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The traditional and the contemporary in Jingggangshan
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Mao Zedong's former residence in Jinggangshan. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Mao Zedong's former residence in Jinggangshan. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com] 

Before I came to Jinggangshan Mountain, I only knew that it was the cradle of China's revolution which changed the country's destiny and led the people upto a road of development.

But after arriving here, I found the place was different from what I had imagined.

Roaming around Ciping, a small town at the foot of Jinggangshan Mountain where Mao Zedong established China's first revolutionary base in 1927, I could hardly find any remnants pertaining to that historical period except the old house that Mao lived in and some monuments dedicated to the revolution.

Mao's former home is a khaki-colored ranch house with several rooms built in a medium-sized yard. Special construction techniques and building materials made the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. Mao's main room had simple furniture and once served as both his bedroom and office. Outside the house was a small pool. Vines bearing burgeoning pumpkins wound around a trellis. Not far away was a poultry fold.

Thousands of visitors from different regions of the country come here every day to learn more about the early days of Mao Zedong, the founder New China who is still worshiped by many nationals.

On a hillside north of the city stands a cemetery commemorating the martyrs who died during the fighting at Jinggangshan Mountain. Their names have been inscribed on steles put up on the wall of a commemorative rotunda. There, you can feel nothing but sheer respect for them.

But when you leave Mao's house and the revolutionary sites, the city appears to be another world. Stylish youngsters, luxurious hotels, roaring tour buses, a tranquil lake and beautiful parks with romantic atmospheres are all around. It is interesting to see the merger of the traditional and the modern.

A commercial complex built in the center of the township offers people conveniences for either shopping or relaxing. Merchants selling portraits of Mao make lots of sales. You can usually see people wearing contemporary fashions crowding around counters to select Mao-related souvenirs.

My favorite keepsake was a plastic sculpture of a flicking red flag with the golden emblem of the Communist Party of China (CPC) engraved on it. On the triangular, bronze base was an inscription by the late Chinese marshal Zhu De: "Tian Xia Di Yi Shan", which means "The No. 1 Mountain in the World." But because it cost about 1,380 yuan ($200), it was too expensive for me to afford. It was really a pity!

(CRI August 26, 2009)

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