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7 Days, 6 Nights

 

Beijing-Shaoshan-Nanjiecun-Beijing

 

The China Political Tour has been designed specifically for students and those with an interest in China’s modern history and current politics.

 

We’ll be seeing the city of Shaoshan, Hunan province, most famous for being the birthplace of Chairman Mao, including a trip out to his village and the house where he was born.

 

The centrepiece of the tour though is based around Nanjiecun People’s Commune, one of the few remaining parts of China that failed to decollectivise in the 1980s and remains in operation on communal lines. If Maoist ideology, political projects and China today are your thing, then this is a must-see place.

 

We’ll also take a visit to Mao Zedong’s last resting place in Tian’anmen Square, the Museum of the Revolution which shows the Chinese Communist Party’s own take on its modern history, and the military museum where we can get up close to China’s part in the Korean War.

Monday 11th June - Beijing-Shaoshan

AM

  • Meet up with the group at 10am in front of Beijing West Railway Station, before the 7 hour high speed rail journey to Shaoshan. If you haven’t experienced China’s modern infrastructure then China’s railway network is second to none in scope and one of the transformative changes of the last decade

PM

  • On arrival in Shaoshan we will check into our hotel before getting our first taste of the famous Hunanese food
  • Overnight in Shaoshan

Tuesday 12th June - Shaoshan

AM

  • After breakfast we head straight to Chairman Mao’s hometown and the house where he was born, getting our first taste of ‘red tourism’ - or the popular fad of visiting Chinese revolutionary places amongst Chinese tourists
  • Grab a lunch of Hunan noodles

PM

  • Tour of Shaoshan including the central Mao Zedong square and statue, the Nan'an School where Mao started his school life, the Mao Zedong Memorial Museum and the Relic Hall of Chairman Mao
  • Dinner and overnight in Shaoshan

Wednesday 13th June - Shaoshan/Nanjiecun

AM

  • Explore the Hunanese countryside including a trip to the Dripping Water Cave, where Mao held meetings during the Cultural Revolution when he was unable to be in Beijing
  • Quick lunch of rice noodles

PM

  • Board the 3.5 hour high speed rail to Luohe where we will transfer directly to Nanjiecun People’s Commune
  • The last bastion of Maoism in China, home of collective farming and communal life, rural industry and study sessions of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, we’ll be welcomed into Nanjiecun with a dinner
  • Overnight in Nanjiecun commune

Thursday 14th June - Nanjiecun

AM

  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT – visit the local school, where tuition is free and politics is much more seriously on the agenda compared to other parts of China. We can talk with the students and even give an English class!
  • Head to the famed Nanjiecun instant noodle factory, famous throughout China and a good example of the idea of rural industry in action. Don’t forget your free sample!
  • Lunch in Nanjiecun

PM

  • Visit the brickworks where we get a chance to talk with the workers about their lives and work there, and then the housing department where we will see the plans for the full-scale state-provided housing in the area, which is devoid of homeless people
  • In the late afternoon we will head to the Culture Square, here we can see portraits of not only Mao but Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin too, one of the last remaining places in China where Mao’s ideological roots are on show
  • After dinner we will meet a Communist Party of China cadre who will give us a talk about Nanjiecun People’s Commune and Maoism in China today and throughout history. The talk will be translated into English and questions will of course be welcome
  • Overnight in Nanjiecun

Friday 15th June - Nanjiecun

AM

  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT - We head out into the collective fields of Nanjiecun and see the irrigation, , mechanisation and collective projects. Learn about how life on a collective farm is different from the family-plots in other parts of China
  • Picnic lunch in the fields

PM

  • For the afternoon we’ll stay in the fields with the local farmers and work with them on their tasks. We may very well need sunscreen and mosquito repellent but getting our hands dirty is the best way to understand people’s lives here!
  • Final drinks with our newfound friends and overnight in Nanjiecun

Saturday 16th June - Nanjiecun/Beijing

AM

  • Early start for a transfer back to Luohe, and then the 3.5 hour high speed rail to Beijing

PM

  • After checking into our hotel we will head straight to the Beijing Military Museum. Here we can see in great detail the Chinese point of view on the war to ‘Resist America and Aid Korea’, including a lot of captured UN/US weaponry
  • Dinner of Peking Duck and overnight in Beijing

Sunday 17th June - Beijing

AM

  • Up early to head to the centre of Chinese state power - Tian’anmen Square. We’ll join the queues of Chinese tourists to sidle past Chairman Mao himself, lying in state, even if he had requested his ashes to be spread into the Yangtse River. Afterwards we’ll go to the excellent Museum of the Revolution where we can not only see Chinese history on display, but the very ideology of today’s government in play - the ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese people’ which is taking form in Xi Jinping Thought
  • Final lunch in Beijing where we end the tour, although discussions tend to go on for the rest of the day in a cafe or bar
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