This week the Communist Party of China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its establishment by a dozen revolutionaries, meetings secretly in Shanghai with the help of Grigori Naumovich Voitinsky, a Comintern senior advisor. The ideas and ideals of the founders were far removed from today’s organisation, including the fight against Confucianism, the integration into an international struggle for a global revolution, the idea of a non-harmonious society characterised by class struggle, and the acceptance of Germans and Russians as thought leaders.
Even the renewed paradigm of the party of “Reform and Opening”, introduced by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, and the principle of collective leadership are not often mentioned anymore in today’s China.
The „Beijing Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd.“, the same organisation which was responsible for the construction of the Great Hall of the People in 1959, to celebrate in the middle of the biggest famine in history the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic in China, was given the task to build a new Museum of the history of the party. It was opened two weeks ago and is supposed to be a „holy temple, build to become the spiritual home of the members of the Communist party, who will get their communist baptism here” according to Xinhua. With more than 90 million party members, there will be no lack of visitors looking for enlightenment.
Everything about the museum is of course symbolic: The building close to the Olympic Park in Beijing is located exactly on the main meridian of the capital, the layout of the building looks like the character Gong (工), “work”, short for working class. The main features are six columns on the North and South and eight columns on the East and West facades, symbols of the lucky numbers six and eight representing good fortune and wealth, but also if added up, representing the 28 years between the foundation of the CCP and the proclamation of the PR of China in 1949.
The main part of the exhibition concentrates on the last decade and on the glorious future, all under the leadership of Xi Jinping. He is reported to have been personally involved in the planning, conception, and construction of the museum, regularly hearing reports and giving instructions. More than 50 exhibits are original letters, speeches, and other documents authored by Xi. Karl Marx is only represented by an original single notebook he used in 1845 during his stay in Brussels.
Rumors had it some years ago that China would try to have a Taikonaut sending birthday greetings from the surface of the moon. China’s space program was not fast enough for that, but at least the Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter and the Zhurong Mars rover already sent “distant blessings on the century of the party’s founding” from Mars to “the party and the motherland”, according to the China National Space Agency. The current occupants of the first module of the future Chinese space station, the Taikonauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo, will certainly add their good wishes to the celebrations. Not many other Chinese “outbound travellers” will be able to join them, unfortunately.
As always, best wishes from Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the entire COTRI WEEKLY team.