We stumbled upon the Newspaper Museum (not sure of its official name), close to our favourite little restaurant. The rather shabby museum holds some fascinating clippings, articles, and photos from the last century and the beginning of this one.
The highlights are some great photos of Mao and other communist party leaders during the Cultural Revolution. Even in the 1960s one can appreciate the efforts of some sophisticated photoshopping (without photoshop to help) that make the central characters appear more powerful and larger than life.
It’s curious to see the old papers, printed in vertical columns and read from right to left. There are papers in Uygur, Tibetan and Mongolian script and a triumphant cover showing the hand-over of Hong Kong. There are articles about the Cultural Revolution, Mao, Ethnic Minorities, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, as well as foreign news and adverts.
The collection was apparently started by a Chinese farmer who is also an avid newspaper reader and collector who wanted to help his fellow farmers learn about the world.
The earliest newspaper in the collection was Shanghai-published Shenbao in 1872. The shortest lived newspaper featured is Xibao which was the first and final publication (info taken from China.org.cn)
Old adverts are also featured in the exhibition. The use of traditional characters probably means that the advert is pre-revolution 1949. . Here is a link to the history of Pirate Cigarettes in China.
This is something you won’t see much of in China at the moment. Articles published in the Uighur language using the Arabic script.
And with the recent distubances in Inner Mongolia over the increased use of Manderin Chinese in the province, you might not see many more articles like the one below in the Mongolian script.
Mongolian Script 2002
So with so much to see and do in Pingyao, you might be tempted to give the Newspaper Museum a miss. If you have any interest 20th century China: don’t!