Nicholas Quirke was fascinated by history and on 2 July 2021 he was able to indulge his interest by seeing a masterpiece of propaganda on the formation of the CCP. The screening was at the IMAX screen at the National Film Museum which was a long distance from him and involved a journey by subway and a 15km round cycle trip. He set off early in the afternoon as he wanted to include a stop at the 789 Art park. Its ways a glorious day and though the terrible weather of the past two days had ceased the temperature had not decreased and the humidity still made him a little uncomfortable on his journey. It was a relief for him then to break his journey at the art park and the first thing he did was stop to refresh himself with a tea. He started to work on his blog and what had been a pit stop turned into a long break. When he eventualy departed from O-Ka-E-Ri he had not left himself much time to explore the myriad of galleries and stores that had opened since his last visit. He did get to see some interesting sculptures and paintings but mostly nothing he hadn’t seen before. All exits and entrances were now open and though he wanted to take an alternative route to the cinema he decided to stick to the tried and tested path for fear of getting lost and not wanting to be late he made sure he was back on the right track. He arrived with 30 minutes to spare, collected his ticket and sat and waited to be let in. It was the only screening of the film that day and to his surprise there was only a handful of people there to see It. Though the film was about the the founding of the CCP in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, it was not as dry as the subject matter might suggest. According to official narrative account by the CCP it was founded on 1 July 1921, however, party documents suggest this may be inaccurate and that the party’s true founding date was actually on 23 July, the date of the first day of the 1st National Congress of the CCP. At this time there were only 50 members and though it was originally held in a house in the Shanghai French Concession, French police interrupted the meeting and the congress was moved to a tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. A dozen delegates attended the congress including Mao Zedong was present at the first congress as one of two delegates from a Hunan communist group though neither Li nor Chen were able to attend, the latter sent a personal representative in his stead and despite his absence the congress elected Chen as its leader and then the first general secretary of the Communist Party. He was referred to as “China’s Lenin”. Nicholas could not imagine a better way as he was in China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP than being treated to a gorgeous looking, tense and exciting history lesson on its birth. From 50 members to the phenomenon that is now the People’s Republic of China was an incredible journey and whilst it may be propaganda it was also excellent entertainment in  which some of the best talent in China have been involved. People fighting for what they believe in is a powerful story  and added into the mix is  subterfuge, intrigue, car chases, fabulous locations and beautiful costumes. It was perfect viewing. As he left the cinema night was starting to fall and as he set off on the journey to he spotted a dog and its owner riding a motor cycle which seemed extremely hazardous and typical of the lack of safety on the roads that personified China. The route back took an hour and half and it was too late once he was in to watch another film. He had a massage, did some reading and lost in the mists of the past went to sleep.

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