Founded in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) will celebrate its centenary in three years time. The anniversary has ignited a boom in so-called ‘red tourism’, i.e. trips to places linked with the CPC’s history. No place has fared better than Yan’an, the remote city in Shaanxi where Mao’s Red Army finished its Long March in 1935. Yan’an then became Mao’s seat of power for his government-in-waiting.
Party officials across the country have been sending tour groups to Yan’an to take photos, shout slogans and meet in study groups to revisit the CPC’s humble beginnings.
Top business folk have deemed it worthwhile to pay visits to Yan’an as well. Earlier this month Pony Ma, Tencent’s boss, and Richard Liu, founder of JD.com, were spotted touring the revolutionary base together.
Photos doing the rounds on social media even showed the internet tycoons dressed up in Red Army uniforms. The images sparked heated debate online. “The Red Army set out to seize the land from tuhao [nouveau riche] but now the tuhao has joined the Red Army. I didn’t know that they now are in league together,” one internet user complained.
Comments like this one, together with the photos of the two tycoons, were soon deleted by state censors.