KFC dedicates China restaurant to memory of Communist hero

The first “Lei Feng Spirit” restaurant in Lei’s home province of Hunan was annouced on Sunday

Fast-food chain KFC is memorializing a popular Chinese Communist hero with restaurant decor extolling his deeds, in a rare matching of an iconic American brand with Communist propaganda.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the company launched its first “Lei Feng Spirit” restaurant in Lei’s home province of Hunan on Sunday, ahead of Tuesday’s official remembrance day for the soldier who died in 1962 at the age of 21.

Lei’s example of selfless service to the Communist Party and his comrades was popularized in 1963 by former leader Mao Zedong and remains a rallying point for party unity and public service. Critics question the facts surrounding his alleged good deeds, saying most were based on accounts in a diary reportedly found after his death.

READ MORE: A little taste of Canada: Tim Hortons opens first coffee shop in China

The KFC restaurant in the provincial capital of Changsha is decorated with Lei’s writings and image. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Lei Feng has been the role model for generations of Chinese. As the KFC (outlet) in his hometown, we will spare no effort to promote his spirit,” He Min, general manager for KFC’s Hunan region, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

In addition to opening the themed restaurant, KFC plans to “promote the Lei Feng spirit in its over 250 outlets in the province and encourage its staff to learn from the role model,” Xinhua said.

Lei Feng day is marked annually by acts of public service such as clearing garbage and visiting the elderly. Communist leaders revived his memory more than a decade ago to stir support for the party among the younger generation born after the abandonment of orthodox Marxism in the 1980s and the crushing of pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

READ MORE: How many iconic KFC buckets still exist in B.C.?

Recent years have seen renewed efforts to update his image, including through television specials and smartphone apps.

KFC in China is run by Yum China, which split from its parent company Yum Brands in 2016. The company’s American roots have occasionally made it a target of nationalistic Chinese during times of tension between Beijing and Washington, although it appears unaffected by the current trade war between the two.

___

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich property tax notices in the mail, residents unable to pay in person

Payment options, late penalties adjusted due to COVID-19

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

One block of downtown street closed to cars entirely

‘The face of Belmont’: Custodial staff at Langford school pivot to support parents, students

Staff serve as point of contact for parents, students with school

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read