The heart of revolutionary spirit: Inside the Museum of Communist Party of China

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 26 March 2024 at 06:56

Nestled in the heart of Chaoyang District, Beijing, the Museum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) stands as a monument to the rich and tumultuous history of a political entity that has shaped the nation’s destiny for over a century.

This architectural marvel, inaugurated in 2021 just ahead of the CPC’s 100th anniversary, serves not only as a repository of historical artifacts but also as a "spiritual home" for the Party, paying homage to its storied past and ongoing influence in shaping China’s present and future.

The museum’s design, a visual representation of the Chinese character "gong," which signifies workers or labor, encapsulates the essence of the CPC’s identity as the vanguard of the working class, the Chinese people, and the nation as a whole.

This symbolic structure, with its traditional colonnade architecture, embodies the principles of Chinese design—upright, foursquare, yet simple and grand. The 28 colonnades flanking its sides represent the 28 years of struggle leading up to the establishment of New China, highlighting the CPC’s enduring commitment to its cause.

Central to the museum’s outdoor display are five significant sculptures featuring different figures, narrating the Party’s century-long quest for the well-being of the Chinese populace and the nation’s rejuvenation, a testament to the CPC’s guiding spirit and the sacrifices made throughout its history.

Situated within the Beijing Olympic Park, the Museum of the Communist Party of China is strategically placed among other national cultural landmarks, creating a cohesive cultural and educational hub. This location not only underscores the museum’s importance but also aligns with the broader vision of promoting a rich cultural atmosphere within the capital.

The museum’s collection is vast and varied, comprising over 4,548 pieces or sets of cultural relics, including 420 original state-level artifacts. These pieces range from personal items of historical figures like Mao Zedong and Karl Marx to symbols of pivotal moments in the Party’s and the nation’s history, such as the first Five-Star Red Flag and artifacts from the Long March.

This collection not only preserves the physical history of the CPC but also offers insights into the ideological and cultural evolution of the Party and its leadership over the decades.

The founding of the CPC, marked by its early struggles against imperialist and feudal forces, is a narrative of resilience and ideological fervor. From the backdrop of the "Century of Humiliation" following the Opium Wars to the transformative movements of the early 20th century, including the May 4th Movement and the eventual establishment of the Party in 1921, the museum meticulously chronicles the conditions and the revolutionary zeal that led to the CPC’s creation.

This period was characterized by a burgeoning desire for national independence, reform, and the adoption of Marxism as a guiding philosophy to address China’s challenges.

The museum also delves into the post-1949 era, showcasing the Party’s efforts to navigate the complexities of governing a new China, from the early days of the People’s Republic through the reform and opening-up policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, and into the modern era under Xi Jinping’s leadership.

The exhibits detail the CPC’s transformative policies, its struggles and successes, and the continuous endeavor to uplift the Chinese people out of poverty, culminating in the significant milestone of eradicating extreme poverty by 2021.

Moreover, the construction of the museum itself is a narrative of collective effort and visionary leadership. Initiated by the CPC Central Committee under Xi Jinping, the project was a significant undertaking completed after nearly 1,000 days of tireless effort, involving nearly 50,000 people from its groundbreaking ceremony in 2018 to its completion in 2021.

The museum was envisioned as a sacred hall, a beacon of education, and a center for Party history research and publicity, embodying Xi’s vision of it as a spiritual and educational hub for both Party members and the public.

The Museum of the Communist Party of China is more than a collection of artifacts and historical narratives; it is a physical manifestation of the CPC’s journey, ideologies, and contributions to the Chinese nation.

It stands as a testament to the Party’s past, a reflection of its present, and a vision for its future, offering visitors a comprehensive insight into the heart and soul of the CPC. As such, it not only educates and inspires but also serves as a bridge connecting the past with the future, ensuring that the lessons and legacy of the CPC’s hundred-year history continue to resonate with generations to come.

An exterior view of the Museum of the CPC.
A monument pictured outside the Museum of Communist Party of China in Beijing.
The Chinese Civil War resulted in a Communist victory and control of mainland China.
The museum encapsulates China's journey through imperialism, feudalism, and the quest for modernization and independence.
A boat holding great significance in China’s history is seen inside the museum. The First National Congress of the CPC commenced on July 23, 1921, in Shanghai. Despite an initial setback due to a spy's intrusion, which forced the attendees to relocate, the meeting found its unique conclusion on a small boat in Nanhu Lake, Jiaxing.
Monuments inside the museum showcasing Chinese response to foreign aggression. The struggle involved multifaceted efforts from various sectors of society to rejuvenate the nation.
Sculptures on the theme of the Long March are seen inside the museum
The exhibition on the founding history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) details the tumultuous period of Chinese history from the Opium War to the establishment of the CPC.
At the memorial, one can see monuments depicting the Long March of the Red Army led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the 1930s and the coming into existence of CPC.
The museum meticulously chronicles the conditions and the revolutionary zeal that led to the CPC's creation.
Inside the museum, there are pistols used by Zhu De during the Nanchang Uprising.
Weapons used during the struggles against imperialist and feudal forces are also exhibited in the museum.
At the museum, hundreds of original pieces of national cultural relics are preserved and displayed.
Nearly two-thirds of the main building area, or about 150,000 square meters, has been designed as exhibition space.
The museum shows how the CPC has ushered the Chinese people into development.
Chinese efforts in environmental preservation is also witnessed at the museum.
Inside the museum, one can see exhibits related to agriculture as one of major sectors holding great significance in national economy.
The founding of the CPC, marked by its early struggles against imperialist and feudal forces, is a narrative of resilience and ideological fervor.
Located in Beijing, the Museum of the CPC was inaugurated and opened to the public in 2021.

Théophile Niyitegeka / Beijing, China