Paper records of CPC history on display in Beijing

Updated: 2016-07-05 08:26

By Wang Kaihao(China Daily)

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While dozens of files, books and pamphlets now quietly lie on display at the National Museum of Classic Books in Beijing, they tell rousing tales of a revolution.

Red Memories, the exhibition showing 340 copies of handwritten or printed records reflecting the history of the Communist Party of China, opened last week and will run through October.

The museum is affiliated with the National Library of China.

The display is among key events being held at museums across the country to celebrate 95 years of the founding of the CPC, as well as the 80th anniversary of the success of the Long March.

According to exhibition curator Lei Qiang, seven sections are designed with individual themes, ranging from earliest Communist publishing in China to Party constitutions throughout history.

"We don't aim to cover everything in one exhibition," Lei explains. "But the exhibits give visitors a clear view of the Party's development. Many are being displayed for the first time."

Indeed, it feels like a microcosm of China's revolutionary history in the past century.

For example, a 1915 issue of New Youth, an influential magazine founded by eminent socialist Chen Duxiu that gave publicity to Communism in China, is exhibited. The newspapers, cartoon collections and posters also mark important events at the time.

Another exhibit is a collection of 1942 memoirs of Red Army veterans on the Long March that remain indispensable references to study China's modern history and are hard to come by in their original condition these days, the curator says.

There are some early editions of important books at the ongoing exhibition, such as the rarely seen first edition of Selected Works of Mao Zedong of 1944 together with many more editions of the '40s from the mainland and three volumes from Hong Kong, as well as a copy of Red Star Over China by Edgar Snow from 1938.

"In order to hide from Kuomintang investigations at the time, some books had camouflaged covers," Lei says. "Those promoting Communism often pretended to be history books."

An exhibited Party constitution has the title "National beauty and celestial fragrance" on its cover.

Receipts, travel permits and coupons of Communist-governed areas in the 1930s, also show the many hues of life back then.

Other than relics of the Chinese revolution, there are items that show the history of world Communism - such as a letter from Karl Marx to his daughter Jenny in 1870.

According to Wu Mi, a researcher at the National Library of China, the institution now houses more than 12,000 items on the Party's history but some early documents are missing. The library has been seeking donations from private collections.

This year will see more than 60 major exhibitions at national and provincial museums to honor the two milestones in Party history, according to Li Yaoshen, editor-in-chief of China Cultural Relics News, which is run by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

"Museums now generally narrow the theme and use their unique resources to create interest for visitors by using more diverse methods," says Li.

 Paper records of CPC history on display in Beijing

The exhibition Red Memories reveals the history of the Communist Party of China through rare books and printed publications. Wang Kaihao / China Daily

(China Daily 07/05/2016 page20)