Setting up Red Tourism in Modern China – The Project

Since 2005 sites of red tourism (红色旅游) have been supported and developed by the government of the People’s Republic of China, intending to become a key element of the booming tourism industry while serving as sources of political identity, aiming at preserving a communist sense of identity in a “rapidly changing China” (Li Yiping et al. 2010).

Despite the strong attention paid to these places by the central government and the Communist Party the development of these places did not follow a fixed plan but was constantly updated and adjusted to national and local circumstances.

The “General Plan for the Development of Red Tourism in 2004-2010” (2004-2010年全国红色旅游发展规划纲要) that was issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council aimed for establishing 100 so-called red tourism classic scenic spots (红色旅游经典景区) of which more than 80% were supposed to reach the national tourism scenic spot level 3A or above, and 40% of them the 4A standard. The first list of 100 scenic spots was published in the People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) on the 24th and 25th March 2005 (全国红色旅游经典景区) (List here, see also Link 1, Link 2, Link 3), yet the prospects of receiving financial support for developing tourism sites even in the remote parts of the country led to a local frenzy of identifying places that were not included in this list.

What is important to note is that not all of these spaces are created or run exclusively by state authorities. There are a number of private museums and exhibitions that are–though officially recognized–try to deviate from the official pattern of representing the past. Being more creative in arranging exhibitions they try to avoid the didactic dullness of state-run museums that see their propagandistic function to be more relevant than catering for the needs and interests of visitors.

The sites detailed in this topography of red memory can be subcategorized as follows:

  1. Sites dedicated to places of historical events that are central to the understanding of 19th and 20th century China
  2. Museums that re-narrate the historical past
  3. Sites where famous historical personae were born and/or were active, as well as their tombs and sites of commemoration (in case of martyrs these are either physical or digital sites.

 

Research for this site has been supported by a grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG, 404534127), as part of our project Producing and Consuming Authenticity — Politics of the Past in the Cultural and Creative Industries in the Sinophone Sphere.

 

Selective Bibliography

Cai Ping 蔡萍 and Xiao Yinfen 肖银芬 (2011) ‘Hongse ziyuan zhuanhua wei jiaoyu ziyuan de yishu lujing tansuo—yi hongse yishu jiaoyu pinpai yinyue wudao shishi Jinggangshan weili 红色资源转化为教育资源的艺术路径探索——以红色艺术教育品牌音乐舞蹈史诗《井冈山》为例 (Explorations in how the arts of Red Resources are transformed into Educational Resources—Taking the Red Art Education Brand Music and Dance Epic “Jinggangshan” as Example)’, Jinggangshan daxue xuebao, no. 6, pp. 22-26.

Chio, J. (2014) A Landscape of Travel. A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China, Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Denton, K. (2014) Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.

Denton, K. (2019) ‘Can Private Museums Offer Space for Alternative History? The Red Era Series at the Jianchuan Museum Cluster’, in S. Veg (ed.), Popular Memories of the Mao Era—From Critical Debate to Reassessing History, Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, pp. 80-114.

Fang, S. 方世敏 and Chen, P. 陈攀 (2007) ‘Hongse lüyou jingqu tiyanxing kaifa yanjiu—yi Shaanxi “Yan’an baoweizhan” lüyou jingqu weili红色旅游景区体验型开发研究——以陕西“延安保卫战”旅游景区为例 (Research on the Development of Experiential Red Tourist Scenic Spots——Taking Shaanxi “The Battle Defending Yan’an” Tourist Scenic Spot as an example)Qiusuo, no. 10, pp. 23-25.

Fu, M. 付美蓉 (2005) ‘Tiyan jingji beijing xia hongse lüyou fazhan moshi tantao 体验经济背景下红色旅游发展模式探讨 (Discussing the Model of Developing Red Tourism against the Background of Experience-based Economy)’, Jiangxi shehui kexue, no. 9, pp. 147-151.

Han, Y. 韩元军 (2017) Dazhong lüyou shidai de hongse lüyou fazhanlun 大众旅游时代的红色旅游发展论 (Discussing the Development of Red Tourism in the Age of Mass Tourism), Tianjin, Nankai daxue chubanshe.

Ho, D. and Li, J. (2016), ‘From Landlord Manor to Red Memorabilia: Reincarnation of a Chinese Museum Town’, Modern China, 42, no. 1, pp. 3-37.

