Chinese citizens can now immerse themselves in the history of the country's Communist Party all while in the presence of wandering amid over-sized cartoon-looking party members in a Communist theme park that opened earlier this week, but not everyone in the country is lining up for the experience.
The gates to the government-backed theme park opened in the central city of Wuhan on Monday, welcoming visitors to the 300,000 square meter facility just ahead of the China National Day, the Guardian reported. The grounds are equipped with bushes trimmed to resemble the political party's core values, cartoon versions of Red Army troops, and monuments detailing Communist party rules.
Capitalizing on both the popularity of theme parks in China and a growing nationalistic tourism trend, dubbed by Bloomberg as "red tourism," a local government media site described the venue as "Using lively, populist art, the park shows the role models and history of the party, exerting a subtle influence on the public and providing them with a 'red benefit.'"
The site also explained that the "the designers of the park calculated that the elderly, middle-aged, young adults and children would all be able to sightsee, tour and rest in the park, and identify with the core values of socialism."
As of last year, Bloomberg reported that there were upwards of 100 locations throughout China promoting "red tourism." This trend falls in line with President Xi Jinping's urgings to promote patriotism in China. "We need to seize these two concepts — red bases and patriotic education on the one hand and developing red tourism on the other," he said in a March 2014 speech.
Despite the government's promotion efforts, reactions on social media in China illustrated a dislike for the newest theme park, the Guardian reported. Critics quipped about their taxes being used to construct it.
Taking to the country's popular social media site Weibo, one user posted that "It should be called the brainwashing theme park." While a different user quipped "What a waste of good land."
While the theme of the park may please government officials, it will face stiff competition when Disneyland's $5.5 billion theme park and resort opens up next year. Eventually Universal Studios plans to also open up its billion-dollar amusement park in Beijing.
The growing billion dollar industry boasts parks with standard themes like space, while more original takes on amusement include a military focused venue called Minsk World or the Shenzen theme park known as Windows of the World, where visitors can view replicas of global landmarks and cityscapes.
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