Down a dusty road in a remote far eastern suburb of Beijing a revolutionary-themed restaurant is busy preparing for the party of the year. This Friday, 1st July, marks the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 90th anniversary and The East is Red is expecting diners to run into the hundreds. They will come ravenous not just for the hearty cuisine but also for a heavy dose of communist nostalgia. A twice-daily show—ramped up for the anniversary —includes revolution-era songs, dance and drama, cherry picked from the chaotic days of the 1966-76 cultural revolution. I visit on a Tuesday evening, and despite the mid-week timing and isolated location the restaurant is around half full. The imposing doorway to the cavernous building is a colossal red star—inside are stirring statues of revolutionary heroes, murals of workers clutching Mao’s Little Red Book and an army of performers dressed in Red Guard uniforms. This is a family day out. Every customer, down to the smallest child, waves a red flag and many sway in the aisles to songs such as “Sing in Praise of the Motherland.” Across one wall gigantic red Chinese characters spell out the words: “May the Chinese Communist Party live ten thousand, 100 million years.”
more from Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore at Prospect Magazine here.