China’s Wanda Group, a multinational conglomerate known for its business in real estate and cinemas, has announced a 12-billion yuan ($1.74 billion) investment to build a communist-themed park in Yan’an, the city that during the Chinese civil war served as the main base of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Wanda’s investment comes in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, established in July 1921 as a tiny radical group in Shanghai.
Wanda Group held a signature ceremony together with Yan’an municipal government on Dec. 13 in Beijing. At the ceremony, Xu Xinrong, the CCP secretary of Yan’an city, and Wanda founder Wang Jianlin jointly announced the Revolution Theme Park’s construction. Construction is set to begin in 2019 and the park is scheduled to be opened in the first half of 2021, in time for the anniversary. The costly move has led to speculation that Wang Jianlin, a former military officer, is making a show of loyalty to the Communist Party in hopes of guaranteeing his future political safety.