Nanhu Scenic Area in Jiaxing (A Historical Site of the First National Congress of the CCP)

The First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started on July 23, 1921 in a house within the territory of the French Concession in Shanghai. Due to the search of the location by French Concession police, the participants left Shanghai for Jiaxing 嘉兴 on July 30 and continued their meeting on a boat on the Nanhua 南湖 (literarily, the South Lake). Despite all the complications, the First National Congress of the CCP, with the presence of the Comintern representatives Maring and Nikolsky, produced the party program and its present policy. Ishikawa Yoshihiro therefore argues that the CCP “brought to a close one step in the formation of a party” with this party congress (263).

According to its official website, the Nanhu Scenic Area 嘉兴市南湖风景名胜区 features a Red Tour program centering upon the history of the CCP’s First National Congress. In addition to a visit to the so-called “Red Boat” and the Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution 南湖革命纪念馆, it also offers the services of Party history education in boat, as well as ceremonies for CCP members’ admission oath 入党誓词 or for the coming-of-age oath of young people at the age of 18 十八岁成人仪式 . A 1921 Theme Park 1921 主题公园 is under construction as of 2021.

The Red Boat on the Nanhu was built in 1959 in imitation of the original boat, on which the First National Congress of the CCP took place. According to Nanhu Scenic Area official site, it symbolises the start of the CCP’s century-long history. 

Picture 1. The Red Boat on the Nanhu (South Lake)

The Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution was founded in October 1959. Originally located on an island in the Nanhu, the current Memorial Hall was completed on June 30, 2011 and moved to the south bank of the lake, occupying a total area of 19,217 m². The Memorial Hall was selected into the first list of the Demonstration Bases for Patriotic Education 爱国主义教育示范基地 in 1997 and has served as an Anti-Corruption Education Base of Zhejiang Province 浙江省廉政文化教育基地 since 2006. The Memorial Hall has taken over the administration of the Research Institute of the Red Boat Spirit 红船精神研究院, which was founded in April 2018. 

The Nahu Memorial Hall of Revolution consists of three major buildings arranged into the form of the Chinese character 工, symbolizing the CCP’s role as the vanguard of the working class, while its 56 pillars stand for the 56 ethnic groups uniting around the CCP. Behind the major buildings is a large square, which can accommodate a thousand people to hold their oath-taking ceremony (see featured image). 

The permanent exhibition titled “The Red Boat Sets Sail 红船起航” contains four parts: “National Salvation 救亡图存,” “Founding a New World 开天辟地,” “Glorious Experiences 光辉历程” “Marching towards (National) Renaissance 走向复兴.” With artefacts, statues, painting, diagrams, photos, and audio-visual materials, it contextualises the foundation of the CCP in China’s encounter with colonialism and consequently the rise of nationalism; emphasises the role of the Nahu in the First National Congress of the CCP, and acclaimed the CCP’s foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its achievements.

Picture 2. A photo of the (old) Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution.

The visits to the Red Boat and to the Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution are the major parts of the Nanhu Scenic Area. The Red Tour program, therefore, can be viewed as a typical case of the current Red Tourism in the PRC, which combines the Party’s own historiography, political education, ideological rituals, with the development of tourism and local economy. 

List of Pictures

Featured Image: Zhejiang sheng wenhua he lüyou ting 浙江省文化和旅游厅 (2018): “Nanhu fengjing mingsheng qu (Zhonggong yida jiuzhi) 南湖风景名胜区(中共一大旧址)(Nanhu Scenic Area (A Historical Site of the First National Congress of the CCP)).” In: Zhejiang hongse lüyou 浙江红色旅游 (March 16).

Picture 1. Njzjz (2006): “Nanhu hongchuan 南湖红船 (The Red Boat on the South Lake).” In: Wikipedia (May 28).

Picture 2.  Nanhu geming jinianguan 南湖革命纪念馆 (time unspecified): “Nanhu geming jinianguan jianjie 南湖革命纪念馆简介 (A Brief Introduction to the Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution).” In: Official Site of the Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution. 


Ishikawa, Yoshihiro (2013): The Formation of the Chinese Communist Party, Trans. Joshua A. Fogel. New York: Columbia University Press. 

Official Site of Nanhu Scenic Area 嘉兴市南湖风景名胜区.

Official Site of the Nanhu Memorial Hall of Revolution 南湖革命纪念馆.

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
ruikunze (2021, 25. Oktober). Nanhu Scenic Area in Jiaxing (A Historical Site of the First National Congress of the CCP). Topography of Red Memories in Modern China. Abgerufen am 25. Juni 2024, von

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