Mao is Dead

Via Simon, from the unlinkable SCMP, proof that the Party has had it with the Great Helmsman and such antiquated notions as class struggle.

Leaders should eliminate the ideology of class struggle and not look on the masses as an enemy when dealing with the increasing number of conflicts between officials and citizens, a party school official said…In his article, Mr Wang said cadres dealing with mass gatherings should give up the ideology of “class struggle” – the friction between members or groups from different social classes. The concept was expanded by Mao Zedong , sparked off the Cultural Revolution, and was used as a powerful tool to eliminate those whose political views contradicted the government’s…

Liu Xutao , a political scientist with the National School of Administration in Beijing, said the article was aimed at persuading grass-roots officials in rural areas to abandon the ideological relics of the Cultural Revolution.

“In rural areas, some officials still believe they reign supreme and take on the villagers as class-struggle targets when conflicts break out,” Professor Liu said. “As building a harmonious society is the main theme of President Hu Jintao, it’s necessary to dispel this wrong thinking.”

Maybe it’s time to take down those ubiquitous statues of Mao and his Big Brother portrait that looms massive over Tiananmen Square…? Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that in every way Mao was a colossal fuck-up and his notions of class struggle and every other aspect of his “philosophy” were cheap tricks used to keep everyone’s thinking uniform, with the single end goal being unchallenged and perpetual power. It’s good to see these ideas being laid officially to rest, but why keep up the pretense that Mao was great and worthy of hero worship?

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

I would be curious to see how middle-aged Chinese who lived through the Cultural Revolution take this rewriting/rephrasing/re-something-ing of history.

August 31, 2006 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

Well said. Well it’s something to look forward to, I suppose.

August 31, 2006 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

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