Join YPT for a week of Maoist adventure, visiting Chairman Mao’s birthplace, mausoleum and spending two full days in Nanjiecun People’s Commune where we experience the Maoist legacy and nostalgia for the original Chairman, joining a local Communist Party cadre for a discussion group about Maoism and politics in China today.
This tour is led by YPT’s China Tours Manager, fluent in Chinese and an expert on Maoist history!
This exciting tour is based around the Nanjiecun People’s Commune, a village in Henan province which ignored the tide of decollectivisation and has remained an agricultural collective since the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Our time in the commune is sandwiched between a trip to Mao’s birthplace Shaoshan, where we can see ‘red tourism’ in action and get a feel for how modern Chinese people still revere their Chairman – and a day in Beijing, where we visit Mao’s mausoleum in Tiananmen Square, the Museum of the Revolution which tells the story of Mao’s journey from Shaoshan to Beijing, and the Military Museum which concentrates on the ‘War to Resist the US and Aid Korea’, the Korean War.
This tour can be done as a single tour, or you can join us heading into North Korea on the DPRK: Political Interest Tour where we move from Maoism to Juche. This combo package also includes one night’s free accommodation in Beijing.
Meet your YPT guide at 8:30am at Beijing West Railway Station (North Square) to collect your train tickets. We’ll then head into the railway station and grab a coffee in Starbucks and go over the orientation for the trip ahead.
Take the highspeed train from Beijing West Railway Station to Chairman Mao’s hometown of Shaoshan in Hunan province departing at 10:00am and arriving at 5:00pm.
Check in to a rural hotel and dinner at Mao’s family restaurant, where, if we are lucky, we’ll get to meet the very sweet Yang mama, a community pillar and shrewd businesswoman of the town who has met Mao herself!
Night-time exploration of Shaoshan, visiting the old railway station and the Martyr park of Shaoshan.
Overnight in Shaoshan
Tuesday 28th June – Shaoshan
In the morning, we begin to explore the main parts of Shaoshan, visiting Chairman Mao’s ancestral home which is usually busy with Chinese ‘red tourists’ dressing up in Red Army uniforms paying their respects to the Chairman.
Lunch of famous Hunan noodles.
Walking tour of Shaoshan including the central Mao Zedong Square with his statue, Nan’an School where Mao started his education, the Mao Zedong Memorial Museum and the Relic Hall of Mao Zedong, filled with personal artefacts and pictures from his early years.
Local Hunanese dinner, including Mao’s favourite dish of braised pork.
OPTIONAL – Spectate the amazing performance Mao Zedong of China, which involves hundreds of dancers, singers and acrobats depicting highlights of the life of the Chairman and the history of China, from Colonialism to the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. The show takes about an hour and a half and is an incredible display of technology and directing. It has been playing every night for over 2000 times. (240 RMB per person)
Overnight in Shaoshan.
Wednesday 29th June- Shaoshan – Luohe
Head out of town to explore the Hunan countryside, we also visit the Dripping Water Cave where Mao held meetings during the Cultural Revolution.
Lunch of Changsha Rice Noodles.
Take the highspeed train to Luohe departing at 2:10pm and arriving at 5:49pm.
Night exploration of Luohe
Overnight in Luohe
Thursday 30th June – Nanjiecun
Morning transfer in our private car to Nanjiecun Collective Village (45 minutes)
Welcome and orientation from our local guide for the next two days
Our first stop is the Museum of Nanjiecun, which explains its rise from a People’s Commune in the Mao Era, through a brief experiment with decollectivisation in the early 1980s before recollectivising as it remains today. This great little museum explains the importance of collective society in Nanjiecun and the success they had in combining industrialization and agriculture to rise to fame all throughout China.
Lunch at the collective canteen
In the afternoon we check out the local school, where residents pay no tuition fees, here we can watch or take part in an English lesson
Drive out to the edge of the collective where there is a very impressive botanical gardens, but also a ‘Walk through Chinese revolutionary history’ which has models of Mao’s birthplace in Shaoshan, the site of the Zunyi conference, the Zaoyuan cave house and Baota pagoda in Yan’an and the Xibaipo reovolutionary site. This site attracts school groups from all around the province and beyond to learn about China’s communist history.
In the late afternoon, we will wander around the East is Red Square, where the statue of Chairman Mao stands under a rainbow in the middle of huge portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, one of the only places in China where we can see the open veneration of Mao’s Marxist-Leninist roots.
Trip highlight – we meet up with a local Communist Party cadre for a discussion about Nanjiecun and Maoism in history and China today, with the opportunity to ask as many questions as we can!
Post-discussion dinner and drinks at Nanjiecun’s one and only all-you-can-eat-and-drink barbeque, overnight in Nanjiecun.
Friday 1st July – Nanjiecun
Look around the Nanjiecun fields and collective agricultural works. The local guide will show us the irrigation, mechanisation and collective agricultural projects that have been promoted to the extent that Nanjiecun today is a model industrial village. Learn about how the farmer’s life in a collective is different to the family plots in other parts of China.
Visit a local person’s flat. All housing is provided for free, including furniture and all utility bills, to local residents, and complete with a portrait of Mao that hangs in the lounge. Here we can chat with the local resident about what life in the collective is like.
Walk along the specially built walkway, or ‘red corridor’, which was purposely built for students to walk from their home to the school and thus sheltering them from the rain or harsh sun and also remind them of Nanjiecun’s main objectives and it’s Marxist-Leninist-Maoist roots through a series of posters on the sides
Lunch in the collective canteen
After lunch we head to the rest home where rooms are provided free to retired residents of the collective and chat with some of the people there about their lives in Nanjiecun
Visit the local mosque, built for the roughly 10% of the residents who are Hui Muslim
Visit the noodle factory, famed throughout China and a good example of an industrial project which was given the capital and support to become a national brand, take some noodles away with you for lunch or save them for the train!
Stop by the shop where you can get your fill of Mao memorabilia and books about Nanjiecun collective
We head out to Chaoyangmen gate, decorated with revolutionary carvings, before going to an outdoor barbecue for dinner and drinks
Overnight in Nanjiecun.
Saturday 2nd July Nanjiecun – Beijing
Last morning walk around the square to listen to the revolutionary music playing throughout the village
Transfer back to Luohe for the high-speed rail to Beijing at 2:20pm.
Lunch of Nanjiecun noodles on the train!
On arrival we first check into the central Zhong Gu Hotel
Go out for dinner and drinks
Overnight in Beijing
Sunday 3rd July – Beijing
Our journey nears its end with a visit Mao’s final resting place, his mausoleum in the centre of Tiananmen Square.
Visit the Museum of Revolutionary History where we can see an overview of Mao’s life and the Chinese Revolution, as well as seeing how it is interpreted by the CCP today
Peking Duck for lunch
Catch the Beijing metro over to the Military Museum. Here we get a closer look at the Chinese point of view of the Korean War – the War to Resist America and Defend Korea. From the captured UN military equipment to Mao’s own personal sacrifices in the war, in which his son Mao Anying was killed.