The iconic Mao

Just a quick note from Beijing that the Memorial Hall to Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square will be closed while Mao’s handlers do their periodic touch-up on the Chairman’s body. No word on what kind of work Mao is getting done (though hair implants seem a start) but Xinhua reports that the Great Helmsman will be back in his usual resting place for public viewing and plastic flower application in September.

Even when he disappears from public view, Mao can still cause a stir. At the Alahambra (California) City Hall, a public art display showing an image of the Chairman juxtaposed with George Washington has sparked controversy.

Based on a complaint that a picture of Mao had no place in a civic building, city staff removed the piece.

The artists were in turn offended by the city’s action, and responded by taking all 30 pieces down.

“It’s not a matter of interpretation,” said Los Angeles resident Kai Chen, 53, who lodged the complaint and has written a book about his family’s political persecution during the Cultural Revolution. “It’s moral perversion.”

The artist, Jeffrey Ma of Long Beach, CA disagrees.

[Ma] insists his Mao silk-screen print is apolitical and said that he was surprised it provoked the response it did.
Ma described the entire experience as “tiring.”

“What I wanted to say, I was unable to say it. What I wasn’t saying, people insisted I was.”

The print depicts Mao and George Washington superimposed on piggy banks. Ma chose the two figures because they are both found on currency bills, he said.

It was a reference to money and its importance in Chinese New Year celebrations as well as in Chinese and American society, Ma said.

“Everyone has a story” about hardship during Mao’s reign, Ma said, declining to discuss his own experiences as an artist during the Cultural Revolution. “Mao is a history topic. Leave it to historians to evaluate him.”

Images of the Chairman in art, both reverent and pop, have been around for a long time. Andy Warhol had his turn and a personal favorite of mine (Jeremiah) is the MoMao site by NYC-based artist Zhang Hongtu.

That said, the use of Mao’s image does raise some interesting questions. This is not a harmless historical figure with a cute, pudgy face. Nor is he a subject easily painted (pun intended) in black and white. He was a good commander during the anti-Japanese War and his revolution, at first, was seen by many as a respite from the chaos of the warlord period, the brutality of the Japanese troops, and the venality of the KMT.

But of course there is the other Mao: the one whose policies resulted in the deaths of millions. Needless to say, his legacy in the PRC remains…murky. Across China, one can find a wide range of opinions. There are those who worship him (literally), those who are nostalgic for the days of the iron rice bowl, those who look back at the dark days of the GPCR and shudder, and there are those who find him simply irrelevant as they speed down Chang’an Avenue in their new BMW on the way to a stockholder meeting. Ask around in Beijing and everybody seems to have a different answer.

The CCP came up with the rather neat figure of 70% correct and 30% incorrect. But how does one split a canvas 70/30? Does this mean it is okay to wear a silkscreened Mao t-shirt 70% of the time? Does it mean the next time I’m at Panjiayuan Market in Beijing, I should ask for a 30% discount on a Mao cigarette lighter that plays “Dong Fang Hong” when it lights? Can you de-fang a tyrant by turning him into kitsch or does that trivialize the horrors he perpetrated?

The Discussion: 57 Comments

Totalitarianism uses kitsch to banalize evil. (See Kundera.) So yes, kitsch does “defang” Mao – by making him safe for mass consumption.

Hitler is not an icon of kitsch (well, at least not in the West.) Think about it.

March 8, 2007 @ 3:17 pm | Comment

Interesting, to compare our view of Hitler and the Chinese view of Mao. Of course, Hitler left Germany a raging, burning skeleton, an inferno of death and total misery, as he left much of Europe. Mao, for all his naughtiness, at least didn’t tear down the entire country, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Mao idolization never ceased, for reasons that are to me a mystery. On this board, many have argued that Mao “gave China its spine,” a groundless argument (to me) that can easily be pulverized. If turning everyone into an informer, starving your peasants by the tens of millions and encouraging wild-eyed students to light their schoolteachers on fire gave China spine…well, I just don’t see it. For most of Mao’s time, China turned increasingly inward (and increasingly brain-dead), and I give him credit for nothing except some promising reforms during his first few years in power, all washed away quickly and completely with a reign of terror that puts him up there with the worst of the worst. The man had no redeeming qualities and when I see his fat face everywhere I shudder. His was a different kind of evil than Hitler’s, but evil it was.

