Archival materials show top Party members as leaders in own homes

Shanghai Municipal Archives yesterday put on display some 240 archives about the family traditions and disciplines of 32 respected members of Communist Party of China.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Visitors view family instructions, letters and photos of Chairman Mao Zedong at a new exhibition at the Shanghai Archives which opened to the public yesterday. 

A new exhibition at the Shanghai Archives focuses on family guidance from respected members of the Communist Party of China.

The show opened yesterday and includes some 240 artifacts, including a collection of letters and notes written by revolutionaries such as Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, to their children containing family rules and instructions. Also showcased were accounts of family discipline from revolutionary martyrs including telegrapher Li Bai and post-1949 Party members like missile and space scientist Qian Xuesen.

“The exhibition collects and reviews the noble qualities of senior revolutionists through their family rules. It aims to inspire and educate especially today’s young generation,” said Xing Jianrong, deputy curator of the archives.

A large number of historical photos and videos are also being exhibited to show the legacies of these Party members.

The exhibition also includes some 20 artifacts from the State Archives Administration of China which are being shown in Shanghai for the first time.

Several handwritten letters from Chairman Mao are displayed at the start of the exhibition to highlight his family rules: Never practice favoritism, never support relatives with power and never make profit for old friends.

In one letter from October 1947 to Mao Anying, his eldest son, Chairman Mao writes “one can always make progress no matter what he studies or does, with passion, perseverance and no vanity of individualism.”

The then Premier Zhou warned his family members never to disclose their relationship with him or to show off. He also asked them to never take government vehicles, hold dinners or present gifts.

Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping asked his grandchildren to acquire skills, be they advanced or simple, so as to contribute to the country.

A letter written by President Xi Jinping in October 2001 to his father Xi Zhongxun, a Communist revolutionary hero and former vice premier, is also displayed.

President Xi said his father’s frugal lifestyle and noble qualities have had a lifelong influence on him.

“These family rules from revolutionaries would have been quite familiar to people of my generation. Their qualities have influenced and guided us for decades,” said Lu Yuede, a retired subdistrict official with Huangpu District who is among the first batch of visitors yesterday.

The exhibition, jointly hosted by the state archives administration and the city’s archives, is being held on the third floor of the archive at 9 Zhongshan Rd E2 through the end of the year. It is open to the public free from 9am to 5pm, except Sundays.


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