites in the city.
Up Close and Personal
I haven’t been to any of these Red Travel sites yet, but – as a once student of Modern Chinese History – I would definitely like to get “up close and personal” with them.
My game plan would be to refresh my memory about Modern Chinese History first by reading (and re-reading) several books … and then travel with a textbook in hand.
I would want to unpack my bags and settle in for a spell at each stop. I would read at each stop. I would talk at each stop. I would also take lots and lots of pictures.
And I would write …