China’s ‘red education’ history tours and the rise of communist cosplay

Josephine Ma:

If anyone can best tell the scale and intensity of China’s “red education” drive to promote loyalty to the ruling Communist Party, it’s businessman Yu Meng.

The 36-year-old runs the largest Red Army uniform rental business in Jinggangshan, a city dubbed the “cradle of the communist revolution” deep in the mountains of Jiangxi. Last year alone, his company rented uniforms to 256,000 people taking part in red ideology study tours.

Yu started the Xiangganbian Red Army uniform company 10 years ago. But it’s only in the last three years that the business has really taken off, thanks to the relentless push of patriotic education by President Xi Jinping. Xi has said he wants “faith” in communist rule to be passed down to a new generation as “red DNA”.