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CHINA | MAO INC.

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    A portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong is seen reflected in wet pavement in 'The East is Red' square (Dongfanghong Square) of Nanjie Village in Henan Province.
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    A worker inside a beer brewery walks through a cloud of steam in Nanjie Village, Henan Province.
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    A worker inside a beer brewery inspects labels on bottles as they move down the production line in Nanjie Village, Henan Province.
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    Children attend class at the main school in Nanjie Village in Henan Province.
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    A customer enters a small market for fresh produce in the collective village of Nanjie in Henan province. The Chinese economy was liberalized and reformed in the decades after the Great Leap Forward, when forced collectivization brought on famine and economic catastrophe. Going against the privatization trend of the rest of the country, Nanjie village started to re-collectivize its land in 1984. Residents of the communist village live in identical apartments and are given free health care and education, but receive only a token salary, paid in coupons rather than currency.
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    A decoration of Chairman Mao Zedong hangs from the mirror in a taxi in X'ian.
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    An all-girls group of Young Communist League members plays laser tag as part of a team-building exercise in Yan'an.
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    An all girls group of Young Communist League members walks past a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in front of the Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Hall in Yan'an.
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    Actors dressed as Maoist revolutionaries take part in a battle re-enactment called the Defense of Yan'an. The battle is staged daily for tourists who can pay extra to dress up and take part in the mock fighting between the communist People's Liberation Army and the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) Army.
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    The glass case holds the stuffed remains of Mao Zedong's horse at the Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Hall in Yan'an.
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    A candidate takes the oral test to become a tour leader at the Yangjialing Assembly Hall, in Yan'an. In 1945, the Seventh National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was held here, naming Mao Zedong the undisputed leader of the Party and enshrining his thought into the Party constitution.
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    A statue of Mao Zedong is seen inside a window at night in Nanjie Village, Henan Province.
China | Mao Inc.

In China, communist ideology has mutated and been rebranded for modern times. “Red tourism” is a booming government supported industry that reinforces national pride and drives Chinese tourists to spend more money inside the rural heartland. Grand monuments, battle reenactments and tours of model communist villages glorify the deeds of past communist leaders, but hardly a reference can be be found to the tens of millions who perished during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

Among the unmissable “red tourism” hotspots is Nanjie, a village of 3,500 inhabitants that re-collectivised in 1990. All property is municipal, residents live in identical apartments, and workers are paid in coupons, not currency. The government provides for all its citizens’ needs, supplying them with everything from cough medicine to funerals. Inspectors visit homes and workplaces to award Nanjie residents gold stars for things like hygiene, effort, respect and discipline, as well as the all-important “being a good communist.” The town is plastered in Mao iconography and speakers on lampposts blast patriotic songs and famous Mao quotes every morning. Despite its collectivist internal structure, even Nanjie relies on China’s consumer economy to survive; residents work in 26 factories producing everything from noodles to Mao statues.

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