Tourism fu­eled by 1930s‘ sites and relics from rev­o­lu­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS VIEWS - By ZHANG ZHAO zhangzhao@chi­

The home­town of 43 gen­er­als since the New China was founded, Xinx­ian county in Henan prov­ince is turn­ing its his­tory of rev­o­lu­tion into tourism re­sources.

Dur­ing the late 1920s and 1930s, the county was the sec­ond- largest com­mu­nist base in China where three ma­jor branches of the Red Army grew.

It is also where the Red Army be­gan an air force by cap­tur­ing its first plane.

Many of the red relic sites are well pre­served to­day, in­clud­ing of­fices, com­mand posts and the res­i­dences of for­mer army lead­ers.

The for­mer Party com­mit­tee and the Soviet gov­ern­ment for Henan, Hubei and An­hui prov­inces was lo­cated in com­pounds in the county that be­fore be­longed to lo­cal land­lords.

The build­ings pre­serve a typ­i­cal ar­chi­tec­tural style of the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911).

The ceme­tery park for Gen­eral Xu Shiyou ( 1905- 1985) was opened to the pub­lic just re­cently. It is built around his for­mer res­i­dence on the moun­tain­side in Hepu vil­lage.

The res­i­dence was re­stored to keep its orig­i­nal style and struc­ture, with very hum­ble fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tions.

Some of the fur­ni­ture was used by Xu and his fam­ily some 80 years ago, but some comes from neigh­bor­ing homes to show the lo­cal life­style at that time.

A hole in the wall of the kitchen leads to a path up the moun­tain, which Xu once used to es­cape from an enemy roundup in his early rev­o­lu­tion­ary ca­reer. It has been kept there ever since.

Sid­ian town­ship, the home­town of Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Zheng Weis­han (1915-2000), is another tourist desti­na­tion with a num­ber of red sites in­clud­ing Jiangjun­shi, a gi­ant rock where Zheng’s re­mains are buried, and a pool where lo­cal peo­ple hid weapons for the Red Army.

There is also the me­mo­rial mu­seum com­pleted in April 2010 to com­mem­o­rate the Fourth Red Army, which was de­vel­oped from just a few score guer­ril­las into a reg­u­lar troop of 80,000 sol­diers.

Hu Mian, head of the Sid­ian town­ship gov­ern­ment, told China Daily that they are build­ing Sid­ian into a “small town with dis­tinct south­ern Henan fla­vor” and red-themed tourism is lead­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal ser­vice in­dus­try.

He said the town­ship has more than 40 farm­house restau­rants, seven of them with an­nual rev­enues of 400,000 yuan ($65,880). The sec­tor has pro­vided more than 2,000 jobs to lo­cals and gen­er­ates ex­tra yearly in­come in ex­cess of 2,000 yuan for each house­hold on av­er­age.

The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is like “a ro­bust fac­tory with­out smoke”, said Hu as it con­trib­utes 40 per­cent of lo­cal taxes.

The county gov­ern­ment is plan­ning a pi­lot tourism route from the county center to the Jiangjun­shi scenic area, with some 20 km of the route in Sid­ian.

This year the town­ship ini­ti­ated a pro­gram to grow more than 100 hectares of rape along the route so that ev­ery May more tourists will be at­tracted by the vast field of small, yel­low flow­ers.

They will also in­te­grate re­sources and fund up­grades in in­fra­struc­ture at a num­ber of tourist at­trac­tions along the route in­clud­ing dams, bridges, pools and roads con­nect­ing each vil­lage. The project will start at the be­gin­ning of next year.

In­vest­ment from around the world is wel­comed, Hu said.

Be­side im­prove­ments to rev­o­lu­tion relic sites, Hu said the lo­cal gov­ern­ment will col­lect sto­ries from the 10 gen­er­als who were born in the town­ship, hop­ing the sagas will also at­tract tourists.

Tra­di­tional lo­cal cul­ture and cus­toms, which com­bines fea­tures of Henan and Hubei prov­inces, will also be an at­trac­tion.

Some farm­houses around the Jiangjun­shi area will be open to tourists, al­low­ing them to ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional Chi­nese farm­ing cul­ture.

“Coaches will in­struct them how to turn a mill­stone, grow veg­eta­bles or weave cloth,” Hu said. “There, tourists will bet­ter un­der­stand the real coun­try­side life.”

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