According to Shi Yingrui, a 20 year old Chinese University student, paying tribute to their fallen heroes will not only help them study but also boost their spirits. This he said as dozens of his colleagues stood in three rows to bow three times before a massive statue of a communist revolutionary hero at a local museum.
Ever since President Hu Jintao assumed office in 2002, the Beijing government has put emphasis on the Communists Party revolutionary history. “Red Tourism” exhibitions, is one major way how the communist regime is promoting history and reiterating its legitimacy, sixty years down the line after the People’s Republic of China was founded.
The director of the Wuhu Museum, Wang Shande says the heroes who enabled the country grow cannot just be buried with history. Wuhu museum allow visitors explore the life and times of revolutionaries like Wang Jiaxiang and Mao Zeodong (known for socialism) through films and personal effects.
However, according to Jen-Philippe Beja, a visiting researcher at the French Centre of Studies on Modern and Contemporary China in Hong Kong says ‘red tourism’ is not practical since the communist party is trying to force its own story of China’s history. According to the scholar “red tourism” does not shed substantial light to the Cultural Revolution which was one of the saddest periods for many Chinese, Wang included.
Although supporters insist the exhibition is very popular, and that it has attracted over 320,000 visitors since its inception in 2006, Beja argues that there are very few people who visit the area, and that most of the visitors do not visit on their own free will but are ‘forced’ to visit by work groups or local parties. However, ‘red tourism’ is likely to attract many people on October 1 while China will be marking 60 years of a Maoist republic.