Marx 200th anniversary exhibition at National Museum of China

By Bridget Anderson

An exhibition on the life and works of Karl Marx opened on 5 May 2018 at the National Museum of China to mark the bicentenary of his birth. It will run for three months.

The extensive exhibition, unequivocally titled ‘The Power of Truth’, displays a wide range of editions of classic Marxist texts in multiple languages including ‘Marx on China’, ‘The Civil War in France’, ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’ and of course the three volumes of ‘Capital’ which is described as an ‘epoch-making masterpiece’.

A wall displaying hundreds of different editions of The Communist Manifesto in many languages

The ‘Communist Manifesto’ is especially celebrated. Several hundred different editions of the Manifesto, in dozens of languages, are displayed on a wall which dominates the first section of the exhibition as visitors enter. The point – the global impact of the ideas of Marx and Engels in spurring the development of the revolutionary movement and establishment of proletarian political parties across the world – is powerfully made.

The Exhibition indicates the enormous esteem with which the Communist Party of China regards Marx, who is described as ‘an eternal and noble personality’. The exhibition makes the point that:

‘Karl Marx was a thinker and revolutionist whose influence has been the most far-reaching in the history of world civilisation. He and Frederick Engels cofounded Marxism, which is a crystallization of outstanding human thought and culture, and a beacon for the working class and its parties. Marx not only created a scientific worldview for the working class, but also personally engaged in the great struggle of the working class and the labouring people to topple the old world to create a new one. From start to finish, Marx remained at the forefront of the international communist movement, and throughout his life gave his energy and wisdom to the revolution and liberation of the proletariat.’

The exhibition also features a large section on ‘The Great Journey of Adapting Marxism to the Chinese Context.’ Here a huge selection of Chinese versions of the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are displayed. The final section of the exhibition displays a collection of new Marxism-themed contemporary art.

In summing up the vitality of Marxism in the twenty first century, the Exhibition concludes:

‘Since it was founded, Marxism has spread far and wide across the world, and has contributed rich ideational resources and valuable theoretical support for human progress. It has proved and will increasingly demonstrate its great capacity for practical guidance, its tremendous theoretical relevance, and its enormous intellectual charisma.’