Red tourism shakes off shadow cast by COVID-19

By ZOU SHUO in Shaoshan, Hunan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-26 07:06
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A train leaves Shaoshan for Jinggangshan in Xiangtan, Hunan province. CHINA DAILY

Visitors flocking to Mao Zedong's birthplace in Hunan

For 17-year-old Luo Yaqian, a two-day trip to the former residence of Chairman Mao Zedong in Shaoshan, Hunan province, inspired her to work hard to realize her goal of going to a reputable university.

The third-year student from Anhua No 2 High School in Yiyang, a city in Hunan, visited Shaoshan on Dec 11 on a trip organized by her school. All students from the school are due to visit Shaoshan in several groups.

During Luo's trip, the students visited Mao's former residence, his memorial hall and Mao Zedong Square. They also watched a movie and attended a lecture themed on Mao's younger days.

Luo said she was deeply inspired by the late Chinese leader. "Mao decided at an early age to leave his hometown to make a difference with his life. I am also determined to work hard and achieve good results in the national college entrance exam to realize my dream," she said.

In April, the authorities in Hunan launched a special study tour campaign for all primary and secondary school students to visit Shaoshan to make good use of the city's "red tourism" resources.

By the end of last month, more than 81,600 students had taken part in the study tours in 93 batches, local government figures show. The cost of these tours is covered by the government.

Mao, the People's Republic of China's first leader, was born in 1893 in Shaoshan village, about 100 kilometers from Changsha, capital of Hunan. He left his hometown for the first time when he was 17.

His former residence opened to visitors in 1951, since when increasing numbers have made pilgrimages to the mountainous village.

Shaoshan has become one of China's major red tourism attractions — places in which Chinese revolutionaries were born, lived or fought.

Key scenic areas in Shaoshan, including the square and Mao's former residence, have been upgraded to national 5A-class tourist attractions, the nation's top rating.

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