Liu Shaoqi’s birthplace with its memorial hall in Huaminglou 宁乡县花明楼刘少奇故居和纪念馆

The former residence of Liu Shaoqi 刘少奇 (1898-1969) and its memorial hall is located in the small town Huaminglou 花明楼 in Ningxiang county 宁乡. Both are situated in the south western direction of Changsha 长沙 and 30 km away from Mao’s hometown Shaoshan 韶山 (Official homepage of Liu Shaoqi’s residence). Together with Mao’s birthplace and the memorial hall of the former PLA marshal Peng Dehuai 彭德怀 (1898-1974), Liu Shaoqi’s residence and its memorial hall are part of “the golden triangle”, which represents the three most important revolutionary sites in the west of Changsha. In his former residence, Liu spend his youth until 1916, before he moved to Changsha to visit High School.

According to Lowell Dittmer, Liu’s ancient home had in total 12 rooms. In the year 1958, “it was designated an important historical site and the house opened as a museum” (Dittmer 1981: 456). In 1961, when he functioned as the Vice chairman of the CCP, Liu returned to Huaminglou during the Great Leap Forward 大跃进 (1958-1961) and allowed poor peasants to live in his home.

Though the residence was looted during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) 文化大革命 because of Liu’s past as a revisionist and as a critic against Mao’s Great Leap Forward, the Red Guards spared the building. In 1980 it was restored with its cultural relicts in the course of Liu’s rehabilitation. The memorial hall, which was added in 1988, presents Liu’s vita from his birth to his death during the Cultural Revolution. The exhibitions of this hall are emphasising Liu’s “moral character, in particular his concern for and closeness to the people” (Denton 2014: 232).

Picture 1: The Liu Shaoqi Memorial Hall

In 2003 the museum area was expanded and a surrounding park was added, which includes the Huaming Tower (花明 Huaminglou), Cultivation Pavilion (修养亭 Xiuyang ting), Ten Thousand Virtues Caldron (万德鼎 Wande ding), One Leaf Lake (一叶湖 Yi ye hu), Nine Dragon Column(九龙柱 Jiu long zhu), and The Plane Liu Flew In.

It is fascinating to see that Liu’s political remembrance is nowadays practised such intensively, although he was a “Persona non grata” during the Cultural Revolution. His residence and its memorial hall can be considered as a good indicator to see, how quickly the narrative of memory in modern China can change.

List of Pictures:

Picture 1:

The Liu Shaoqi Memorial Hall

(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_Residence_of_Liu_Shaoqi#/media/File:Liu_Shaoqi’s_former_residence_4.jpg, author: huangdan2060)

Featured image:

Liu Shaoqi’s former residence,,Located in HuaMinglou Town, Ningxiang County, Changsha City, Hunan Province, beautiful , a well-known tourist resorts .

(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_Residence_of_Liu_Shaoqi#/media/File:Liu_Shaoqi’s_former_residence_2.jpg , author: huangdan2060)

Bibliography:

Denton, Kirk A. (2014): Exhibiting the Past – Historical memory and the Politics of Museum in Postsocialist China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Dittmer, Lowell (1981): “Death and Transfiguration: Liu Shaoqi´s rehabilitation and Contemporary Chinese Policy”. In: The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 40, No. 3 (May). S. 455-479.

Dittmer, Lowell (1974): Liu Shao-ch’i and the Chinese Cultural Revolution: the politics of mass criticism. Berkeley: University of California Press.


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