Between the death of Stalin in 1953 and its break with China in 1970s, Albania was the beachhead of Maoism in Europe, and the Chinese–Albanian brotherhood was celebrated in both countries with slogans, exhibitions, and cultural exchanges. Albanian cinema was widely popular in China as the only foreign movies available. China contributed enormous resources to the Albanian state, kickstarting its industrialization by constructing numerous industrial and infrastructural projects. After the departure of the Chinese workers and engineers in 1976, many projects were left unfinished, and the introduction of a capitalist multiparty system in the early 1990s further led to the degradation and abandonment of these former industrial sites.
In 2015, philologist Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, photographer Marco Mazzi, and historian Ylber Marku traveled throughout Albania to document the main former industrial sites built by the Chinese.