|Bo Xilai (centre right) getting Chongqing residents to go red|
Chongqing Party Chief Bo Xilai seemed to be on the up and up with his "red culture campaign". He's encouraged residents to sing red revolutionary songs, text quotations from Chairman Mao to prove how red they are and dance to revolutionary tunes.
It's an eerie reminder of the Cultural Revolution which ironically persecuted Bo and his family. They were imprisoned for five years and then sent to a labour camp for another five years.
One would have thought he'd abhor reviving red culture, but it seems Bo's ambitions to reach the inner sanctum of the Politburo Standing Committee knows no bounds -- until now.
According to a report by China Daily, plans to build a Red Classic Theme Park in Chongqing was halted by municipality officials. The park was supposed to be in the shape of China, with sculptures of the predecessors to the Communist Party of China, have imitations of former leaders' homes and landmarks in China's revolutionary history, according to Chongqing Red Classic Investment Co Ltd, the main investor of the project. What a snazzy name for a company.
The park would have cost 2.5 billion RMB ($386.5 million) over the next four years before completion, with most of the investment brought in by this Chongqing Red Classic Investment company.
"The project has been stopped by the municipal government because the authorities thought it was not feasible," Li Jing, deputy director of the publicity department of Nanchuan district [where the park was planned to be located] said last week. He declined to give further details on why the project was indefinitely postponed.
Plans for the park were announced soon after the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, but was soon criticized for its extravagant spending.
Other details of the park include a 1,949 square-metre national flag and a 1,921 square-metre Party flag to mark the birth of the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China respectively.
The article doesn't directly link Bo to the project, but one can infer his strong interest in it.
Perhaps the leaders at the top were tired of Bo's red antics, who had created a bizarre talent show of redness.
And now this idea of a theme park with imitation revolutionary leaders' homes and statues is just crass. I thought the Window of the World in Shenzhen was bad. But this would have been even worse.
Luckily cooler heads have prevailed this time and kiboshed this project for now, which surely would have cheapened the brand of communism.
As for Bo's political prospects, that remains to be seen. After all, how red can you be when your son went to Oxford and is now at Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government?