chapter  6
Rebuilding political centers
Pages 27

The new party-state soon set a new revolutionary agenda to transform the historical cities into new socialist cities of production. In the official ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, the prerevolutionary heritages of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou symbolized the city of parasites and consumerism, of feudalism or Western imperialism. Whereas Shanghai and Beijing transformed into the nation's industrial and political centers, respectively, Guangzhou remained the regional center of South China, just as it had been in the imperial and Republican eras. The city's transformation under socialism was less dramatic than Beijing's or Shanghai's, in part because its imperial and colonial heritage was less strong than its distinct regional cultural tradition. Yet, all the cities rebuilt key spots in the old urban cores into new socialist monumental complexes, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, People's Square in Shanghai, and Haizhu Square in Guangzhou. Tiananmen Square can be considered as an extreme version of the rural festival theater.