The Xibaipo Red Tourism Scenic Area at Shijiazhuang City Pingshan County
During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), the headquarter of the CCP Central Committee often changed its venue due to air raids or other acts of warfare. In 1947, the CCP was able to gain more and more control over huge parts of northern China (Vogelsang 2013: 535). The success in military advance can be considered one reason why the Central Committee moved from its long-time haven at Yan’an 延安 to Xibaipo 西柏坡 located in Hebei Province 河北省.
The site at Xibaipo not only represents the former venue of the Central Committee, it also includes the PLA headquarter and the residences of Mao Zedong 毛泽东 (1893-1976), PLA marshal Zhu De 朱德 (1886-1976), the later president of the PRC Liu Shaoqi 刘少奇 (1898-1969), and other party leaders (Red Tourism Coalition Web).
In addition, the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee 中国共产党的七届二中全会 and the National Land Conference 全国土地会议 took place in Xibaipo (Guangming Ribao 光明日报 1952). The two meetings had an important impact on the future political agenda of the People´s Republic since the National Land Conference already determined the implementation of land reforms (People’s Daily 人民日报 2007), which were carried on during the 1950s (DeMare 2019).
According to the Website Red Tourism Coalition Web, the site mainly consists of three parts. The first one represents the Xibaipo Display Hall 陈列馆. The hall was inaugurated in 1978 and contains 12 exhibition rooms, which are portraying the history of Xibaipo during the Civil War with the aid of authentic objects, sculptures, and photos. The second part is the “Garden of Carved Stones 石刻园“, which was opened to the public in 1997. It not only contains pavilions and trees, but also an area dedicated to Mao’s poetry. The “Mao Zedong’s Poetry Calligraphy Garden 毛泽东诗词书法园”, shows 20 of Mao’s calligraphic quotations that are carved in stone.
The last part of the museum compound is the Xibaipo Memorial Stele 西柏坡纪念碑. It was inaugurated on the occasion of Mao’s 100th birthday in 1993. The height of the stele is 18,93 meters, which hints at Chairman Mao’s year of birth.
In addition to these three parts, the former residences of several party leaders can be visited. As stated in an article, which was published in 1993, the former residences are portraying authentic exhibits, which were in use during the late 1940s. In the residence of CCP founding member Dong Biwu 董必武 (1886-1975) for instance, an old spinning wheel and a kang (a brick bed that can be heated during winter) are exhibited (N.N. 1993: 15).
The memorial at Xibaipo differs from other sites, which are recalling to former venues of the CCP Central Committee due to the huge garden compounds and the high number of sculptures and stones. At Yangjialing 杨家泠, for instance, where the Central Committee had its headquarter from 1938 to 1943, no green areas or sculpture parks can be found. Instead, the simple and hard life of Mao and his followers during the years at Yan’an is emphasized by showing their former homes in the caves.
DeMare, Brian (2019): Land Wars. The Story of China’s Agrarian Revolution. Stanford, California : Stanford University Press.
N.N. (04.05.1993): “Yang Shangkun Visits Xibaipo Revolutionary Base”. In: Daily Report. China. Pp. 14-15.
N.N. (08.06.1952): “Women fangwen le Mao Zhuxi zhu guo de Xibaipo cun 我们访问了毛主席住过的西柏坡村 (We visited Xibaipo Village where Chairman Mao lived)”. In: Guangming Ribao 光明日报.
N.N. (27.09.2007): “1947 nian quanguo tudi huiyi 1947 年全国土地会议 (The National Land Conference of 1947)“. In: People’s Daily 人民日报.
Saich, Tony (1996): The rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. Armonk: An East Gate Book.
Website Red Tourism Coalition Web 红色旅游联盟网: http://www.8-9sun.com/spots/show_134.html