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Red Tourism Fever Sweeps China

In the past decade or so, red tourism has become a unique phenomenon in China. Red tourism refers to the general public visiting the locations and landmarks that have historical significance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The number of participants has increased from 140 million at the beginning to 1.41 billion in 2019. Jing Gangshan is known as the revolutionary base of the CCP. It has a population of 170,000. More than 19 million tourists visited it in 2019 and it had tourism revenue of 16 billion yuan (US$2.49 billion). In Shanghai, there are more than 610 red (CCP) historical sites and memorial facilities. As local officials describe it, the red culture has been integrated into the city’s genes.

In March of 2021, months before the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China launched the “100 Excellent Routes for Red Tourism.” During the recent May 1 Labor Day holiday break, travel agencies have also actively promoted “Red Tourism” as part of their “patriotic education campaign.”

Beijing officially proposed the plan of red tourism in 2004 and finalized the implementation at the end of 2005. It hoped that the development of red tourism could strengthen the education about the CCP’s history and tradition and reinforce patriotism among the general public, especially the youth.

According to Zhang Yu, Secretary General of the independent Chinese PEN society, more than 10 years ago, when Red Tourism first started, many participants were supporters of Mao Zedong who was the first-generation leader. Those people were unhappy with the regime at the time and used the trip to visit the CCP’s historic sites just to vent their dissatisfaction. Zhang said that the red tourism can gradually change people. Many believed that following the cultural revolution, no one would believe in the CCP anymore. Now the fact is that a significant percentage of people believe in the CCP. The most important goal for the red tourism is to (make people believe) that China would not have continued to exist if it were not for the communist party.

Source: Central News Agency, May 8, 2021