It's the 90th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party, and Chinese restaurants, politicians and tourist companies are cashing inby Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore / July 1, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Chinese Communist Party is aiming to consolidate its rule by lionising Mao’s legacy. Photo: Damien Farrell
Down a dusty road in a remote far eastern suburb of Beijing a revolutionary-themed restaurant is busy preparing for the party of the year. Friday, 1st July, marks the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 90th anniversary and The East is Red is expecting diners to run into the hundreds.
They will come ravenous not just for the hearty cuisine but also for a heavy dose of communist nostalgia. A twice-daily show—ramped up for the anniversary —includes revolution-era songs, dance and drama, cherry picked from the chaotic days of the 1966-76 cultural revolution.
I visit on a Tuesday evening, and despite the mid-week timing and isolated location the restaurant is around half full. The imposing doorway to the cavernous building is a colossal red star—inside are stirring statues of revolutionary heroes, murals of workers clutching Mao’s Little Red Book and an army of performers dressed in Red Guard uniforms.