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CPC’s birthplace expands as interest grows
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2021-01-12 08:29

The site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be improving its foreign-language services during an ongoing expansion to better serve an increasing number of overseas visitors.

The landmark site, where the Party was born in 1921, has some 20,000 visitors from abroad a year, the head of the memorial said yesterday.

They include foreign leaders, tourist groups and individuals seeking to learn the history of the Party or visit the century-oldshikumen (stone-gate) residence inXintiandiin Huangpu District, saiddeputy curator XuMing.

“Both the exhibits and thesite guidesare multilingual to tell better stories to overseas visitors about the CPC,”Xusaid.

Shanghai is the birthplace of the CPC, where, apart from the first National Congress in July 1921, many important movements were launched. President XiJinpingand six other members of the Politburo Standing Committee visited the site on October 31, 2017, a week after the closing of the 19th National Congress.

Since then, visitors numbers have increased every year, making it essential to expand the former 998-square-meter structure.

There were 1.4 million annual visitors in 2018 and 2019 before numbers decreased sharply in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The memorial was closed in November for the expansion project, which includes a new memorial hall as well as a majorfacelift.

The building, which will open on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in July, will include the existing site of the first National Congress, an oath-taking hall and new exhibition halls.

The new building will feature Shanghai’s uniqueshikumenstyle in accord with the architecture in the surroundingXintiandiarea,Xusaid. Capacity will be increased to be able to receive over one million visitors a year.

The structure of the new memorial has been completed, while exhibition arrangements began in October. The new memorial is due to be finished around May, when a soft opening is planned,Xusaid.

A new landmark

The exhibits will mainly focus on the original aspirations and missions of the CPC, while displaying the history and spirit of the Party,Xusaid.

The new memorial, aiming to become a city landmark, will explore the cultural, spiritual and historical roots of the CPC, as well as its ideals.

“The number of exhibits will be multiplied along with new exhibition techniques,”Xusaid. The memorial has collected over 120,000 exhibits.

A number of online exhibitions have been launched to cover more Party members and visitors across the nation, said YangYu, a deputy curator. New technologies such as 5G and virtual reality will be involved in the cloud exhibitions, she said.

Traveling exhibitions are also being held across the country during the expansion. Over 60 exhibitions were held nationwide in 2020.

The site of the First National Congress of the CPC at 374HuangpiRoad S. was renovated in 1952. The renovation work on the row of typical shikumen houses in a complex namedShudeliwas completed in early 1952. The site opened to the public in 1968. The name of the site was written by former leader Deng Xiaoping.

An initial expansion work was completed in May 1999, with newly built structures resembling the typicalshikumenhouses of the 1920s. It underwent another major refurbishment and expansion in 2016 to commemorate the Party’s 95th anniversary.