In 2008, it was designated a “Red Army primary school” – funded by China’s “red nobility” of revolution-era Communist commanders and their families – one of many such institutions that have been established across the country.
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The schools are an extreme example of the “patriotic education” which China’s ruling Communist party promotes to boost its legitimacy, but which critics condemn as little more than brainwashing.
“The Red Army spirit is a real asset for children. It teaches them to be hardworking and thrifty from a young age,” said school manager Mu Chunyong, who oversees the 136 pupils in first to fourth grades.
Guizhou province is one of China’s poorest, but even there, most families are now able to afford relatively comfortable lives, making it important to remind students of the hardships of the past, he said.
“If you don’t instil kids these days with a sense of the evolution of history, the kids won’t cherish their current living conditions.”