The display visitors see as they enter the exhibit.
Today, this kind of enthusiasm about Chinese communism would seem out of place in a Western publication. But in the pre-Cold War era, many saw the Communist Party as a worthy alternative to the ruling Nationalists, who were criticized for their corruption and brutality. Starting in the 1920s, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek launched a series of “extermination campaigns” against Communist rebels, forcing them to abandon their stronghold in Jiangxi Province and march to the loess plateaus of northwest China's Shaanxi. Following eight years of brutal Japanese occupation and a destructive four-year civil war, the Communists finally gained control of mainland China in 1949. But by then, Western media outlets had adopted a more adversarial attitude, framed by the onset of the Cold War.
Even today, as the once-dominant fear of the spread of communism has been extinguished, Western media treats China with a mix of awe and anxiety. Now, the Communist Party is portrayed as a vast, corrupt bureaucracy—a far cry from the scrappy underdogs of the 1930s.