Sunday, September 2, 2007

Market Meets Revolution

Above: DongFang Hong, The East is Red, is a singing and dancing movie performed in 1964 in The Peoples Great Hall at Beijing TianAnMen. It shows the spirit in China before Culture Revolution (1966-1976).

Market Meets Revolution

I had just returned from holidays in Europe when my Kaddafi-looking Chinese friend called. He said we are going to dinner, and repeated the famous slogan from past:

Mao ZhuXi Hui Shou, Wo Qian Jin!
Chairman Mao waves his hand, and I march!

The following took place in Beijing, August 2006.

It all happened far from Beijing city center. We drove GongTiBeiLu Avenue towards east up to Ring-5, beyond ChaoYang Stadium. Then small lanes, but still in Beijing.

Restaurant's name was HongSeJingDian - Red Classics. Building was probably an old factory. Entrance had a big GongNongBing statue, workers-farmers-soldiers, welcoming the guests. Picture taking was forbidden.

Dining hall had two floors with big opening in the middle. At one end, against the wall towards kitchen, was a huge Mao poster. The stage was in front of it. Looked like the actors were going to run to stage from kitchen, from doors both sides.

It was Friday, reservation was needed. Some 300 guests had arrived, every seat was taken. Tables in front of the stage were 600RMB (70EUR or 90USD). My friend who is a whole seller, had booked a 400RMB round table for eight in the middle of the hall.

Waiters and waitresses, several dozens of them, had Culture Revolution, WenHua DaGeMing, era's Red Guard uniforms.

First came a big hot iron pot of fish with a smaller iron pot of chicken, then vegetables and pancakes. Feeling was industrial.

Tsingdao beer was served to tables in brewery boxes, each box 12 big green bottles. My friend asked two boxes. We were prepared.

Noise was up. The show was about to start. I didn’t see other foreigners among diners and felt privileged. Show started with a great surprise: those dozens of waiters and waitresses were actors, and morphed into revolutionaries with a message.

Show inspired dining audience which clearly had experienced the Culture Revolution. Acting waiters and waitresses were young, they could never have the same understanding about what really had happened, as the elder audience did (as many as 20 million died). But they acted passionately and managed to remind audience about the past in very credible manner.

I witnessed group dancing with big red flags, group shout slogans, powerful revolutionary songs and acts, solo dances. Soon the whole dining hall became the show room, the stage, from corner to corner, to repeat the history.

The show managed to push audience's lid off and emotions got released. Result was an emotional clash, feelings bursted out openly. Many went up onto stage and joined singing. I saw tears of anger, joy and survival.

Long ago these middle-aged diners had blindly and with passion joined the Culture Revolution movement. Afterwards they knew how stupidly it all was aroused, when they were young.

During the show audience felt the same passion they once had. The show brought back their memories of youth and helped them to release some of their feelings. Show repeated the behavior they once had, and gave them chance to have an ironical laugh of what they once had followed.

These were people, who had wasted their time when young, but who managed to catch the train of market economy. Not everyone did.

During the decade of Culture Revolution these people sacrificed themselves for political enthusiasm to serve communist cause.

After Culture Revolution another extreme followed. No longer these people care about collective well-being, instead, they now prioritise their own personal wealth and well-being.


Chinese people who now are over 45 years old, have experienced Culture Revolution. Once they were so called ZhiShiQingNian, knowledgeable youth, and were sent to poor countryside. Some survived, managed to get through and made up their career.

Some of those who experienced Culture Revolution became more cautious in speaking, insecure and self-protective, even cynical. Some hard-boned individuals became more decisive, self-confident, as they went through the hardship and managed to succeed. They became even more aggressive in taking risks now in business.

They went through pressure cooking and became out even harder.

Their life path has been mostly influenced by the system. Now these people are in key positions in Chinese society: business management or government officials. Many of them are influencers, enablers, enforcerers, your potential business partners and customers. They are people, who know how to operate within the system the best.

If you want to succeed with business in China, it is essential for you to think through and understand the social chaos of the Culture Revolution. It changed and shaped the generation who now are the main force in China. After 10 years, Culture Revolution ended with Mao's death September 9, 1976.

-- BeijingMan


Just back to Beijing from holidays in Italy, Germany and Finland. Very refreshing. Since year 2006 is Italian Culture Year in China, I have some pictures from Italian Dolomites and Madonna Di Campiglio. With my lady, we did a hiking week, excellent experience!

Above-1: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Small but elegant town at 1550 meters, between Brenta Dolomites and the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella. One of the top ski resorts in Italy. Summertime excellent hiking resort.

Above-2: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lake in Campiglio center.

Above-3: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Park beside the lake.

Above-4: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-5: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hiking team briefing.

Above-6: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. We needed this fun!

Above-7: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Hiking team leader Kari Biaudet has over 25 years experience of life in Campiglio and its mountains.

Above-8: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Hiking team briefing.

Above-9: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 6-7 hours per day.

Above-10: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-11: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-12: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Briefing.

Above-13: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-14: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Difficult to say which is harder, going up or coming down

Above-15: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Stops were only a few minutes.

Above-16: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Hmm... some slow elements in my team

Above-17: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Be brisk, you, too, can write your name on the book there!

Above-18: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top!
Monte Zeledria 2426 meters, above Campiglio

Above-19: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Book box is attached to the flagpole

Above-20: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top.

Above-21: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top.

Above-22: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Top. Exhausted? Possible.

Above-23: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-24: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. As simple as it looks.

Above-25: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Lago Nambino is about 500 meters down. Now I know what rolling stones really mean.

Above-26: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Up, up, again!

Above-27: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Sentiero Attrezzato Bozzetti 1983

Above-28: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Happy? Yes.

Above-29: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Views.

Above-30: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Lago Nambino.

Above-31: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.

Above-32: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Lunch cottage. Sausages, cheese, polenta corn meal, red wine, water. Good.

Above-33: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Moment of rest.

Above-34: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Our next target will be a bit higher...

Above-35: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Not from our team. He obviously hiked the higher mountains on the other side of Campiglio valley.

Above-36: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Not from our team. I saw he pulled up a fish (60-80cm) in the middle of Campiglio.

Above-37: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
- Campiglio is pretty close it, like a paradise

Above-38: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Hotel All'Imperatore had excellent rooms, services like swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam, sauna, massage, relax, gym, and restaurants.

Above-39: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. View from my room.

Above-40: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. Not Ferraris, exactly.

Above-41: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Saturday afternoon 22nd July over one hundred Ferraris arrived to Campiglio.

Above-42: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 100 Ferraris.

Above-43: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy. 100 Ferraris.

Above-44: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Previous week I had Alfa Romeo GT in Germany, and it flies! But these Ferraris belong to another category.

Above-45: Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
Engines started... you would like to hear it.

Above-46: Cheers to Madonna Di Campiglio! To Italy! Cheers!

Hiking at Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy
+ Small Italian town with Switzerland quality
+ Excellent routes for hiking
+ Excellent rocky sceneries
+ Italian red wine, espresso, grappa
+ Excellent facilities, wine and food at Hotel All'Imperatore

Judgment is all positive, that's how I felt about Campiglio. Will go again.

Select web-cam to view Madonna Di Campiglio

© BeijingMan 2022