“Red tourism” is certainly a talk of the day in China nowadays, combining patriotic education and recreation. In fact “Red Tourism” is enjoying a nationwide boom.
With the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) just around the corner, more people are visiting revolutionary sites to find out where it all began.Red Tourism has transformed the economically backward former revolutionary bases into a new era of economic development while providing an educational base for the public to learn more about the history of the contributions of some of new China’s most important historical figures.
Jiangxi Province in southeast China has seen a dramatic increase in visitors this year partly because of its reputation as the cradle of the Chinese revolution and partly because of its attractive natural scenery.
A delegation of Beijing based foreign correspondents who visited Jiangxi province as part of “Red Tour” to mark the 90th anniversary of the CPC was informed by the local officials that Jiangxi has special contribution to the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The Jinggangshan Mountains is the cradle of Chinese revolution. Nancheng is the birthplace of People’s Liberation Army.
Anyuan in Pingxiang City is the birthplace of Chinese labour movement.
During the Second Revolutionary Civil War, there were 250,000, martyrs wth Jiangxi accounting for one sixth of the total death nationwide. hus Jiangxi has made great contribution to the victory of Chinese revolution.
Li Zuguang, a 45-year-old tourist from neighbouring Fujian Province who was part of a Communist Party group that is visiting some revolutionary sites around Jiangxi said “We came to Mt. Lushan for its everlasting fame since ancient times. I am so happy to visit here to enjoy the beautiful scenery with my own eyes.”
Children are a significant part of the tourist groups that come here, as red tourism has aroused patriotism among young people. Jia Chenhao, a 11-year-old from Shanxi Province has come to Jinggang Mountains with his parents.
“I think the Red Army spent a really hard life. They lived in simple houses, had insufficient food to eat and had bad conditions for sleeping. So I want to learn about their spirit--- to never give up and keep on struggling for success.”
Young children have their own ideas about the Communist Party, but adults also draw surprising inspiration. Fifty-five year-old Wan Mingzhu was a cancer patient from Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. She climbed to the top of Lushan Mountain and said that “I am extremely happy to see the photo of Chairman Mao here. It has really been difficult for the Communist Party to struggle for such a long time for the benefit of Chinese people.”
To accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists flocking here, the local government has taken several measures to support patriotic tourism.
Liu Hua, the chief official from the Nanchang Development and Reform Commission, said: “First, we have created some events related to red tourism,such as the red song competition that is held every year, and we have earned a great reputation at home and abroad with the events. Second, we work to connect red tourism with historical culture and ecological preservation. Third, we try to reflect the connotation of Jiangxi’s red tourism by promoting basic infrastructure projects.”
The government’s efforts are paying off. Thanks to the infrastructure construction, local farmers have found ways to reap the benefits of red tourism.
Next to the highway under the Jianggang Mountains is a family inn.
Wu Jianzhong, a former farmer, was the owner.
The dining room at Changpu Family Restaurant proudly displays photos of Hu Jintao’s visit to the restaurant.
“In order to promote the red tourism industry, the local government built the highway and encouraged me to open a family restaurant by the road. I was worried about business at the beginning, but now I can’t imagine how much success it has brought us.”
The farmer’s business model is just one of advantages that red tourism has offered.
According to statistics provided by local officials, the number of tourists who have visited Jinggang Mountains has increased 20 times from 1995 to 2010.
Last year, income from red tourism exceeded 3 billion yuan, which was about half the local GDP. Meanwhile, the number of Communist Party of China (CPC) members has exceeded 80 million, said a senior CPC official said.
The CPC had 80.269 million members by the end of last year, according Wang Qinfeng, deputy head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.
The Party grew from only about 50 members at its birth to nearly 4.5 million when the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Last year, 3.075 million people joined the CPC, the world’s largest political Party—a net increase of 2.274 million taking into account members who died or left the party. The two leading segments in new members were college students and people at the frontline of production or work, such as industrial workers,farmers, herders, and migrant workers, both accounting for more than 40 percent of total new Party members. The CPC received 21.017 million membership applications last year, a year-on-year increase of 861,000. Of the Party’s members, 18.03 million were women and 5.338 million were from ethnic minority groups in 2010, accounting for 22.5 percent and 6.6 percent of the total respectively, according to Wang.