March 8, 2007 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

Indeed, and you won’t find idealised blocks of concrete sculpted in Hitlers image scattered throughout German cities.

As for the dummy in the glass coffin, I was confronted and berated by a soldier guarding the mass-murderer for allowing my gaze to linger for more than a split second on the waxwork’s countenance. Disrespectful, apparently.

Love the way they collect the same flowers for re-sale at the entrance, which is fine if the money collected goes to the families of Mao’s victims.

March 8, 2007 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

Yawn!!!

March 8, 2007 @ 6:15 pm | Comment

@ Falen

A Mao-worshipper, perhaps? As that guy said in [i]American Beauty[/i], “Never underestimate the power of denial.”

March 8, 2007 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

Not exactly…

I was just mentally picturing what will be said in the comment section as I was reading the entry. And predictably, the usual suspect comes with their stale self-righteous tirade. Hardly groundbreaking, and I am somewhat bored yet amused.

But you know, in the “The Peking Duck Fighting Arena” that is the comment section, I think most of us has above average knowledge of China and its history. I just want to see some brand new ideas perhap…

I mean, did you really expect people here to go, “Gasp! 100 million people starved to death? I SO did NOT know that! Thank you for telling me…”

March 8, 2007 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

My point in posting this was that this is a fight occurring in city hall in Southern California. Even in another country his image can spark battles, how much less so in China? I hope this doesn’t turn into a “Mao was good” “Mao was bad” fight. I think the larger point is that his legacy IS so decidedly mixed and we see evidence of this mixed and confused legacy linger today in art, culture, politics, and even religion. That, I feel, is a more nuanced topic worth exploring further.

March 8, 2007 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

I’ll put my money on the publishing of next book that cite new “research” on the subject that Mao actually caused 120 million deaths and by 2010 we’ll have a book that raise that number to 200 million.

All of which won’t fail to make the best seller’s list.

March 8, 2007 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

What does the painting itself look like? Anybody has a link to an image?

March 8, 2007 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

Jeremiah, sorry for helping the conversation slide off track – Nausicaa’s comment got me thinking of the Mao-Hitler comparison, and then…well, you know how it goes.

What I’d really like to know is what kind of people in the US buy this stuff? I find those who wear Che t-shirts are usually clueless kids who see him as being cool for “thinking different,” and going against the mainstream. Most of them grow out of it as they learn more. Same with Madam Mao buttons; I’ve seen several students at Columbian and NYU who fancy themselves as “communists” sporting such buttons, which I see as simply a symptom of ignorance and immaturity. They, too, usually grow out of it. So I wonder if it’s the same crowd buying the Mao t-shirts. I can;t imagine an intelligent grown-up even thinking of putting one on.

Falen, since I’ve been studying about Mao since 2001, I’ve seen the number of deaths attributed to him remaining quite constant at between 30 and 40 million. The estimates of those who starved to death during the Great Leap Backward come directly from Party documents, I believe. They kept excellent records, you know, and still do.

March 8, 2007 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

Richard, you beat me to it with the analogy to the Che T-shirts. Americans who want to pose all rad and anti-establishment love to latch onto images of formerly fearful faces. It’s a sign that these people no longer represent a threat in the quickly amnesiac American historical consciousness.

Mercifully I forget the company, (how’s that for amnesia?) but what was the ad campaign a few years back that used a pic of the Chairman holding up a telephone directory in place of the Little Red Book? How long will it be until there are rappers calling themselves Osama to make themselves seem more menacing, and bearded bin Laden mugshots on subversive shirts? I’m surprised that some edgy graffitti artist hasn’t done “Viva Osama” tags, complete with the Evildoer’s face, to get Homeland Security in high dudgeon.

March 8, 2007 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

“Leave it to historians to evaluate him.”
It’s so tedius to have to listen to the common victim after all.

March 8, 2007 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

The artist ought to explain why he chose to place the picture of a known mass murderer who founded a country and bathed in power next to someone who also founded a country and walked away from power despite the pleas of the general population to remain.

No chinese person can comprehend Washington walking away from a gauranteed lifetime of rule.

Mao used his power to tear through the young teenage girls of his country.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:42 am | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan: You might have read the excerpt.

“The print depicts Mao and George Washington superimposed on piggy banks. Ma chose the two figures because they are both found on currency bills, he said.

