Xibaipo is located in Pingshan, a county in North China's Hebei Province. Xibaipo is a revolutionary base where the CPC leadership was garrisoned from May 1948 until early 1949, and where the revolutionists drew up the blueprint for a new country and prepared for CPC to become the ruling party.
Liu Xiaoxiao planned to become a school teacher after she graduated from university in 2004. However, she passed the exam to become a guide at Xibaipo Memorial Hall, and she began working in the memorial hall. "Xibaipo is a holy place, where the revolutionaries of the elder generation once worked and lived. I feel honored to be working as a guide at Xibaipo Memorial Hall. My parents are also satisfied with my job. The history and environment of Xibaipo and our positive, vigorous team members have an influence on me. I increasingly like it here," says Liu.
As a guide, Liu hopes to promote China's revolutionary history to more people because of a little girl. "One day, I saw an elderly woman ask her granddaughter to take photos with the bronze statues of the revolutionaries of the elder generation. However, her granddaughter refused, because she did not know who they were. I was astonished ... The youth and teenagers are the future of our country. If they are indifferent to our revolutionaries of the elder generation, how can they and their later generations inherit the faith of the revolutionaries? As a guide, my responsibility is to inherit the faith and promote the spirit of the revolutionaries of the elder generation. So, people who have visited Xibaipo will remember the history," recalls Liu.
She has worked at the memorial hall for 10-plus years. She cannot have a day off on the weekends, or during the holidays. She gave birth to her son in 2013. When someone asks her son where his home is, he says Xibaipo. If the person asks him who is in Xibaipo, he says Grandfather Mao (Zedong). Liu knows Xibaipo and Grandfather Mao have been rooted in her son's heart since he was young.
Liu has guided more than three million visitors through the memorial hall. She has also guided some leaders of the CPC Central Committee during their visits to the memorial hall. "When I was guiding General Secretary Xi Jinping during his visit to the memorial hall, he said history was the best textbook and nutrition. He had visited Xibaipo many times. Every time, he came here with great reverence. He also praised my work," says Liu. "If someone asks me whether I will stay in Xibaipo in the future or not, I will tell him/her firmly that I will stay here now and in the future. I will be rooted in Xibaipo for all my life. I will work hard here, to inherit the faith of the revolutionaries of the elder generation."
The guides at Xibaipo Memorial Hall have explored innovative explanation methods since 2004. Now, they perform folk songs and kuaiban (a well-known form of oral storytelling performance in northern China, and it is accompanied with a bamboo clapper) when they are explaining the revolutionary history of Xibaipo to visitors. They have also created and performed some plays to promote core socialist values. "We created the plays about some prestigious past CPC leaders, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De and Ren Bishi, to promote their revolutionary spirit of sparing no effort in the performance of their duties, caring about the people and working hard and living plain lives," Liu says.
"I have a profound understanding that the mission of the CPC is to seek happiness for the Chinese people, and to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We can feel the CPC leaders in the new era have a good sense of caring about the people, and it is the same with that of the past CPC leaders, during revolutionary times. We feel happy because we live in such a new era," Liu says.
"I often strive to explain the revolutionary history to visitors in a better way. Sometimes, I stay up late till the small hours to write the explanations. I need to spend much time practicing kuaiban and folk songs. Sometimes, the bamboo clapper makes blisters on my fingers. I only stick a bandage on the finger, and I continue practicing. Visitors will approve when I do well giving them explanations. All my sufferings have their rewards," says Liu.
(Source: Women of China English Monthly July 2018 issue)