China's Last Communist Village Is As Much Awesome As It Is Strange

China’s Last Communist Village Is As Much Awesome As It Is Strange

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Change is inevitable. The whole world transitioned from stone age to the modern world. History has unlimited stories of dynasties that were ruling the world. Except in few places, the whole world had embraced the changes.

The story is same with China. Around 1989, when Tiananmen Square happened, a lot of China was moving towards some form of capitalism and privatization. Over the last 30 years, most of China has increasingly embraced Western capitalism. But one town of 3,000 has firmly held onto the maoist model of China’s past. That is Nanjie.

Nanjie was once a successful egalitarian communityHeading   chinas-last-communist-village-0

At first, the government funnelled money into the town to ensure it maintained the facade of a successful egalitarian model. But as the rest of the country absorbed more capitalist practices, Nanjie’s place shifted from being a symbol of success, to a time capsule and focal point of Maostalgia.

It’s this strange bubble within central China that feels like it’s in opposition to the rest of the country   chinas-last-communist-village-1

Most of China is fairly loud and busy with advertising and neon signs everywhere. But when you walk into Nanjie, the streets are really wide, there are less cars, and as you walk into town everything just gets quieter.

Around 1989, when Tiananmen Square happened, a lot of China was moving towards some form of capitalism and privatization   chinas-last-communist-village-2

At the time Nanjie was fairly successful economically, and a lot of the Chinese old guard—politicians and some military generals who didn’t like the changes saw Nanjie as an example of a functional commune.

The town was already fairly left-leaning and into Maoism, so a lot of politicians started throwing money at it. In response, Nanjie began to move even more to the left as the rest of China slowly became more Westernized.

The town was already fairly left-leaning and into Maoism, so a lot of politicians started throwing money at it   chinas-last-communist-village-3

In response, Nanjie began to move even more to the left as the rest of China slowly became more Westernized. A quick look into the Nanjie story and it looks like a really successful egalitarian town. But look even slightly closer and you’ll notice the success they had was equal to how many loans they received.

The loans allowed them to build all these monuments.   chinas-last-communist-village-4

The town’s leaders used millions of dollars from loans to try and build a perpetual motion machine. And those monuments are now starting to age, you can see in the photos, a lot of it looks really strange now.

But Chinese nationals go there to understand what communist life would have been like.   chinas-last-communist-village-5

Apparently, it does feel similar to how things used to be. People in China are seeking out this idealized concept of Maoist China, there’s a lot of that in Nanjie. They have these communist theme songs playing over the loudspeakers throughout the day. It’s actually kind of sweet. In a lot of ways, it’s a pretty pleasant and charming town to be in.

Well, in many ways the town is a bit of a lie.   chinas-last-communist-village-6

Chinese academics call it egalitarian, but that’s kind of ignoring the fact that the majority of the workforce are migrant workers. They have to follow the town’s strict laws without any of the benefits. They don’t have their house, education, and food provided for them like the locals do.

How are they paying back the massive loans?   chinas-last-communist-village-7

The loans were never expected to be paid back. That was how the town was able to exist. I think in 2000 they had 23 companies, mostly factories, and three of them were profitable.

All things considered, it sounds like a sad place to live.   chinas-last-communist-village-8

Now it is a big tourist attraction, much like Dubai. Though the town has it’s own problems, it gives an amazing feeling to see the town still holding on to old ways and lifystyle.



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