Li, Y. 李颖 (2017) ‘“Tiyan lüyou” linian xia de hongse lüyou xianlu sheji—yi Yan’an Nanniwan weili “体验旅游”理念下的红色旅游线路设计——以延安南泥湾为例 (Design of Red Tour Route under the Idea of “Experience Tourism”: Case Study of Nanniwan in Yan’an), Jiazhi gongcheng, vol. 36, no. 32, pp. 207-208.

Li, Y., Hu, Z., and Zhang, C. (2010) ‘Red tourism: sustaining communist identity in a rapidly changing China’, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, vol. 8, no. 1&2, pp. 101-119.

Liu, J. 刘建平 and Yu, T. 余婷 (2015) ‘Zhongguo chule ge Mao Zedong shijing yanchu—Shaoshan xin mingpian中国出了个毛泽东实景演出—韶山新名片 (The Live Performance of ‘In China appeared a Mao Zedong’—a new business card of Shaoshan), Lüyou conglan, no. 2, pp. 97, 100.

Liu, H. 刘弘 (2018) Hongse lüyou zhi changzheng lu 红色旅游之长征路 (The Long March of Red Tourism), Shanghai, Shanghai shehui kexueyuan chubanshe.

Liu, Q. 刘起林 (2015) Hongse jiyi de shenmei liubian yu xushi jingjie 红色记忆的审美流变与叙事境界 (Narrative Space and Aesthetic Evolution of Red Memories), Beijing, Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe.

Lu, T. (2014) Museums in China—Power, politics and identity, London and New York, Routledge.

Mittler, B. (2012) A Continuous Revolution. Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Quanguo hongse lüyou gongzuo xietiao xiaozu bangongshi 全国红色旅游工作协调小组办公室 (ed.) (2007) Zhongguo hongse lüyou fazhan baogao 2006中国红色旅游发展报告2006 (2006 Report on the Development of Red Tourism in China), Beijing, Zhongguo lüyou chubanshe.

Quanguo hongse lüyou gongzuo xietiao xiaozu bangongshi 全国红色旅游工作协调小组办公室 (ed.) (2009) Zhongguo hongse lüyou fazhan baogao 2008中国红色旅游发展报告2008 (2008 Report on the Development of Red Tourism in China), Beijing, Zhongguo lüyou chubanshe.

Quanguo hongse lüyou gongzuo xietiao xiaozu bangongshi 全国红色旅游工作协调小组办公室 (ed.) (2011) Zhongguo hongse lüyou fazhan baogao 2009中国红色旅游发展报告2009 (2009 Report on the Development of Red Tourism in China), Beijing, Zhongguo lüyou chubanshe.

Rioux, Y. L. (2008) Marketing the revolution: Tourism, landscape and ideology in China (Doctoral dissertation, UMI no. 3303808). Available via ProQuest Dissertation & Theses database.

Veg, S. (ed.) (2019) Popular Memories of the Mao Era. From Critical Debate to Reassessing History, Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press.

Wu, B. 吴必虎 and Yu, Q. 余青 (ed.) (2013) Hongse lüyou yu wenhua 红色旅游与文化 (Red Tourism and Culture), Beijing, Zhongguo jianzhu gongye chubanshe

Yan, L. 晏兰萍 and Liu, J. 刘锦云 (2006) ‘Hongse lüyou fazhan moshi tantao红色旅游发展模式探讨 (Discussing the Development Model of Red Tourism)’, Pingxiang gaodeng zhuanke xuexiao xuebao, no. 5, pp. 26-28.

Yan’an geming jinianguan 延安革命纪念馆 (1959) Yan’an geming jinian jianzhu 延安革命纪念建筑 (Buildings commemorating the Revolution in Yan’an), Beijing, Wenwu chubanshe.

Zhao, S. and Timothy, D. (2017) ‘Tourists’ consumption and perceptions of red heritage’, Annals of Tourism Research, no. 63, pp. 97-111.

Zhu, W. 朱雄伟 (2008) ‘Jiqing ranshao de hongse shengyan—daxing shijing yanchu Jinggangshan zhenhan shangyan 激情燃烧的红色盛宴—大型实景演出井冈山震撼上演 (The Red Feast of Burning Passion—the Large-scale Live Performance Jinggangshan was staged impressively)’, Dangdai Jiangxi, pp. 30-31.

 

 


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