China: Changsha and Shaoshan (Jan. 2019)

  • Changsha is the capital of Hunan (Hu = Lake, Nan = south, south of the lake).  During WWII, it was a site where the Chinese army won the very first battle against the Japanese. After four tries, the Japanese finally occupied the city.  Changsha is also where joined the Community Party of China. Changsha is now an important commercial, manufacturing and transportation centre.
  • Shaoshan is the birthplace of Chairman Mao.  Officially, the latest verdict of Mao’s legacy is 70% correct and 30% wrong. He played a major role in creating modern China. Against all odds, he led the Chinese Communist Party in defeating the better armed and numerically stronger Nationalist Party, led by Chang Kai-Shek. Internally, he managed to remain the leader even when it appeared he had lost the confidence of the party elites.
  • However, against his accomplishments, his Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) was disastrous and caused much suffering. The upheaval of his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) left deep scars in the social fabrics. Tens of millions may have died because of Mao’s policies.
    In Shaoshan, a giant statue of Chairman Mao was erected in Shaoshan in 1993. Mao’s former family home, the elementary school he attended, and a number of other museums can be found in Shaoshan. Annually, the town attracts about 20 millions people visitors.
  • According to our tour guide, this is the only Chairman Mao’s Library in China. It was actually not part of the tour but I told the guide I wanted to check it out.  The building is less of a Library but more of a research centre. Surprisingly, I was the only visitor.