"What on earth is the Jinggangshan spirit? Why is the Zunyi Conference so important as a turning point in the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC)? Why is the CPC still so attractive to many young people today?" Eager to know the answers to these questions, reporters from home and overseas media outlets embarked on a five-day journey to China's old revolutionary base areas in Jiangxi and Guizhou provinces to learn more about the Party's history.
To mark the centenary of the founding of the CPC this year, the State Council Information Office organized the trip for 39 reporters from 25 overseas media outlets and reporters from five Chinese news organizations. They set out on April 8 from Jinggangshan city in southeast China's Jiangxi province to explore the glorious 100-year journey of the Party.
The cradle of the Chinese revolution
Reporters from Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Die Press, and Polish Public Radio interview two visitors from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region at the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Museum, April 8, 2021 (SCIO WEBSITE)
As the cradle of the Chinese revolution and the place where the inaugural rural revolutionary base, the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Base Area, was established, Jinggangshan city made for the perfect starting point to trace back the Party's struggle through history.
In the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Museum, the reporters got a clearer picture of the CPC's struggle history in the area through cultural relics, historical replicas, pictures, and audio-video exhibits. The museum tracks the exploration of China's revolutionary path, the guerrilla strategies used at the time, and captures how locals supported the Red Army.
Besides browsing the museum displays, the reporters were also keen to obtain the perspectives of other visitors on site. After discovering that two female visitors in their sixties had driven all the way from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to Jinggangshan just to appreciate the area's significance to the Party's history, Matthias Muller from the Neue Zurcher Zeitung and Fabian from Die Press seemed to have found their points of interest.
Having retired, the two friends said that they decided to retrace the Party's struggle through history and to better understand how the CPC had made its great achievements in improving the lives of the Chinese people.
"From the founding of the People's Republic of China to reform and opening-up; living hand-to-mouth through to poverty alleviation and the creation of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we have truly led a better life thanks to the leadership of the CPC. Therefore, visiting these revolutionary sites has long been an aspiration of ours," said the two ladies, adding that they had also stopped at other revolutionary CPC sites along their journey such as Huining county in Gansu province, where the three major forces of the Red Army joined after the Long March.
"To speak with the two ladies was a great opportunity for me to understand the incentives of ordinary Chinese to visit Jinggangshan," said Muller, adding that it allowed him to learn more about the relationship between the Chinese people and the Party.
A countryside with a higher income and a greener environment
Reporters film strawberries being packaged at a strawberry packing plant in Nashan town, Jinggangshan city, on April 10 (COURTESY PHOTO)
While old revolutionary sites provide a means to look back to the past, rural areas offer a glimpse into the new life and fresh outlook of residents who have benefitted from the ongoing poverty elimination and rural vitalization campaigns.
In Mayuan village, outside of Jinggangshan city's Maoping town, the reporters rambled along the clean and smooth tarmac footpaths, enjoying the bright-yellow rape flowers blooming at the roadside as well as a crystal-clear and gurgling stream meandering down from the hills.
Thanks to targeted poverty alleviation policies, Mayuan village's infrastructure has improved, and its red tourism — visiting historical sites related to the revolutionary legacy of the CPC — rural tourism, homestay businesses, and fruit planting industries have flourished, striking a balance between economic growth and the preservation of local cultural and natural resources. E-commerce has also helped facilitate the spread of local specialties across the country.
Arriving at the strawberry planting base in Nashan town, the reporters learned how strawberry growing has allowed locals to increase their incomes.
At the base, which covers an area of more than 23 hectares, residents buy shares in strawberry cooperatives, which gives them access to dividends or an employment contract to earn a salary. Once they've signed up, residents can plant strawberries and use the provided greenhouses and planting technology. In total, the planting base has provided jobs for nearly 20,000 villagers and increased the average income of registered poor households by over 10,000 yuan ($1,540).
He Baixiang, a 66-year-old villager from Nashan town, told Jonathan Cheng from The Wall Street Journal that he was once a migrant worker in Guangdong province but returned to his hometown in 2017 because he was able to find a local job easily thanks to the poverty elimination-oriented industries. "Packaging strawberries at the base is easy and not tiring, and I can earn about 3,000 yuan a month," said He.
"I don't want to stay idle at home and rely solely on the financial support of my two sons," He explained when asked why he is still working after retirement age. "Why not make some extra money since I have the energy and the plant is not that far away?"
Utilizing big data technology for better services
Reporters visit the Guizhou Big Data Exhibition Center in Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou province, on April 11 (GUIZHOU DAILY)
At the second stop, in Guizhou province, the reporters not only visited the memorial hall of the Zunyi Conference — a crucial meeting that saved the Party, the Red Army, and China's revolution during the Long March — but also experienced Guizhou's digital and smart development at the Guizhou Big Data Exhibition Center.
The cool climate, lower electricity prices, and stable geological features make Guizhou a natural destination for building data centers. At present, Guizhou is home to 23 key data centers either in operation and under construction. The Ministry of Public Security, the People's Bank of China, and other national ministries and institutions such as China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, and enterprises including Tencent, Huawei, and Apple have all established data centers in Guizhou.
At the exhibition center, the reporters watched a presentation about Guizhou's telemedicine big data monitoring platform, which connects more than 1,800 medical institutions. Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, over 2,400 remote consultations were carried out over this platform, greatly contributing to Guizhou's fight against the novel coronavirus.
The center also outlines how Guizhou integrates data from different government departments to help facilitate poverty eradication as well as how the province utilizes an e-commerce supply chain and data connectivity to boost the sales of local farm products. Gao Sheng, deputy director of Guiyang National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, gave an interview at the center, explaining how the center was built, how the data is protected, and which foreign enterprises have set up data centers in Guizhou.
From exploring the cradle of the Chinese revolution, closely observing the new look of China's rural areas, and experiencing how new technologies are thriving, the trip served as a window for the reporters to comprehend how the CPC has remained committed to its original aspirations and founding mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people. It also demonstrated how the Party has rejuvenated the Chinese nation over the past 100 years.