A revolutionary memorial and an art landmark

Li Qian
The former Communist Party of China Central Committee Secretariat is now a revolutionary memorial, and the Suhewan area is becoming a Shanghai art landmark.
Li Qian
A revolutionary memorial and an art landmark

Former CPC secretariat opens to the public

The former Central Committee Secretariat of the Communist Party of China has been renovated into a revolutionary memorial and is now open to the public.

The secretariat, regarded as the forerunner of today’s General Office of the CPC Central Committee, was formed in Shanghai in July 1926 and relocated in November 1927 to a two-storey shikumen (stone-gate) building at No. 10, Lane 673, Jiangning Road.

Until the mid-1930s, CPC leaders such as Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping came to read and analyze critical documents and attend secret meetings.

Everyone there led a double life in order to conceal their revolutionary efforts.

Zhang Ji’en, a secretariat clerk, rented the residence as the son of a wealthy businessman under the alias Huang Jici. He lived on the first floor with his wife, and the office on the second level was set up as a single room, complete with a bed, closet and table.

On June 23, 1931, police stormed the house but discovered nothing significant because the documents had been moved somewhere else for safekeeping. Nonetheless, Zhang and his wife were arrested. As a result, the site was later abandoned.

The site was designated as “under protection” in December 2017. In June 2020, work on restoring it to its original appearance began.

The structure has been restored to its former appearance from over a century ago. The historical layout of the apartments where the early Party members lived has also been recreated.

The memorial has 505 square meters of exhibition space and includes 78 images and 21 artifacts.

Using naked-eye 3D display technology, visitors are immersed in the days when revolutionaries risked their lives in covert activities.

A revolutionary memorial and an art landmark
Jiang Xiaowei

Immersive scenarios and artifacts are featured at the revolutionary memorial of the former Central Committee Secretariat of the Communist Party of China.

Art ripples around Suhewan

With the “Art Ripples” campaign, Jing’an is transforming its Suhewan neighborhood into a new landmark on Shanghai’s art map.

Suzhou Creek passes through Jing’an for about 6.3 kilometers, and a 4.2-square-kilometer shoreline region is known as Suhewan, literally Suzhou Creek Bay.

The area has 500,000 square meters of historical structures, 17 conservation neighborhoods and 170 cultural spots, including world-class art institutions like Sotheby’s, UCCA Edge and Fotografiska. They have created a comprehensive art ecosystem.

Jing’an launched the “Art Ripples” campaign this month to better integrate the abundant waterfront cultural resources.

An art coalition comprised of waterfront art institutions, commercial complexes and other industrial giants was formed as part of the campaign. In addition, an app called “Art Ripples” would be developed to create a world-class online art exchange platform.

Other historical sites will be renovated to become modern exhibition halls. Tianhou Palace, Shanghai’s biggest temple to Mazu (the goddess of the sea) dating back to the late 19th century, and Shen Yuli, one of the city’s best-preserved shikumen (stone-gate) neighborhoods with a nearly 100-year history, would provide cultural venues that integrate the old and new.

Local creative parks and commercial complexes such as Sihang Tiandi and Jing’an International Center can provide nearly 80,000 square meters of space for art and industrial players.

Tours that connect cultural and historical waterfront locations and are connected with the Suzhou Creek cruise will also be launched, along with a VR guide map.

A revolutionary memorial and an art landmark

A variety of shows are staged in the Suhewan area during the “Art Ripples” campaign.

There would be a music festival, a theater extravaganza, a sculpture exhibition, a tea culture festival, a rowing competition and other events. Suhewan, in particular, is expected to have its own art biennial.

To entice new art institutions, Jing’an will award up to 1 million yuan (US$139,252) to those who have made significant contributions to the district’s art and culture development.

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