1985. The square was used as a place for locals to relax and have fun.
At least once a year for the past 32 years, photographer Chen Zhixian has visited the city of Jincheng in southeastern Shanxi province. Whenever he’s in town, he never fails to drop by the People’s Square in the center of town to snap some pictures. Over the years, things around the square have been constantly changing, the only that remains the same is a statue of Chairman Mao that was built back in September 1968.
Watch along with Mao:
1985. A cart-puller waiting for a customer.
1986. A breakfast stall.
1986. A young man selling decorative planks.
1986. Out-of-towners arrive to do business in Jincheng.
1986. Migrant couple selling fashionable bags.
1987. Selling peanuts during Spring Festival.
1989. Playing badminton on the parking lot.
1989. Hula hopping near the statue.
1990. PLA forces drilling around the square.
1990. Just chilling.
1991. Family on the move.
1993. The latest fashion to hit the market.
1994. Public transportation.
1995. The place to eat in the square.
1996. What are you looking at?
1997. Mao counts down until Hong Kong handover.
1998. Anybody need some interior decorating done?
2000. New type of transportation hits the square.
2001. What’s everybody looking at?
2003. Three little girls on Lantern Festival.
2004. Chinese fan dance.
2005. Spring Festival performance.
2007. An old woman with bound feet walks onto the square.
2008. Barbershop opens near to the square.
2011. Rush hour.
2012. Party time.
2015. Mao approves.
2016. A reflection of life.
This is just one of hundreds of Chairman Mao statues still standing in public squares across China. While many statues of The Great Helmsmen were torn down in the years following his death, Mao still remains popular with some in China, including those that he sent down to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.
In January, a 36-meter-tall golden “Mega Mao” suddenly appeared, sitting in the middle of nowhere, Henan. Before being unceremoniously torn down only a few days later, on orders given by the local government.
[Images via Tencent]