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Ruijin's Red Legacy
By Angela Judith Pruszenski ( CRIENGLISH.com )
At some point, most people are inclined to explore their roots. A barren room outfitted with a desk and telephone illuminated by sunlight streaming through a glassless window was the information center of China's first news station, the predecessor of today's sprawling network of Chinese media organizations including China Radio International, Xinhua, and China Central Television.
That room is part of a complex of plain-looking buildings in the remote town of Ruijin in Jiangxi Province that formed new China's first government center.
In 1931, Mao Zedong established the Chinese Soviet Republic Ruijin, Jiangxi Province. From 1931 to the beginning of the historic Long March in 1934, this cluster of simple buildings surrounded by ponds, grassy fields, and ancient trees was the center of official government activity.
Next to a lotus garden is a well that Mao Zedong dug to serve the government complex. Today, tourists line up for a taste of the water that Mao brought to his comrades.
A 54-year-old tourist surnamed Nian remembers that one of her first school lessons was about the historic well, but laments that younger generations are not as knowledgeable about the struggles of the revolution.
"I think it's necessary to bring young people here and tell them how the Communist party led people to liberate China. Otherwise, they won't know how the new China was established or how the revolutionary martyrs sacrificed for the new China," she said. "They don't know how hard it was to build the new China and they should cherish our new life."
On a sunny summer day, the site was busy with visitors, mostly middle-aged tourists looking to the roots of their patriotism, but many brought their younger children and grandchildren for an up-close experience with China's history.
Most of the government complex has been reconstructed. After Communists retreated north on the Long March, Kuomintang supporters burned the remnants of Communist rule to the ground. In the 1950s, the government rebuilt the historical site according to its original image. The large, airy rooms accommodated with simple, and sometimes crude, equipment indicates that nothing about its original image has been exaggerated.
Now, the government is working to ensure that the original government site is never lost again. A tour guide surnamed Hu outlined some of the steps taken to protect the complex.