It was a reference to money and its importance in Chinese New Year celebrations as well as in Chinese and American society, Ma said. ”

March 9, 2007 @ 2:01 am | Comment

No chinese person can comprehend Washington walking away from a gauranteed lifetime of rule.
—————————————————
nanheyangrouchuan, this is just NOT true. There were articles showing the respects about Washington’s walking away several decades ago in China. There are many other different opinions about Washington’s choice now, from all kinds of angles. I assume that you can read Chinese. Probably you should do your research before you said that.

March 9, 2007 @ 2:47 am | Comment

The CCP came up with the rather neat figure of 70% correct and 30% incorrect. But how does one split a canvas 70/30? Does this mean it is okay to wear a silkscreened Mao t-shirt 70% of the time? Does it mean the next time I’m at Panjiayuan Market in Beijing, I should ask for a 30% discount on a Mao cigarette lighter that plays “Dong Fang Hong” when it lights? Can you de-fang a tyrant by turning him into kitsch or does that trivialize the horrors he perpetrated?
————————————————–
If you are serious about this paragraph, I am afraid that you will never understand how Chinese feel about those stuff.

March 9, 2007 @ 3:06 am | Comment

“There were articles showing the respects about Washington’s walking away several decades ago in China.”

Too bad I couldn’t read chinese or even english several decades ago. And I don’t spend my time leafing through very old chinese newspapers.

March 9, 2007 @ 3:49 am | Comment

It is always interesting to see someone shows his arrogant and ignorance at the same time.

March 9, 2007 @ 3:53 am | Comment

The 70/30 figure is from Deng Xiaoping

http://tinyurl.com/2c4tav

“I can’t believe I came to America to seek freedom, to see that hanging in the City Hall lobby,” Kai Chen.

Thanks, I’can’t believe that a Chinese immigrant thinks he can move to the US for his own freedom but thinks he has the right to take away our freedom to see an art piece in an exhibit. You’re much closer to Mao than you realize. Did you bring the cultural revolution with you or are you looking for publicity for your new book? I think the idea behind Jeffrey Ma’s print can be at least partially explained by this piece from the NYT. Love it or hate it, his piece is certainly no memorial to Mao.

“It was a reference to money and its importance in Chinese New Year celebrations as well as in Chinese and American society, Ma said. ”

“It is not unusual for a family to spend more than $20,000 for a Chinese New Year dinner, said Richard Chen” NYT….article below

http://tinyurl.com/yp9om7

My own favorite Mao piece: http://tinyurl.com/2mncja MaoMarilyn by Philippe Halsman

March 9, 2007 @ 3:58 am | Comment

i hail from this corner of southern california, which is known for its large mandarin-speaking population, mostly from taiwanese immigrantion in the 80s and 90s — hence the nickname, “little taipei.” recently, there has been a greater influx of mainlanders. it’s a touchy area to begin with and throwing out an image without thinking about its reverberations in the immediate community is not unlike carelessly throwing around cartooned images of muhammad.

March 9, 2007 @ 4:50 am | Comment

No chinese person can comprehend Washington walking away from a guaranteed lifetime of rule.

Hey, watch it with the generalizations. Some of us are Chinese here.

Interesting, to compare our view of Hitler and the Chinese view of Mao. Of course, Hitler left Germany a raging, burning skeleton, an inferno of death and total misery, as he left much of Europe. Mao, for all his naughtiness, at least didn’t tear down the entire country, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Mao idolization never ceased, for reasons that are to me a mystery.

Ha. I remember us arguing over precisely this a while back, don’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰ My posture on TPD was strictly defensive then, and I spent some time arguing how at least Mao wasn’t as evil as Hitler, and how of course the Chinese no longer idolized him. My views have since shifted some. Setting the Mao-Hitler comparisons aside (because comparing different varieties of turd is ultimately meaningless), I would say that while most Chinese don’t consciously worship Mao, they certainly don’t reject him neither. And many do still respect him greatly, if only in a vague way. And as Jeremiah pointed out, official Communist doctrine has a lot to do with it. He was our founding father, he saves us from the evil clutches of the KMT and from under the yoke of imperialism and on to the glorious path of Communism. He was still 70% right, and so on and on.

But back to pop iconography and kitsch: how could the artist not think that his art installation might be tacky at best and morally offensive at worst? I understand the whole postmodernist idea of irony, but we really haven’t achieved enough distance from Mao to pull that off. Maybe when the old man’s picture is finally taken down from Tiananmen Square and that eyesore of a Mausoleum closed.

