Reopening of Mao Zedong’s former residence draws large crowds

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The reopening of Mao Zedong’s former residence in Shanghai has drawn large crowds wishing to catch a glimpse of the Chairman’s life.

Mao’s old residence in Shanghai’s Jing’an District went through a two-year renovation to return the building to its original style. It opened Tuesday to about 500 visitors.

The place has been transformed into a museum, with many exhibits on show for the first time, presenting Mao’s work and daily life.

In 1924, Mao came to Shanghai for the 10th time, and lived in the area, where he spent a long time on revolutionary work.

The house, built in 1915, was made of bricks and wood. Mao’s family lived on the first floor at that time.

Gao Zilin, 20, is a Shanghai office worker who has applied to join the Communist Party of China. She came to the museum in the rain.

“After hearing about the reopening, I came immediately,” she said. “The digital displays in the gallery are really interesting, because they help me understand Mao’s life and work in a more direct way.”

“It’s a great Party class,” she said.

Zhu Run, in charge of cultural relics, said that the main building has almost 100 years of history, but has a limited capacity for visitors.

“We plan to integrate ‘red tourism’ resources in Jing’an District and the Party stories more efficiently,” Zhu said.

Red tours — visits to the sites of early communist activities — are popular in China and are receiving huge amounts of government money. In 2016, a total of 1.6 billion yuan (240 million U.S. dollars) was spent to support on red tourism, according to the Ministry of Finance.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission has encouraged preservation of revolutionary sites and released a list of red tourism sites in 2015.

The number of red tourists is expected to exceed 1.5 billion by 2020, according to the National Tourism Administration.

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