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Geopolitics

China Turns Top-Secret Nuclear Plant Into Mao-Era Museum

Recently opened to visitors, the '816 Nuclear Military Plant' in Fuling takes visitors back in time, to the height of the Cold War. It also brings to mind the current nuclear ambitions of China's provocative neighbor, North Korea.

Please don't touch any big button
Please don't touch any big button
Cyrille Pluyette

FULING — For years the villagers didn't know what that high chimney on the verdant Jinzi Mountain, towering above the Wu River like a look-out post, was for. Turns out it's part of a huge and until relatively recently, super secret nuclear base that was dug under the mountain in Fuling, about a two-hour drive away from Chongqing, in southwest China.

In 2010, the Chinese government — after keeping a tight lid for decades on what was once one of its most ambitious military projects — opted to convert it into a tourist attraction. The base, codenamed "816 Nuclear Military Plant," remained closed for several more years while workers overhauled it. Finally, this past September, it reopened.

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