March 9, 2007 @ 6:20 am | Comment

As for Washington walking away…

There have been at least two cases from Chinese history that have rough parallels:

Perhaps the most famous is the Duke of Zhou, brother of King Wu, who acted as regent for his nephew and then dutifully stepped aside when the young King reached his majority.

There is also the story (not verified) of Zeng Guofan, the 19th century super-official. Since the Qing “Green Standard” and banner troops proved nearly useless against the Taipings, Zeng and a few other official types raised their own provincial armies. After defeating the Taiping Kingdom, Zeng and his commanders were left in control of a large number of well-armed troops. It would have been relatively easy for them to take the capital away from the Manchus and some of Zeng’s commanders urged him to do so. Zeng refused and began disbanding his armies. There would have been complications (For example, the foreign powers, which supported Zeng against the Taiping, probably didn’t want to see such a strong leader take control.) But I don’t want to sidetrack this conversation too far other than to say that Zeng himself is another controversial figure from Hunan…both a hero of self-strengthening, a serious scholar, and a brave military leader as well as a “traitor to the Han” (in older PRC textbooks) for his devotion to the Manchu court, his willingness to compromise with the foreign powers on occasion, and his suppression of “peasant rebellions” (like the Taiping.)

Finally at Nanheyangrouchuan:

Perhaps we should remember the rather indelicate proclivities of the founding fathers of the US (Think: Sally Hemmings) or the European royal familes before we start using Li Zhisui to criticize Mao. Certainly there is enough in Mao’s policies that can be condemned without wandering into the man’s bedroom.

March 9, 2007 @ 7:44 am | Comment

In my years of teaching in China… one of the things I noticed was the Chinese reverence of power. It didn’t matter if the power was accompanied by extreme evil. Power was the ultimate goal. Now money= Power so everyone wants to be rich. I figure most Chinese don’t like Mao they just admire his power.I ‘spose thats what completely powerless people do.

March 9, 2007 @ 8:55 am | Comment

If you are serious about this paragraph, I am afraid that you will never understand how Chinese feel about those stuff.

If you think this paragraph was serious, you will never understand English irony.

March 9, 2007 @ 11:01 am | Comment

Jeremiah, your panoramic knowledge (three comments up the thread) never ceases to amaze me.

Irony. I have to write this rule on my hand: Be very cautious about how you use irony with the people here. The most innocuous bit of ironic humor can have disastrous consequences, as it will almost inevitably be misunderstood. This is isn’t because of any lack of intelligence (the Chinese are as smart as they come), but about a lack of familiarity with how irony works. Everything is take at face value. FACE value – so a joke about a colleague’s performance can reduce that person to tears.

And yet again, I drift off topic. Sorry.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

Do they even have a word for irony in Chinese? It’s strange because China is so very ironic…er… Or something.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

I dunno…反話 (fanhua). We need to get either Brendan O’Kane or Joel Martinson in on this one.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

Fan Yu Fa?

March 9, 2007 @ 12:49 pm | Comment

Well, good point on humor. I recently suggested to YJ that if the PRC really wanted to show the world it had changed and was ready to join “the company of nations secure enough to have a good laugh” that during the Olympics it would replace the picture of Mao in Tiananmen with one of “Mao with Olympic laurel wreath.” That image, broadcast around the world, would probably do more to make the world forget about the nasty bits of the CCP’s history than anything the propaganda ministry could concoct.

Needless to say, YJ wasn’t amused.

And no. For all of you unaware of humor and irony, I’m not being (totally) serious.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

Who’s YJ?

Also, irony’s dead, don’t you all know? Alanis Morrissette killed it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

March 9, 2007 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

At the opening ceremony the Chinese relay team should push his corpse around the course a few laps. That would be something to see.

March 9, 2007 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

“Perhaps we should remember the rather indelicate proclivities of the founding fathers of the US (Think: Sally Hemmings)”

What does that have to do with power? The rest of the story goes that Jefferson and Hemmings were actually in love and this was a long term affair. Jefferson would have been more “cast out” than Hemmings would have been. Yes, masters did mess around with slaves, I’m sure this happened long before the US or the American colonies existed.

March 9, 2007 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

Well, not to get too far off the subject, but when a white plantation owner engages in sexual intercourse with a young women who he legally owns in a system of slavery, it has a bit to do with power, don’t you think?

But my larger point was that the sins of Mao are many and grotesque and go well beyond the titilation of Dr. Li’s memoirs.

