You might expect these inscriptions to commemorate events of historic grandeur: The site of a famous battle, or maybe a political assassination. In fact, these monuments aim to immortalize the more ‘everyday’ achievements of China’s ruling class.
In case diners at this canteen overlook the historical significance of the table they've chosen, this plaque provides a handy reminder. It marks the spot where Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao sat down when he visited Xi’an Jiaotang University.
The inscription reads: “"At 18:53, June 5, 2009, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao came to Kangqiaoyuan Canteen to have dinner with our schoolmates. He sat here."
In the words of ‘Chinasmack’ – a website that aims
to bring the country’s many cultural quirks to the attention of non-Chinese language readers – the monuments were “presumably erected by opportunistic local officials,” looking to score brownie points with the country’s leaders.
The inscription reads: “Comrade [President] Hu Jintao once stood here.”
Commenting on the above image, one user on ‘Chinasmack’ remarked: “Erecting a monument even for Hu? Why does this tablet look like a tombstone? This ass-kisser must have a really low IQ.” Another added: “Are there any monuments marking the location of where leaders urinated???”
Here, the grandson of Mao Zedong - the founding father of modern communist China - kneels beside a testament to the supposed one-time hiding place of his grandfather. The spot apparently served as a temporary hideout for the man who would go on to rule China for more than 25 years, right up until his death in 1976.
The inscription reads: "Comrade Mao Zedong’s Hiding Spot.” The man kneeling beside the monument is Mao Zedong's grandson.
Foreign visitors to these two monuments marking an event that took place two decades ago are conveniently provided with an English translation: “This is where President Jiang Zemin took a photo during his visit to Bamboo Sea in South Sichuan on April 17, 1993."
Article written by FRANCE 24 journalist Andrew Hilliar (@andyhilliar)