Add:374 Huangpi Rd S., near Xingye Rd
Time:9am-5pm (last entry at 4pm)
Credit Cards Accepted
English Service Available
Before visiting the Memorial House of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, it seems important to read a short history of the Party’s founding in Shanghai.
In 1919, a patriotic movement swept across China. It started in Beijing on May 4 when students took to the street to denounce the Versailles Treaty which allowed Japan to take over the German concessions in Shandong following the World War I. The anti-imperialist demonstrations also denounced traditional Chinese values and evolved into the New Culture Movement.
Inspired by the Russian revolution, many educated Chinese began to embrace the ideas of communism. In August 1920 Chen Duxiu, Li Da and Li Hanjun formed the country’s first communist group in Shanghai. In October Li Dazhao, Zhang Guotao and Deng Zhongxia created another group in Beijing. Later, more groups appeared in Hubei, Shandong, Guangdong and Hunan provinces. They prepared the creation of a Communist Party on a national scale.
On July 23, 1921, 13 delegates from various places of China, including Mao Zedong from Hunan, met secretly in this Shanghai house belonging to the brother of Li Hanjun, a Shanghai delegate. Its address was then called No. 106-108 Rue Wantz.
But their meeting was interrupted a few days later by a spy and all the participants had to evacuate before the raid by the French Concession police. Legend has it that Li Hanjun’s wife suggested moving the meeting to a boat on the Nanhu Lake in her hometown Jiaxing, a few hours’ drive south of Shanghai.
So the remaining session of the meeting was held on a boat on the Nanhu Lake. Today, a replica of the original boat can be seen there. The meeting marked the birth of the Communist Party of China and adopted the first CPC charter and objectives.
The venue of the First National Congress of the CPC is a sacred place for most Chinese because it is the birthplace of the ruling Communist Party. The site is free to the public and presents China’s modern history from the Opium War to the founding the Party with relic weapons, old pictures, letters and documents. The congress meeting was reconstructed with life-size wax figures of the 13 delegates sitting around a big table. But the actual room where the meeting took place is kept unadorned -- just a table with 13 teacups and 13 chairs as it should be in 1921.
The memorial house is now part of Xintiandi, a complex of old shikumen houses that were transformed into trendy restaurants, bars, boutiques and shops.