March 9, 2007 @ 2:14 pm | Comment

“Certainly there is enough in Mao’s policies that can be condemned without wandering into the man’s bedroom..”

I’m not so sure. I sense an opportunity to take kitsch to the next level here. Who could resist a trip to the massage parlour and indulging in the hedonistic ‘Mao Special,’ or paying a few kuai extra for the ”Great Leap Lap Dance,’ which naturally includes a free condom from the ‘Gang of four selection pack’ (1 ribbed; 1 flavoured; 1 glow-in-the-dark; and 1 re-education rubber).

Far from trivializing Mao’s reign of destruction, I see this as a way of destroying the mythology surrounding the man through richly-deserved ridicule. It would also have the added bonus of pissing-off the CCP. Kitsch kills.

March 9, 2007 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

I lol’ed at the Mao with wreath bit ……………………… but no, its not polite to make fun of dead people no matter how evil? they are.

March 9, 2007 @ 5:12 pm | Comment

Aw, man. I wrote a really long comment on here and then accidentally hit Ctrl+W and closed the tab, losing it forever.

Anyway, there is most certainly a perception of irony — c.f. the writings of Lu Xun, Qian Zhongshu, and Zhuangzi — but as far as I know there’s no nice translation of it. รฅยยรจยฏย is more like “sarcasm;” รจยฎยฝรฅห†ยบ is more like “to satirize” or “to be satirical.” Beyond that, I’m afraid, I got nothin’.

March 9, 2007 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

“If you think this paragraph was serious, you will never understand English irony”

Fair enough, lol. I can understand it is a joke or something sarcasitic. What I want to know is if you do not like such a quantitative way they used to summarize MAO’s success and failure, or you just do not like the idea that their comments about MAO go both ways.

About irony, I know it is popular in many Chinese website. It is funny at first. But when some tricks get old, it becomes annoying (on those Chinese forum).

March 10, 2007 @ 2:03 am | Comment

Sorry to jump in a bit late, but what are the chances that, maybe not this time, the CCP will close the mausoleum for ‘cleaning’, and the quietly…keep it closed?!

March 10, 2007 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

There is a word in English called “Totem”, translated into Chinese, it’s “Tu Teng”. In ancient times, each tribe establishes a totem, an object that has mythical powers, and is purposed to look over of existence for a tribe, a group, a nation, a race ,etc..

Mao Zedong is the spiritual totem for modern China today. Chinese history has been completely destroyed and torn apart over the course of 200 years starting during the Qing Dynasty. 1949 is a watershed year, it is an inflection point from which China started to regain her place and confidence in the world, starting with Mao’s claim of “The Chinese people have now stood up”, to forced withdrawal of fully mechanized American troops, to the steady economic growth over the 20 20 years. Today, a Chinese in the United States is considered a citizen of a vast and powerful nation who is a certain candidate to challenge American political and economic dominance in the world. In the 20 and 30’s, 40’s a Chinese was a “Chinaman” and a “Coolie”. What is the root cause of this change in perception? It is Mao.

Each nation has its Spiritual Totem. For the United States, it’s George Washington, the Revolutionary War, it’s the Battle of Iwo Jima, it’s Roosevelt’s “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”. I disagree with many of my American colleagues, but even in the most intense and heated arguments, I never dare to insult or belittle their spiritual totem.

Even since the most Ancient times, when opposing sides meet on the battleground, they kill each other, but they do not insult each other’s ancestors. In the primitive Indian tribes, native savages hunt and kill without mercy, yet even they would know not to encroach upon and blaspheme each tribe’s totem.

When I was in China as a fellow researcher for CASS, I travelled to North Korea on government sponsored working trips. Each time we were taken to visit the Memorials for Kim Il-sung, and each time I was sincere and respectful, because I understood that this is North Korean people’s Spritiual Totem.

As intellectuals, we can debate and disagree over many issues. But there should be a bottom line to civility.

March 11, 2007 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

With all due respect, I think this is bullshit. Mao drove China backward and murdered his own citizens. He erased their brain cells. Deng would be a far better totem. You can clearly delineate China’s progress from the moment Deng seized power. I realize this will be perceived as a “Western” viewpoint, but I don’t care. Mao was a piece of shit, and worse, and I choose the phrase carefully. His great legacy consists of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Backwards. He did only bad, and one day the Chinese people will acknowledge it. For now, keeping his name alive and his image ubiquitous is “a face thing.” China simply doesn’t want to acknowledge just how foul and vile their totem was. To do so would be to acknowledge all the faults of their government and their education system and so much all provided by their do-no-wrong government.

