Today I took a few of visitors to newly renovated National Museum of China in Tiananmen. The museum, running 300-meter-long along the eastern side of the Square, used to house the Museum of Chinese Revolution and the National Museum of Chinese History.
After a decade, it was finally opened this April. It’s free. Despite of the rain, the queue snaked long. Stepping into the massive hall, it felt like inside a modern airport. The government spent $400 million to make it the state-of-art museum and the largest in the world. My visitors, one French and two English, were interested in contemporary China. So I took them to the exhibition “The Road of Rejuvenation” about history from the Opium War in 1984 to present day.
The early part talks about the miserable condition China was in and the suffering at the hands of the imperialists. The exhibition emphasizes so much on the glorious achievement of the Chinese Communist Party, with little mention of the mistakes it made. Cultural Revolution is reduced to one photo, showing the Red Guards gathering at Tiananmen to be reviewed by Chairman Mao. The next picture shows the Chinese leaders standing on top of Tiananmen Gate, smiling – the ‘Gang of Four’ has been overthrown and the night was over.
There was hardly any mention of 1989. There’s interactive stuff about the train to Tibet and the cowboy hat Deng Xiaopeng wore when he visited US.
It’s not a museum but propaganda.
In the visitor’s book, next to the uplifting messages such as ‘Glory to China’ and ‘Wish my motherland stay strong forever’, one of my friend wrote: “What happened between 1966 to 1976?’