Despite increasing Western influence in China, the small village of Nanjie in the Henan province holds fiercely to the Communist traditions that adorn nearly every inch of the town’s space.
Only a few hundred kilometers outside of the provincial capital city of Zhengzhou lies the village of Nanjie, China’s last Communist prefecture. Once you enter the village you are greeted by a sign and picture of Chairman Mao. Following the squeaky clean main road which leads to the East, visitors come across Red Square, the heart of the village. It is a large square centered around a giant statue of Mao, which is even squeakier clean than the streets. Take a bow for yourself and it’s as if the simple, unified, socialist world that Mao Zedong tried bringing to China never left. Nearby are large hanging portraits of the “Gang of Four” at each corner: Marx, Lenin, Engels and Stalin. The experience is polished off by recordings of Chairman Mao’s various speeches playing in constant loops on the intercoms surrounding the square.
Other than the ever-present Communist idealism adorning nearly every edifice, there are just a couple of factories on either side of the square and a few apartment complexes just a few blocks away. This town seems to nearly literally be made of the Communist dream.
While most of the Communist imagery is of recent vintage, one of the most notable parts of the village are the old propaganda posters that decorate the bus stations along the main road. They are old and discolored and appear to have been placed there during the heyday of the Cultural Revolution and have never been taken down since. Given Nanjie’s devotion to the old ways of the “People’s Republic” it is unlikely that these posters will ever fade completely.