March 11, 2007 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

Spot on, Richard. Had Mao had a fatal heart attack in 1949 and Deng/Liu/Zhou taken over, it would have been so much better for China.

The Party still makes capital out of Mao’s memory, in pretending the central government is just like him (i.e. they can be trusted). They need to pretend his excesses are just a blip on the radar, to keep their regime going by saying it was mostly good.

March 11, 2007 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

I don’t want to discuss the details of Mao’s legacy, because it’ll a long and tired discussion and I’ll never convince you.

But even on a basic level, is it really appropriate to call a deceased old man a “piece of shit”? Was he not a human being like us? Did he know not have children and loved ones? Shouldn’t there be a bottom line of decency and civility when addressing a another deceased human being. Even in your western world, respects are paid to the dead, no? Even when Saddam Hussein was executed, he was offered a proper burial place in his home town.

If you saw Mao’s children today, would you have said “Your grandfather was a piece of shit, every time I go to his Museum I spit on his body.”

This is all I want to say on this issue.

March 11, 2007 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

Puh-leaze. Shit is shit. Mao was shit, old or young, shit forever. Only when China becomes mature enough to admit Mao was a piece of shit will I have full confidence in their seriousness as a great power. Until then, the CCP is still an insecure, closed-minded dictatorship bound by idiotic dogma and obsolete, disproven beliefs (like Mao was 70 percent good).

I will never hesitate to tell anyone Mao was a piece of shit. If only those young students who poured boiling water on their teachers and committed murder – if only they knew at the time that Mao was a piece of shit and should not be believed, what a better place China would be today. Mao almost (not quite) did for China what Hitler did for Germany. Hitler was shit. Mao was shit. And I don’t need to tell his relatives and grandchildren. I suspect they already know, as does anyone with half a mind.

March 11, 2007 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

@ Sociologist Li: You are so full of it. And it is quite an insult for the Chinese to call Mao their Totem.

“Was he not a human being like us? ”

No. He was really a monster.

“Did he know not have children and loved ones? ”

Yes he had children, but he had loved no one but himself.

“Shouldn’t there be a bottom line of decency and civility when addressing a another deceased human being. ”

Normally yes. But I will still call a turd a turd.

“If you saw Mao’s children today, would you have said “Your grandfather was a piece of shit, every time I go to his Museum I spit on his body”

They probably will agree with me if I said that.
By the way, I will never go to his museuem. So he is quite safe quite from the spit.

March 12, 2007 @ 2:58 am | Comment

I only dropped by because some guy posted a link to this thread in a forum. What amuses me is the length people would go to show off their political/historical ‘knowledge’. You guys need to think with your brains: if you are the leader of a country, would you prefer to see it end up in flames and rubble? I don’t and never will believe that Mao had the intention to destroy China. I don’t like Mao, personally, because of his thrist for power and qualities of a tyrant, but I have to give him credit as a politician.

And I remember someone saying that they studied Mao since 2001…. get a life.

March 12, 2007 @ 8:05 am | Comment

I volunteer at an Oxfam shop near London and someone recently donated a Taschen coffee-table book of Chinese propaganda posters. I showed it to one of our volunteers who’s Chinese, and she jokingly saluted the portrait of Mao on the cover. She said that her grandfather is a Maoist, so I suppose he taught her how to pay her respects to the Great Helmsman. After that, she started to sign The East is Red

March 12, 2007 @ 9:54 am | Comment

Mao Zedong had contributions and failures for China. But mostly they are contributions:

1) Chinese independence from foreigners, gained respect around the world

2) Industrial foundation for China. Without Mao, China’s reforms by Deng Xiaoping would be slower and not as successful

3) First nuclear bomb, first submarine, first hydrogen bomb, first satellite, etc. These “treaures” make sure that China today is in the “nuclear club”, and no one dares to push China around. If China today did not have those treasures, Japan, America, Russia, India, Vietnam would all think China is a vegetarian. But with these treasures, they know China is not a vegetarian.

4) Mao gave direction to China’s development. Chinese people today have a independent country, independent foreign policy, independent mode of development, democracy.

Sorry West, but Mao will always be your nightmare for you and a God for China.

March 12, 2007 @ 10:42 am | Comment

Here we go….

No time for this today, but will add this: All those things could have been achieved without the mass murder, misery and horror. Without the destruction of the environment. Without killing schoolteachers. Without struggle sessions and informers turning in their neighbors. Idolize whomever you choose. Hitler and Stalin absolutely gave thier nations “spine,” but at what cost? Mao’s achievements you cite are a fantasy, any leader could have implemented them, but a good leader would have done so without destroying his own people.

March 12, 2007 @ 10:54 am | Comment

If you say they are so easy, how come you didn\’t do it? Mao did them, you did not do them. This is the end.

March 12, 2007 @ 11:31 am | Comment

If you say they are so easy, how come you didn\’t do it? Mao did them, you did not do them. This is the end.

Vintage Red Star. Um, maybe I didn’t do it becasue I hadn’t been born yet, and I was born in the US and not China. Every other world leader of the great powers developed atmoic bombs and a foreign policy. Mao had no unique skills or genius in doing it. Mao did a dreadful job of it, because so many of his own were butchered along the way to achieving these goals. But what the hell? Mao never cared about the lives of his citizens, just his own depraved cult following.

March 12, 2007 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

[i]Every other world leader of the great powers developed atmoic bombs and a foreign policy.[/i]

Before Mao, China wasn’t really a great power, considering that she was almost powerless against another country where people eat shit as a luxury.

My point however is: You don’t know the half of it if you never lived it. Half the nation was in tears when Mao died, and to achieve that requires more than simple ‘cult following’. If you were to do it, you would have achieved less.

Also keep in mind that Mao is the leader of a MASSIVE nation, he cannot watch everything, therefore the misleading information he got from the government officials didn’t help him.

Since you were born in the US, you probably wouldn’t know that the lives of the people in China were never as important as the lives of people in the western world. If you want to know why that is, you might have to study ancient history. Mao did not start it (he did not put an end to it either, I have to add).

Try to keep your opinions objective, otherwise you become an extremist.

I have removed your offensive e-mail “address”. Next time you post with something like that I will delete your comments. Do not try to slag off the management in such an unsubtle way – we’re not stupid. Raj

March 12, 2007 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

You should see the photos of people in tears when Stalin died. Lots of tears have been shed over bastards. That is no measure of their greatness. The Germans loved that funny man with the mustache with a near-religious fervor. Does that mean he was good for them?

I know exactly how cheap the lives of individuals have been in China since ages ago. Stop making presumptions, please. And what do you think is “extremist” about my opinions of Mao? I promise, they are universal. Every educated man who has studied him knows Mao was a thug and a murderer, pure unadulterated scum. This is not extreme. Read up on what was done in the Cultural Revolution in his name, of the millions starved in unnecessary famines, of those taken away in the night because their neighbor accused them of being “rightists,” and you’ll know what I mean. If you really want to know.

Finally, 25, I don’t like the email address you are entering (sorry readers, only I can see this) and it makes me wonder what your game is and how sincere you are about anything,

March 12, 2007 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Mao’s contributions to the world were admired by most of the Non-Western world. Of course, he is a nightmare to the West.

Mao is the savior of the Chinese people, without Mao there’ll be no New China. Respecting Mao is respecting Chinese, insulting Mao is insulting Chinese.

March 13, 2007 @ 11:09 am | Comment

HongXing, You know, Chiang and the GMT did a pretty decent job with Taiwan, another Chinese success story. The real history of China will be written some years from now, when Chinese historians have full access to the records of all Chinese states and the passions of the 20th Century have cooled. I wonder how they’ll view Mao? As the Great Helmsman? Or the murderously blind sailor who single-handedly derailed China’s prosperity for a good quarter century or more?

March 13, 2007 @ 11:42 am | Comment

Didn’t one of Mao’s personal doctors write a book detailing his fondness for the carnal pleasures of little girls AND boys? I think I understand HongXing better…

March 13, 2007 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

>Chinese independence from foreigners, gained respect around the world

And…

>Respecting Mao is respecting Chinese, insulting Mao is insulting Chinese.

Well, since most people outside of China think Mao was a monster on par with Stalin and Hitler, how did Mao gain China respect around the world? According to your theory, since most non-Chinese despise Mao, most of the world despises China and the Chinese.

How is that an “achievement” of Mao?

March 14, 2007 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Of course I meant to write “sing The East is Red“…

March 14, 2007 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

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